- It’s baaaaack!!
Last month, the city finally acquired roughly seven acres of prime amusement-area real estate from notorious holdout Joe Sitt, giving it control of the land between Astroland and Keyspan Park (and it only cost the city close to $96 million!) Last week, the city announced Zamperla USA would become the new amusement operator. And today, the blog Amusing the Zillion reported that the park will be named—wait for it—Luna Park!
In an interview with Il Giornale Divicenza, CEO Alberto Zamperla reportedly announces his plans to name the new amusement park after one of Coney’s most storied (along with Dreamland and Steeplechase), which operated from 1903 to 1944, when fire destroyed most of it. (I can’t confirm the article actually says this; I took Italian in high school, but not enough to read newspapers many years later. I do know the lede is about how happy the news will make Woody Allen.)
The dazzling splendor of the original Luna Park—where Thomas Edison famously electrocuted an elephant!—is difficult to imagine, even when confronted with photographs, video and descriptions; it simply sounds so astounding, like heyday Coney Island in general, that we have no modern-day referent to inform our imaginations. Luna Park’s magnificence was so influential that today, in many parts of the world, “Luna Park” is a generic term for amusement park.
There’s nothing to suggest that this new Luna Park will approximate that grandeur. But it’s nice to know that the people working to rebuild Coney Island are conscious of its past, and hopefully will use that knowledge to create a Coney more textural than the one that appears in Coneyphiles’ nightmares of a disneyfied Times Square, Jr.