Coney Island Opens New Scream Zone Amusement Park
We head out to Coney Island at least a couple of times each summer, for the beach (we go where all the Russians go, toward Brighton) and the scene on the boardwalk, which is always teeming with characters; and to walk through the amusement park in all of its iterations over the years, and to ride the world-famous, loud and rickety Cyclone roller coaster (sometimes); and to only-once but never-again eat Nathan's hot dogs, which are just gross. It's all fun and different and it makes for a great adventure, with or without kids. Plus there's just something supremely satisfying about getting on the subway somewhere deep in the city, and getting off less than an hour later at the beach.
Anyway, like everything everywhere, Coney Island has been going through some changes of late, so if you haven't been in a while, now's the perfect time catch up. Last year, for example, saw the opening of Coney Island Luna Park, with 19 spiffy new rides, and this year it's expanded even more, with the new Scream Zone, featuring four spanking-new, high-tech thrill machines that promise to be making people, um… scream all summer long. We went last weekend to see what the hype was about, and while there clearly were still some glitches to be worked out (one coaster wasn't running; the other only sporadically), and the prices were a bit a shocker (from $7 to $20 for one ride!), everyone we spoke with, and, especially, everyone we watched get hurtled through the air at insane heights and speeds, appeared to be having a blast.
The clear highlight of the the Scream Zone is the Sling Shot, pictured at top, which shoots two people straight up, 90 miles an hour, 150 feet above the park (that's more than 15 stories high!), and then lets them drop, free-falling back to earth, spinning and flipping and… well you get the picture. The Sling Shot at Scream Zone Coney Island lasts less than a minute and it costs the aforementioned twenty bucks: whether it's "worth it" is up to the individual." Also messing with your equilibrium at Coney Island's Scream Zone: the Zenobio, a pair of open-air pods at either end of a brutally long stick, which spins around and around at 60 mph while you do a zillion or so somersaults. No thank you.
The two new roller coasters, the Steeplechase and the Soarin' Eagle, have potential, perhaps–the Steeplechase went on a few employees-only test runs while we were there, and the acceleration was certainly impressive (0 to 40 mph to 2 seconds, they say) and some zippy-looking turns and dips–but reviews on these have so far been mixed. Of course, the beloved Cyclone, which is always included in any self-respecting "Scariest Roller Coasters in the World" list, does cast a pretty long shadow here on Luna Park at Coney Island NYC.
The Scream Zone at Coney Island details
The Scream Zone is open all summer from 12:00 noon to 12:00 midnight, Monday through Thursday, from 12:00 until 1:00 a.m. on Friday, and from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 a.m. on the weekend. The entrance to Scream Park is on the boardwalk, right near the iconic Wonder Wheel. For more information, please see the Luna Park and Scream Park website, here.