News / USA

Scary Rides, Spooky House Return to NY's Coney Island

Scary Rides and Spooky House are Back at NY's Coney Islandi
X
April 25, 2013 7:37 PM
Last October, when Hurricane Sandy slammed the east coast of the United States with powerful winds, sea surges and flooding, it threatened the lives and livelihoods of thousands who live and work in coastal areas like Coney Island in Brooklyn. Through the winter, VOA’s Adam Phillips followed members of the Vourderis family as they cleaned up, reimagined and rebuilt their iconic Coney Island attractions for opening day in 2013.
Adam Phillips
In October, 2012, when Hurricane Sandy slammed the east coast of the United States with powerful winds, sea surges and flooding, it threatened the lives and livelihoods of thousands who live and work in coastal areas like Coney Island in Brooklyn. Through the winter, VOA’s Adam Phillips followed members of the Vourderis family as they cleaned up, reimagined and rebuilt their iconic Coney Island attractions for opening day in 2013.
 
For over a century, Coney Island has been known for fun, relaxation and seaside thrills.

But that dreamland turned into a nightmare for the Vourderis family on October 29th, when a massive sea surge flooded their rides and games.
   
Their century-old Wonder Wheel and Spook House, from 1955, were nearly destroyed.

“When we got here and saw the devastation, it was like a death, figuratively like a death," said Dano Vourderis.

Deno Vourderis is a third generation worker in this family-owned business
      
"I mean figuratively like a death because a lot of the stuff has history," he said.

But the family resolved to rebuild.

Deno worked with a five man crew he has known since he was a boy.  They assisted his father, co-owner Steve Vourderis, who directed the clean-up and restoration.

"We’re men and we do what we have to do. We get it done," he said.

Steve’s brother Dennis Vourderis handled logistics and finances. He says the family had to borrow a huge amount of honey to pay for repairs and new equipment.

“But what hurts more is when you have an old piece of equipment that has been around for 70 or 80 years that was underwater and you know it can’t be restored.  So that’s especially painful to throw away," said Dennis Vourderis.

" We might be able to fix this. Louis! Don’t throw this guy out, okay?  We’re gonna bring him in the shop and see what we can do with him," he said.

Three months of solid labor later, the Wonder Wheel is refashioned, the kiddie rides are buffed up, and the Scary House’s gimmicks have been restored or replaced.  The Vourderis family felt they were ready for Coney Island’s opening day.   

“We kept a couple of the old relics, but a lot of it is new. All new mechanics, all new haunts. So, you know, the silver lining is if you come by this summer you’re gonna have a lot of new stuff to see," said Deno Vourderis.

Coney Island's rebirth became reality in March when dignitaries and New Yorkers came together on the famous boardwalk for Opening Day.

And the Vourderis family offered up fun, free of charge.

"I couldn't be happier. Everything worked out the way we wanted it to work out . All the rides are up and running. Wonder Wheel is at 100 percent. So I couldn’t be happier," said Deno Vourderis.

Much of what Hurricane Sandy destroyed has been rebuilt.

Still, it's probably safe to say that nowhere have the results been more fun than here.

 "We love you Coney!!"

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid