Despite what that evil little weather icon on your phone says, spring is here, and with it comes Coney Island's grand reopening this Sunday. And this year's opening seems particularly significant, considering what a beating the area took during Hurricane Sandy; most of the rides have had to undergo extensive repair work after sustaining electrical and even structural damage in the storm. But the Wonder Wheel, Cyclone roller coaster and Scream Zone park are good to go, and they'll be up and running on Sunday—plus, a Luna Park spokeswoman tells us three new rides are coming this summer!
This weekend's festivities kick off on Saturday, with a hot-dog eating contest on the boardwalk sponsored by Nathan's Famous. The contest serves as a qualifying round for the real Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4th; since the world can't get enough of watching people shove frankfurters down their throats, the contest will be going on national tour before heading back to Brooklyn.
The park's official opening day, though, is Sunday: Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz will start things up with the annual egg-cream christening of the Cyclone, and, as usual, the first 100 patrons will get to ride the coaster for free. The Wonder Wheel will also be free on Sunday, so it might be wise to brave the 40-something degree weather if you're looking to do Coney on a budget.
Not everything will be open on Sunday—the New York Aquarium, for instance, will be closed through through late spring and Nathan's itself is shuttered until Memorial Day. And, sadly, Coney Island mainstay Cha Cha's will never open again. But there's still some exciting Luna Park news: we've been told the park will be getting three new rides sometime this summer, though details are still TBD. BYO barf bag, please.