November 28, 2006
Brooklyn, NY -- Coney Island's landmark Astroland amusement park will close after the 2007 summer season. The Albert Family, owners of the park sold the property to Thor Equities, however they did not sell the amusement park business they've owned since 1962.
Carol Hill Albert, who co-owns Astroland along with her husband Jerome, said the family hopes to relocate the amusement park to a new location in Coney Island with the assistance of city officials.
Thor Equities is planning to redevelop the 3.1-acre property into a $1.5 billion year-round resort that will include amusement rides, including a roller coaster. The sale does not include the city-owned Cyclone roller coaster that the Albert family will continue to operate under its contract with the city.
"This year we spent $450,000 upgrading the Cyclone and ad additional $500,000 on Astroland improvements for next summer," said Albert. "We expect 2007 to be one of our strongest seasons, as the Cyclone will be celebrating its 80th anniversary."
The "decision to close Astroland was very difficult and made only after months of extensive discussions," said Carol Albert. The family turned down larger offers "in the hope of finding an alternative that would enable us to keep our current location."
In the last two years, the city has been developing a plan to convert Coney Island into a year-round entertainment destination, which she called "both glamorous and ambitious, and comes with the promise of long term benefits for both the public and the community."
The cost of converting Astroland to a year-round operation was too expensive for the family. The sale of the property ended up being the only logical alternative.
"We remain optimistic about Coney Island's amusement future because the city has emphasized its commitment to amusements."
Thor has already spent more than $100 million buying up properties along the Coney Island boardwalk. Thor's plans include amusements and attractions, mixed in with a new hotel and residential to help pay for the amusements.
Mrs. Albert characterized as "visionaries" both her late father-in-law, Dewey Albert, who started Astroland in l962, and her husband Jerome, who greatly expanded and refined both the concept and size of the park.
"It was largely through their efforts that Coney Island would become the legendary phoenix that would rise above the social turbulence of the 60's," Albert added.
True to that vision, Astroland business continued to grow, she said, and has continued to thrive, most dramatically, in the last five years.
"The Albert family is proud to have provided so many wonderful memories for so many generations and to have been such an important part of New York's world famous Coney Island," said Albert.
The amusement park employs about 300 workers every summer. The family is grateful for their employees who have contributed to its success.
Astroland will open for its final season on Palm Sunday.
For more information about Astroland, visit astroland.com.
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