A group of daycampers was sitting on the Coney Island boardwalk yesterday when one of them happened to look up at the Astrotower. The rusted spire, once a part of the erstwhile Astroland, was swyaing back and forth in the breeze, and the kid started to shout. Then all his campmates looked up. And they started to shout. And their counselors looked up. And I looked up. But I didn’t shout, because the swaying had already been brought to my attention minutes earlier, and had caused moments of anxiety, enough for me to take the short video embedded below. “But if it made it through Sandy,” I reasoned to myself, “surely it can survive a breezy day.”
But not everyone was so levelheaded: “an alarmed tourist, unaware that the tower has always swayed, called 911,” Amusing the Zillion reports. “The amusement parks had to be closed and evacuated” so the FDNY could investigate the tower’s stability. Luna Park, which now occupies the former Astroland space, swears the department of buildings has found it to be stable. “It all has to do with the angle of the wind,” a former Astroland employee once told the blog. “A very strong flow of wind at the right angle will cause it to sway.”
The ride was built in 1964, carrying riders in a round gondola up to the top of its 270 feet. It closed with the surrounding park in 2007. When Luna Park took over three years later, Amusing the Zillion reports, it considered using the old thing for signage or reviving it as a ride. Last year, it was festooned with lights, similar to what’s been done recently to the Parachute Jump; the park plans to do the same thing again this year—as long as panicky visitors don’t keep trying to shut it down.
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