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

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora