On Coney Island, A Goodbye To Astroland It's the last day for the outer space-themed amusement park that has delighted visitors to Coney Island in Brooklyn for almost half a century.
NPR logo

On Coney Island, A Goodbye To Astroland

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/94369851/94369976" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
On Coney Island, A Goodbye To Astroland

On Coney Island, A Goodbye To Astroland

On Coney Island, A Goodbye To Astroland

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/94369851/94369976" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

It's the last day for the outer space-themed amusement park that has delighted visitors to Coney Island in Brooklyn for almost half a century.

Astroland, an amusement park at Coney Island, is closing. Josh Rogosin/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Josh Rogosin/NPR

JACKI LYDEN, host:

One more New York farewell now - to Astroland. That's the amusement park with the outer space theme that's delighted generations on Coney Island for nearly 50 years. The park's future has been uncertain since the land beneath it was sold to a developer, Thor Equities, two years ago. Today, Astroland's longtime owner called it quits for good.

NPR's Josh Rogosin lives in New York City. And today to say goodbye, he took an audio journey and the subway to where the surf hits the shore.

(Soundbite of Astroland)

Unidentified Man: Come on people, why you all come to Coney Island for? It's not like the beach...

Mr. AMOS WENGLER (Musician): Amos, A-M-O-S Wengler. I have song called "Save Coney Island."

(Soundbite of song, "Save Coney Island")

Mr. WENGLER: (Singing) Save Coney Island.

Mr. GEORGE CORIN(ph): My name is George Corin. We're here to enjoy all the amusements and the rides because it's my son's - how old are you, Adrian(ph)?

ADRIAN: Seven.

JOSH ROGOSIN: And Adrian, what's your favorite part of Astroland?

ADRIAN: Dante's Inferno. I like it because you can't actually see where you're going because it's more like a haunted house.

(Soundbite of song, "Save Coney Island")

Mr. WENGLER: (Singing) We don't need no condos here, don't need no high rises.

Ms. ANN REED (Urban Park Ranger): I am urban park ranger Ann Reed. I work for the city of New York. So that leaves us here at Astroland, which is slated to close today. It's - their lease is up, it's 2008 and we don't know what 2009 will bring. I would say go enjoy everything today because there may be nothing here.

(Soundbite of song, "Save Coney Island")

Mr. WENGLER: (Singing) Save Coney Island.

Mr. JOEL ROQUI(ph): Joel Roqui, I want to see Mia so I couldn't see through the crowd so I got up in that Astro tower, paid five dollars, went up real slowly as she was performing, spinned around, went back down, ten minutes. Bought another ticket for five dollars, went back up again. Saw her from up there, went back, I bought another ticket. I did this like four times, and that was my favorite moment. I was like the only one in the thing there. It was spectacular.

Ms. DIANA CARLIN(ph): I own a business on the boardwalk. Thor Equities is refusing to talk to us. They won't even negotiate a lease for next year. They won't let us know and, like, we're in a very similar situation to Astroland. We're supposed to be out of our stores in November, and we don't know yet whether we're going to be able to stay.

(Soundbite of song "Save Coney Island")

Mr. WENGLER: (Singing) Save Coney Island, where the whole world wants to be.

Ms. CARLIN: My most special memories, which was a really great honor, is I owned a store underneath the Cyclone. So we had - it was actually inside of the Cyclone roller coaster so the Cyclone would go over the roof of my store and all the merchandise would rattle.

LYDEN: Fear not, roller coaster fans, the Cyclone and the giant ferris wheel, Deno's Wonder Wheel, will still be there on Coney Island because they're designated landmarks. Our audio postcard was produced by Josh Rogosin, and to hear a scream-filled ride I took last year with Josh on that creaky old Cyclone, visit our archives at npr.org.

That's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Related NPR Stories