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Coney rebirth coming this spring

Astroland may be a memory, but Coney Island is reaching even deeper into its funhouse past with the city’s bold plan to revive the seaside amusement park starting this spring.

The first batch of 19 rides, which will be open daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day and then on weekends for about a month afterward, will be known as Luna Park at Coney Island, an homage to the original park, which closed in 1944.

The deal was announced after more than a year of uncertainty and protracted negotiations between the city and developer Joseph Sitt, who had owned the land and had different plans for it until the city bought the parcel for $95.6 million last year.

"We’re delighted that these new rides and attractions will not only bring more visitors and new rides to Coney Island, they’ll also bring new jobs here,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday.

Central Amusement International won the concession to operate the park on 6 acres of city-owned land along the boardwalk. The operator said it will debut a few new rides, including the Air Race, which whips riders on “barrel role” around a control tower and the Mega Disk’O, a saucer-shaped ride that reaches speeds of 44 miles per hour.

In 2011, the second phase with four new rides — including roller coasters, a human slingshot and go-karts — will open. The existing rides, including the Cyclone, are expected to remain.

The operator will pay the city $100,000 a year in lease payments, in addition to sharing a percentage of gross receipts from the attractions, which will include food concessions.

The city expects more than 5,000 units of housing, about 900 affordable, will open in Coney Island during the next 10 years. The city bought land around the Boardwalk last year for $95 million.

A spokesman for Save Coney Island, which fought for expanded amusements as the site, said: “We hope the city will build on this success by purchasing additional land to create space for more amusement operators to participate in Coney Island's rebirth.” 

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