Astroland on Coney Island

For nearly two centuries, New Yorkers have traveled to Coney Island in Brooklyn for fun, amusement and excitement. However, after the end of World War II people started to go elsewhere to look for more modern and sophisticated forms of entertainment, and visits to the island declined. That situation changed in the early 1960s when Dewey Albert and a group of business partners opened Astroland.

Astroland was an amusement park that replaced several older, bankrupt amusement parks on the same site. However, rather than continuing to offer more of the old-fashioned attractions that had traditionally populated Coney Island, Astroland positioned itself as a futuristic park with up-to-date European-made rides for children and adults. The timing could not have been better, since the space race had captured America's collective attention, making anything space-aged or futuristic a subject of interest. The park was severely damaged by a fire in 1975, but Albert and his partners rebuilt it with even more elaborate, expensive and modern rides.

The beginning of the end of Astroland came in 2006 when the Albert family sold the property to Thor Equities for $30 million. Thor planned to redevelop the area into a year-round resort, but planned to allow the Alberts to continue to operate some of the rides elsewhere. The two parties could not reach an agreement, and Astroland closed for good on September 7, 2008.