Resolve Replaces Heartbreak On Coney Island

We revisit Coney Island to check in with those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

We have an update now to a story we heard in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. A few days after the storm hit, NPR's Zoe Chace went to an amusement park at Coney Island. It's right by the water and features the Wonder Wheel and the Cyclone roller coaster. Well, this week, she went back.

ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: The storm surge from Sandy washed over the Coney Island boardwalk, crashed around the base of the Wonder Wheel and poured right into the haunted house, the Spook-a-Rama.

Deno Vourderis' family owns a bunch of these rides. And I found him inside the haunted house a couple of days after the storm, slipping around on wet sand and checking on the ghouls.

DENO VOURDERIS: A lot of them are missing heads that, you know, as scary as this is without a head, they were there before.

(LAUGHTER)

CHACE: This week, the sun is out and Deno is smiling.

VOURDERIS: A little better than it was the last time when it was slippery, right?

CHACE: It was so slippery. Remember, this was us last time.

VOURDERIS: We were surfing, I know.

CHACE: The lights are on. It's dry. The mud is gone. But now Deno can see clearly what they have to do. They have to tear the whole place apart and start over.

VOURDERIS: I mean, if you look down you can see all the corrosion with the salt, so that's all got to be redone.

CHACE: When I last saw Deno he was heartbroken over what was lost. They built this ride in the 1950s. Some of these spooks had been here that long. There's a skeleton smoking a cigarette from back when cigarettes were cool. There's a devil who's been stabbing the air for decades.

But this week, he was different, excited to build a new haunted house.

VOURDERIS: Starting over, clean slate.

CHACE: It's been a busy three weeks. They've had repair guys climbing all over the Wonder Wheel. Deno flew to Orlando to buy brand new bumper cars. There's a zombie-manufacturer here from Ohio, David Fachman, and he's running around with a tape measure and imagining a whole new line of spooks.

DAVID FACHMAN: 'Cause this whole room comes to life, so this is a little seance scene where there's a seance is bringing the spooks back to the Spook-a-Rama.

CHACE: No insurance is paying for this. It's all on the credit card - the bumper cars, the new goblins and ghosts - just applied for a half million dollar loan. And no one in the family has taken a day off since the storm, until today, Thanksgiving.

VOURDERIS: We're going to have some wine. We're going to eat, then we're going to pass out. Then we're going to eat again.

CHACE: What are you going to cook?

VOURDERIS: We're doing a turkey. We're doing spanakopita because we're Greek, sweet potatoes.

CHACE: Tomorrow its back to work on the Spook-a-Rama, the Wonder Wheel, the merry-go-round. And they're going to open back up in the spring, Palm Sunday, like they do every year.

Zoe Chace, NPR News.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: