Coney Island Opens for the Season
Forget that spring just blew in with a nor’easter or that Memorial Day is still two months off. The only season that matters is starting this Sunday in the south of Brooklyn: summer in Coney Island.
For more than 60 years, Palm Sunday has marked the official opening of Coney Island’s amusements. This year on Sunday, March 25, opening day will celebrate the glory and history of Coney Island with a full lineup of events, including the annual Blessing of the Rides at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, the Egg Cream Christening of the Cyclone’s first car (with free egg cream samples), and free rides on the Cyclone and Wonder Wheel themselves.
Like Coney Island itself, the area’s opening day is steeped in history. As the Coney Island History Project so richly tells, the tradition dates to 1956 when publicist Milton Berger started the event to create an “official opening consciousness in the public's mind,” for his new client, the Coney Island Chamber of Commerce. Since then, the tradition has blossomed, drawing crowds from around the city and bringing out local dignitaries and Coney Island notables past and present. Here’s what’s in store this year:
Coney Island Opening Day
When: Sunday, March 25, 10:45 am
Where: Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, Boardwalk at West 12th Street
- 34th Annual Blessing of the Rides led by Deacon Toyin Fakumoju of Coney Island’s Salt and Sea Mission
- Egg Cream Christening at the Cyclone Roller Coaster at Luna Park
- Presentation of colors and national anthem with the FDNY Ceremonial Unit
- Ribbon-cutting ceremony with Dennis and Steve Vourderis, owners of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park
- Free rides on the Wonder Wheel for the first 98 guests (in celebration of wheel’s 98th year)
- Free rides for the first 100 people in line for the Cyclone (plus free egg cream samples)
- Free admission to the Coney Island History Project from 1–6 pm
The rich history, traditions, and community that will be on display Sunday are at the core of NYCEDC’s investment in Coney Island. Since 2009, we have been working with community partners and stakeholders to both reinvigorate the fabled amusement and entertainment destination and bring affordable housing, retail, amenities, and career opportunities to the larger neighborhood. Read more about NYCEDC’s commitment to Coney Island.
Hope to see you on the Boardwalk this summer!