Coney Island park closed, but hot dog eating contest will go on

Published on Wednesday, 3 July 2013 11:58 - Written by BY JENNIFER PELTZ, The Associated Press BY JON GERBERG, The Associated Press

 

NEW YORK (AP) — Coney Island's famous Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel and Luna Park were closed Wednesday while engineers inspected a 275-foot-tall observation tower that was reported to be swaying.

The initial assessments were that the unused Astrotower was stable, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "But we're keeping the area right near the tower closed until we're certain, and that includes Luna Park, the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel," he said.

The fire department received a call Tuesday afternoon that the tower was swaying and the park was evacuated and closed hours early as a precaution.

Bloomberg said the FDNY, the Office of Emergency Management and engineers from the buildings department responded and were on the scene Wednesday.

"We want to make sure that Coney's open to everybody, but safety is, obviously, everybody's first priority, so we will have an abundance of caution, but we are optimistic," he added.

The Astrotower was installed in 1964 and has not been in use since 2010. It once offered visitors 360-degree views of the Atlantic Ocean and Brooklyn. It sits across the street from the Cyclone roller coaster.

The Fourth of July hot dog-eating contest nearby at Nathan's will not be affected. Nathan's was open Wednesday.

"The rest of Coney is open and ready for action, including the beach, the boardwalk, the aquarium, and, of course, Nathan's is serving its famous wares to chowhounds from around the world," Bloomberg said. "And we expect thousands of people to head out to Coney Island for the biggest dog show in the world."

 

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.