Coney Island got a much needed reprieve Saturday after its Dreamland amusement park re-opened just in time for the holiday weekend. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
Coney Island is back, well, at least it looked that way Saturday as droves of people turned out to enjoy the last weekend of summer at the beach.
"Coney Island here on the boardwalk has a lot to offer, on the weekends, they have the DJ that comes here at two o'clock, it's relaxing for me," said New York City resident James McGrath.
On the beach, gorgeous weather attracted sun bathers as lifeguards guarded waters that had been unsafe for swimmers for the last two weekends.
"I wanted to be able to swim but couldn't since the water was closed and stuff," said New York City resident Andy Hilaire.
Up on the boardwalk, crowds of people grabbed food and enjoyed the day, some even venturing on the rides at Dreamland, which were closed two weeks ago when a private developer shut it down because the rent had not been paid.
Even though that issue hasn't been settled, the developer decided to allow the rides to reopen for the holiday weekend, much to the relief of visitors looking to ride the Cyclone.
"I think it's awesome that they'd open it again; I think it's a shame that they'd shut it down, and I think it's like a perfect weekend to open it again," said Cyclone rider Mieshia Victorian.
"I thought it was awesome! My face was like so blurry and stuff; it's like my mouth was all dried out," said Cyclone rider Jimmy Kinney.
At the Coney Island History Project, a freshly recovered 500 pound brass bell that sank 98 years ago in a fire that destroyed the original Dreamland was on display.
"From 1885 to 1911, it welcomed people to Coney Island and now it's welcoming people back to the history project and giving them an appreciation of the important history and what we might lose if we're not very careful with the rezoning," said Coney Island History Project Director Charles Denson.
Businesses like Paul's Daughter Concession stand are hoping Dreamland's opening will help their bottom line after a summer that's been less than profitable because of soggy weather and a sagging economy.
"My boss tells me stories about how it used to be, in like the 70s, 50s, and it's disappointing, Coney Island will never be the same, even if they bring new stuff, it's never the same," said Yazmin Hernandez of Paul's Daughter Concession.
Still, other businesses say this summer hasn't been all bad news and are hoping a fireworks show Sunday night will give them one final hurrah before the season ends.