Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Last Day Of Astroland (with pics)

As you may or may not know, today was the last day of Astroland Park at Coney Island. Tomorrow, it will be sold off.

How this area was not designated a protected landmark is beyond me. Actually, it's very obviou$. Shame on the people who were in a position to save this national -- NATIONAL -- institution but didn't because they were greedy bastards. On the slate for the area:
* 26 new high rises of up to 30 stories each
* Shrinkage of the Amusement district from 61 acres to 9 acres
* Possible retail, malls, and other pre-fab materialist bullshit

Astroland Park was a low-cost, easy-to-travel-to center of entertainment for countless people, especially children -- and especially people who might not have been able to afford trips elsewhere. It was also the provider of jobs for many locals.

Above that -- it's fucking Coney Island! I just don't get it. Brooklyn let one of its arguably most famous attractions fall to condos and shopping malls. Standing in the middle of Astroland park today, I felt like this:


  1. I know, it goddamn pissed me off back in '05 once this bullshit started coming down the pike. A freakin' Brooklyn landmark wiped away like it's nothing for more goddamn condos, like this area needs any more. We need parking before we need any more places for people to live.

    I regret I wasn't able to go at all this season. Summer was way too busy and I planned to go everywhere but. But, I did go last year when it was SUPPOSED to be the last year. That was also my first ride on the Cyclone! And my last...sadly those cars weren't made for people of my giant-ish proportions.

    I didn't go as often as I shoulda and I regret it. Here's to another mistake of the new New York.

  2. Greedy people suck.

    One more piece of Americana all-ah gone-ah.

  3. Unfortunately, this is something that's not isolated in New York state. Here in Ohio, they've just auctioned off all the stuff that used to be part of Geagua Lake Park, including the Big Dipper, which for many years was one of the biggest roller coasters in the U.S. The economy just doesn't seem to be very kind to amusement parks these days... :-(

  4. well there is a slight bit of good news..alot of the things there won't actually be destroyed..a great deal of attractions are unbeknownst to many movable. a great many things are going to be lost but i know i feel a bit better that at least some things will live on. like that dantes inferno thing..think thats actually coming out here..theres been talk at the more local amusement park by me called adventure land that supposedly bought some of the there will be at least some preservation..though spread out.

    personally..i really hate that they are going to fuck the place up. they should have left well enough alone..i totally agree with you.

    i'm just trying to look for a bright side in it all. i know some will live on in other places. but really i'm going to miss the seedy charm of the original location.

  5. Anonymous11:42 PM

    How sad. As you said - it is Coney Island!

    Even a midwestern boy like myself will mourn this passing.

  6. Oh, man, that's just sad. We actually drove past Coney Island (or an exit sign for it) today, coming home from an errand up at Stoney Brook. And I thought, "We should probably get there before the last day, since I've never been."

    He who hesitates... ah, hell.

  7. Anonymous10:55 AM

    I actually did this same thing last year, ie go to Coney Island and take pictures when they were planning on closing it last summer. While I totally agree that as a cultural landmark it means alot, and they do alot of film stuff and art shows and parades an amusement park it kind of sucks.

    I hadn't been there in a decade or so, and that was about right for me. There are alot of photo opportunities, but in the area directly surrounding it there is nothing, the whole area is run down and depressing. All the rides are run down and depressing too. I am glad they are saving the Cyclone as that was good rickety fun, but the rest was all kind of dingy and worn down.

  8. Anonymous12:04 PM

    Great, now where are the Warriors going to go?

  9. If its not turning a profit good riddance.

    I pay taxes on enough of state boondoggles. We don't need another silly historical site.

  10. Anonymous7:01 PM

    Yeah this is kinda sad. I loved Dante's Inferno as a kid. And the little dancing clown they had in a glass booth in one of the arcades. You could use buttons to manipulate his arms and legs. And the "Bump Your Ass off" disco bumper cars were cool. And the creepy wax museum. And of course Spookaramma.

  11. Anonymous8:10 PM

    There's always Nellie Bly!

  12. I've never heard of Astro Land, but
    I'm sure you never heard of Astroworld, a Houston landmark for nearly four decades. Ah. Progress. Pfft.

  13. Palisades Park? Freedomland?

    Cultural landmark... yes, but do you want to preserve that culture? The iconic rides will continue to exist. Until that neighborhood gets gentrified, there will still be the attractions which ply the tourist trade. (My family went there, during THANKSGIVING, just to sample a Nathan's hot dog and see the area.)

    People will still go to the beach, there will always be some sort of amusements to draw people. (Coney Island is as famous as Times Square, and look how much that has changed in 100 years!) The Wonder Wheel remains, as does the parachure drop and the Cyclone. Someone will build a big entertainment center there, because it gets a helluvalot of foot traffic, it's a tourist trap, it's got great transit, there's a lot of people nearby... It won't turn into Co-Op City.

    As for highrises? I'm all for density. Grew up in the suburbs of Omaha. Took freaking forever to go anywhere, to buy anything. Besides, the more people in New York, the more Congressmen we get! (NYC has thirteen, putting on par with Missouri and Georgia.)

    Regeneration is the spirit of New York City. Our buildings get torn down and are replaced by something else. Immigrants come to create a better life. Allienated people move here to reinvent themselves, to be themselves. This isn't the first amusement park at Coney Island, and it won't be the last.