Today’s news:

Abandoned ship

The ride stuff: Astroland’s iconic rocket, a former ride that has sat atop a hot dog stand since the 1970s, is available — for free! — for anyone who wants it.
The Brooklyn Paper

It’s a race against time to save two iconic structures from the recently closed Astroland park in Coney Island.

Unlike Astroland’s thrill rides, which owner Carol Albert is trying to sell, the Rocketship and Astroland Tower are free for the taking — and in the case of the 1960s-vintage Rocketship, Albert will even pay some moving expenses.

But no one has stepped forward to house the massive pieces of the amusement landscape before Albert vacates the park’s site, between Surf Avenue and the Boardwalk, by the end of January.

“We’ve had inquiries from several people, but we don’t have anything definite yet,” Albert said.

If no takers step forward, the attractions could wind up in the scrap heap — an unfitting end for such prominent visual relics of the fabled People’s Playground, Albert said.

The Rocketship is an original ride from the space-age theme park’s opening in the 1962, but has had a purely decorative function since the 1970s, when it landed atop the Gregory and Paul’s hot dog stand on the Boardwalk.

The tower is one of the highest points in the Coney Island skyline, along with the Cyclone roller coaster and inactive Parachute Jump. At night, it lit the sky like a Roman candle.

The nearby New York Aquarium and the Brooklyn Museum were among the candidates to receive the ride, but both lacked the space for it.

The interstellar attractions became orphans after Albert sold her three acres of land to Thor Equities in 2006 for $30 million. Thor rented the space to her for the past two seasons, but she finally shuttered the dilapidated funland this fall after Thor did not respond to her ultimatum for a new lease.

The closure of Astroland leaves Coney Island with just one amusement park — Deno’s Wonder Wheel.

Albert’s efforts to unload her 20 rides hit a wall too. Last month, NY1 reported that Albert was negotiating with an operator in Australia to purchase the collection, but “that’s on a backburner now,” Albert told The Brooklyn Paper.

The city, which is negotiating to buy more than 10 acres of Thor’s land in Coney Island to launch a glitzy development of new rides, attractions and hotels, mourned the possible loss of the spaceship.

“Astroland’s Rocketship is an important part of Coney’s past and we hope that it will remain in Coney Island for generations to come,” the Coney Island Development Corporation said in a statement.

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Reader Feedback

Mike from Bensonhurst says:
Joe Sitt should teach this city a lesson and have those two things destroyed the second the Astroland lease runs out.
Dec. 17, 2008, 9:35 am
electricia from ci till i die! says:
One of my Coney Island friends tells me he was on the platform at Stillwell Station on Monday when he overheard...

Father to little boy: "Do you want to go see the rocket?"

Sweet...and heartbreaking

I heard that a lot of people are going to see or stopping to look at the rocket since it's been in the news. The rocket is Astroland's star:-)
Dec. 17, 2008, 10:13 am
kris martin from indianapolis, in says:
i take it free Astro Tower and the Rocketship.
u move it to me house
Dec. 17, 2008, 11:08 am
ash from ny says:
Bloombewrg should buy the rocket and go the fu|ck back to the planet he came from.
Dec. 17, 2008, 11:58 am
Sharon Loves Coney from Hollywood FL says:
I am saddened and outraged that the City can't take the Astroland Rocket and/or the Astro Tower and preserve them as iconic symbols of Astroland and Coney Island the people's playground. It is utterly amazing that the city promised hope for Coney Island and all that I can see are empty lots and depressed buildings. There are going to be so many people who look forward to going to Coney Island and will be disapointed that most of it will be vacant.
Dec. 17, 2008, 12:32 pm

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