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Coney Island Amusement Parks Set to Reopen This Friday - Hayley Zhao

KATE STOCKRAHM, HOST: Coney Island Island’s famous amusement parks will start to welcome back visitors for the first time in more than a year and a half tomorrow. Our reporter Hayley Zhao went down to Luna Park and found that after being shut up by the pandemic New Yorkers are already excited to start their summer with roller coaster rides and hot dogs -- at least most of them.

HAYLEY ZHAO, BYLINE: The beach outside of Luna Park is quiet this morning with a few joggers on the boardwalk and couples strolling closer to the water. But tomorrow, it will look a lot different when visitors flood in from all over the city for the park reopening. At least that’s according to the city. Jose Herrera lives in the neighborhood and works at the McDonalds nearby.

JOSE HERRERA: Last summer I got pretty busy because people were just ignoring the rules about COVID so they were just going to the beach regardless.

ZHAO: He says he’s not excited about the park reopening.

JOSE HERRERA: Um, so I can imagine how much more difficult it's going to be this year when the parks reopen because people weren't really listening to the guidelines or they'll just sit down, or they'll just ignore us and we couldn't really do anything about it.

ZHAO: Maya Ostrovsky is standing on the boardwalk nearby. She works here at the park, at a stand where people can play basketball. She got the call last week that she can have her old job back after not working for a year. She and other staff have been preparing all week for the big reopening.

MAYA OSTROVSKY: Easter was like crazy. People were all up in the streets, just like, like really busy. I think everyone's hankering for like, some kind of thing. Anything really.

ZHAO: Unlike Herrera, Ostrovsky is happy that the park is reopening.

OSTROVSKY: I didn't work all last year. So that was, it was like, it was pretty stressful, you know. It's good work and you get to interact with a lot of people and it gets to be loud and obnoxious, which I really liked. Any day that I can work, I do work.

ZHAO: David Kim says he’ll be there in the crowd tomorrow.

DAVID KIM: I'm gonna visit the park tomorrow. Definitely.

ZHAO: Kim, has been living in the neighborhood for nine years. He’s already made plans on how to spend his Friday: trying out all the rides in Luna Park.

KIM: I would like, uh, try all of them, you know, and spend like three, four hours maybe tomorrow with my friends.

ZHAO: But Kim will take a pass on the hot dog tomorrow since he’s trying to shack the pandemic weight he’s gained in the past year. Hayley Zhao, Columbia Radio News.


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