VIDEO: Coney Island beach expected to attract 10M visitors this year
While the summer sun has teased New Yorkers for the past few weeks, residents are not deterred.
For many, high on the list of fun things to do is visit Coney Island, which officially opened its beach to visitors just in time for the Memorial Day Weekend.
“This year…we expect to see more than 10 million visitors here in Coney Island,” said New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver.
Present at this year’s opening were local elected officials, park officials, lifeguards and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
The windy morning’s lineup included a mock rescue drill by the coastguard to show visitors how safety in the water works. It was too chilly for visitors to take a dip, but the opening provided a moment to reflect on safety concerns, after four lives were lost last year at the beach.
Silver highlighted the initiative “Be Water Safe,” which involves visitors wearing blue wristbands.
Adams reiterated the importance of safety at the beach. “We are asking people to not only wear this band but also follow the obligations that go with using any type of amusement park,” he said.
“This is where memories are created — on the beach and on the boardwalk,” said Silver.
Rules outlined at the opening included looking for and listening to lifeguards, avoiding the water when no lifeguard is present and making sure no kids are unattended near the water.
As the summer weeks inch closer, there are several activities lined up for visitors, including Monday movie nights, karaoke and performances, free entertainment on the boardwalk and Friday fireworks displays.
In addition, the New York Aquarium, located in Coney Island, will have a new shark exhibit building for visitors.
“We want people to say, “Hey, I live in a city of islands surrounded by a beautiful ocean that’s full of wilderness,’” said Jon Forrest Dohlin, chairman of the Alliance for Coney Island.
Ride Points for Good Grades
Park officials introduced an offer for students to redeem their academic grades for points to take rides at the park.
An A-grade gets 4 credits, a B-grade gets 3 credits and a C receives 2 credits.
“We have this credit card system so you can buy a card and load credits onto it and then enjoy all the rides, and for their grades, they get free credits,” said Kathrin Ben, marketing manager for Luna Park.
The park will also unveil two new rides — Brooklyn Barge, for those who love the high seas, and Happy Swing, which will take riders to new heights.
The opening also served as a celebration for Dennis Vourderis, co-owner of Denos Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, which is celebrating its 95th anniversary. Vourderis and supporters were set to gather on Memorial Day to sing Happy Birthday to the Wonder Wheel.
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