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Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park opens for business in Coney Island

April 11, 2022 Jaime DeJesus,
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A week after Luna Park celebrated its opening day with the christening of the Cyclone, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park held its own celebration to welcome the 2022 season on Sunday.

The morning marked the park’s 37th Annual Blessing of the Rides ceremony.

The day included a speaking program attended by elected officials and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

There was also entertainment as students from a local school sang songs in honor of people affected by the war in the Ukraine.

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“I see Russians and Ukrainians standing next to each other in line,” said D.J. Vourderis of Deno’s. “Their children are smiling at each other with mutual excitement before stepping onto a ride together.”

Staff member of the Alliance for Coney Island enjoying the day. Photo by Jim McDonnell

Performers on stilts were on hand as well as musical performers. But the main attractions were the rides, and the Wonder Wheel itself — the centerpiece of the park — is celebrating its 102 anniversary.

“It was wonderful to hear the screams and laughter of children on the rides having fun and enjoying themselves,” said Dennis Vourderis, co-owner of Deno’s. He added that it feels great to have the park fully open without restrictions. “All of us feel enthusiastic about the 2022 season being the best year ever, with new exciting rides and venues throughout Coney Island making it a world-class destination for everyone!”

The first 102 guests who arrived got a free ride on the Wonder Wheel.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer talks about the significance of the opening of the park. Photo by Jim McDonnell

“We were ecstatic to be part of the Blessing of the Rides ceremony at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park,” said Alexandra Silversmith, executive director of Alliance for Coney Island. “A truly fabulous day, we were honored to celebrate and welcome the 2022 season alongside many of our elected officials including Sen. [Charles] Schumer and Brooklyn Borough President [Antonio] Reynoso, as well as many local community members. We are certain all visitors will be in for a treat when they visit Coney Island this year.”

The park will be open Saturdays, Sundays and NYC school holidays, including April 15- 22 (spring vacation) in the spring, and daily starting Memorial Day Weekend.

Students from the New Wave Ukrainian School Chorus sing songs in honor of those in the Ukraine. Photo by Jim McDonnell

The park’s 100th celebration took place in 2020, but it was closed the entire year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, park-goers will be able to enjoy the park without restrictions.

“We will be back here many times, and we urge New Yorkers and people from around the world, come to Coney Island,” said Schumer at the ceremony. “It’s back. It’s the greatest.”

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