Deputy Mayor Lieber, NYC Economic Development Corporation PResident Seth Pinsky, Department of City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden Announce Acquisiton of Coney Island’s Famed Astroland Rocket Ship
Rescue of Endangered Coney Island Artifact is a Symbol of the City’s Commitment to the Redevelopment of the Storied Amusement Destination
Will Relocate to a Permanent Home in Coney Island’s New Amusement and Entertainment District
Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, Robert C. Lieber, NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President, Seth W. Pinsky and Department of City Planning Commissioner Amanda M. Burden today joined the Albert family and local elected officials to announce that the City has acquired Astroland’s famed Rocket Ship ride. The Rocket was donated to the City by Carol Hill Albert and Jerry Albert, whose family owned and operated the Astroland Amusement Park from 1962 until its closing in 2008. The 71 foot-long, 14, 000 pound Rocket was removed from its perch atop Gregory and Paul’s boardwalk stand in anticipation of its move to Homeport in Staten Island, a City-owned facility operated by NYCEDC. The Rocket will become a permanent and iconic part of the 27 acre redeveloped amusement district in Coney Island. Also joining the announcement at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island were Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, City Councilman Dominic Recchia Jr., State Senator Diane Savino, and State Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny.
“Coney Island is the people’s playground and the Astroland Rocket is its symbol of the adventure, discovery and fun that have brought New Yorkers here for years, ” said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber. “As we move forward and put in place a redevelopment and revitalization plan that will create an even better future for Coney Island’s amusement district, we want to preserve, and enhance, her past and I am pleased to say that the Rocket will continue to be part of Coney Island for generations to come.”
“The Astroland Rocket is a quintessential part of Coney Island’s history that serves as a unifying link between its fabled past and its future as a year-round entertainment destination, ” said Seth W. Pinsky, President, NYCEDC. “The Rocket will now join the Cyclone, the Wonder Wheel and the Parachute Jump as permanent symbols of Coney Island as it once was and the Coney Island that it will become again.”
“The Astroland Rocket symbolizes the spirit of adventure and exuberance that Coney Island represents to us all, ” said City Planning Commissioner Amanda M. Burden. “The City’s plan for the redevelopment of Coney Island will keep that spirit but also ensure that it is as much fun in January as it is in July.”
The Astroland Rocket will become a centerpiece of the new, revitalized amusement and entertainment district outlined in the City’s comprehensive plan for Coney Island. On January 21st, the City certified the Coney Island Redevelopment plan into ULURP, the seven-month long land use review process. The plan calls for the creation of a 27 acre indoor and outdoor amusement district to the east of Keyspan Stadium. The new year-round amusement district would link existing iconic elements including the Cyclone, the Parachute Jump, and the Wonder Wheel. The Astroland Rocket and restored B & B Carousell will also be located in the amusement district. The rezoned amusement district would create a nearly 60 acre amusement and entertainment district stretching from Asser Levy Park to KeySpan Stadium.
“This one of a kind Rocket simulator was the very first ride to arrive at Astroland Park when it was founded by my late father in- law Dewey Albert in 1962, ” Siad Carol Hill Albert. “My husband Jerome and myself are donating this in his honor and on behalf the Coney Island History Project. It is especially fitting that this Rocket -which was the first to arrive will be the last item to leave Astroland Park. On the sad occasion of closing Astroland, which has been Coney Island’s largest amusement park for 47 years- my husband Jerome and I are heartened to know that the city will be displaying the Rocket in a prominent location as part of the new Coney Island where it can continue to educate and entertain.”
The Rocket was the first ride debuted at Astroland Park when it opened in 1962 and one of the first space voyage simulators created during the Space Race. Originally built as the "Star Flyer, ” it was renamed the Astroland Rocket in 1963 and continued to operate through the 1970’s. The ride had 26 seats and lifted on hydraulics to simulate launching into space.
"I want to congratulate and thank Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Bob Lieber and EDC President Seth Pinsky for saving the Astroland Rocket, an important artifact in the history of Coney Island, " said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. "As Coney Island begins a period of change and renewal, it is important that we preserve links to our past and, like the historic and beloved B & B Carousel which the City previously saved, the Astroland Rocket is another important link to Coney’s history. The City’s swift action to preserve this object is a great victory for the City, Brooklyn and all who cherish Coney Island."
“Coney Island’s unique character has distinguished it in the national imagination since its earliest days, and I commend the Mayor and the EDC for understanding the need to preserve our timeless icons, ” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “When I look at this rocket, I recall JFK’s rallying cry that America would go to the moon before the 60’s was out—and I hereby cry out to all those who love Coney, that together we will revitalize “America’s Favorite Playground” by the end of this decade. Let’s give this rocket a dream destination—the Coney Island of the 21st Century, a modern mecca of freakishness, fun-loving spirit and Brooklyn charm.”
“The Astroland Rocket is a landmark of the Coney Island community, ” said Councilman Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. “I am thrilled that the ride will be safe as we move toward revitalization, and that it will return here to serve as one of the anchors for the new Coney Island. This is further evidence that the city is committed to preserving Coney Island’s past while moving toward the future.”
"The preservation of Coney Island as an amusement destination is crucial as we look towards revitalizing and expanding one of the most famous beachfronts in the country. I applaud the City’s efforts in maintaining this key to our rich past, " said Senator Diane J. Savino.
“Its great to see the redevelopment of Coney Island begin to gather some momentum and become closer and closer to a reality, ” said Assemblyman Alex Brook-Krasny. “I am extremely excited that the ULURP is moving forward and I will continue to do all I can to ensure a steadfast process.”
“The rocketship — the 60’s icon that showed us the way to the Amusement Area, that symbolized the hopes and dreams of the citizens of Camelot that Jack Kennedy led us to, ” said Community Board Chair Marion Cleaver. “He told us we could go to the moon, he filled us with hope for a new world. As we enter a new era of change and hope, what better symbol for the rebirth of the Coney Island Amusement area, than that 60’s icon.”
Under the City’s redevelopment plan, the19 block area in Coney Island will be transformed into a 27 acre amusement district surrounded to the North and West by enhanced residential neighborhoods. The project will provide 25, 000 construction jobs and more than 6, 000 permanent jobs.