Park reopens after crews dismantle portion of Astroland tower - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Luna Park reopens after crews dismantle portion of Astroland tower

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

On this Fourth of July, it was a different kind of fireworks over at Luna Park in Coney Island.

Sparks were flying from the Astro Tower as crews used blowtorches to dismantle part of the 275-foot tower that was dangerously swaying over the park.

"We have most famous Funnel cakes, they've been here forever," said a Funnel cake worker at Game World.

If the funnel cakes have been around forever, it must seem like Coney Island has been around even longer than that.

But no one can remember a time when the world famous amusement park was closed on the Fourth of July – at least for part of the holiday.

"I thought was going to the close park today because of the situation with the tower because it was leaning over -- but I'm glad to see it was over though. But I still had good time with family," said one man at Coney Island.

"It was great time, no complaints -- at the least nothing collapsed on me," added another.

Tuesday night the park's Astroland Tower, which has been a Coney Island fixture for 50 years, started to sway a little too much for comfort.

So, structural experts made the quick call to close Luna Park for a few hours this Fourth of July, bringing in cranes Wednesday night just before the busiest day of the year to remove the top of the tower.

"We had two cranes assembled. One crane was there to basically hold the tower in place," said Robert Limandri, NYC Dept. of Buildings Commissioner. "The other crane had what we call a ‘man basket.' A man basket allows welders to operate."

Gone along with the top of the tower's top was also some Coney Island business. Some shops did not open until 3:00 p.m., like the makers of the world's most famous Funnel cakes who estimate they lost well over $1,000.

"Of course it hurts, after Sandy we're still trying to recover from that of course. And then this is our last holiday of the season besides Labor Day and it's not easy. You know we have high rent," said Nicholas Johnson of Game World owner.

High rent and less than usual business lowered store owners morale, but visitors seemed to stay upbeat keeping with the spirit of the Fourth of July.

Everyone's wishing America a happy birthday and Fox 5 has learned each individual section of the AstroTower weighed between 200-300 pounds.   

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