In the middle of the night, the iconic Astroland Rocket returned to its rightful home, Coney Island. Once a ride called “The Star Flyer” in the amusement park holdout, it was “one of the first of the ‘imaginary’ space voyage simulators constructed during the Space Race,” according to the Coney Island History Project, the small but vital museum that took custodianship of the icon. “The Rocket showed simulator films of ‘rocket rides’ while the chassis ‘rocked’ its viewers to outer space. The Ride, which has 26 seats, lasted about three minutes, the length of the film.”
In later years, the Rocket sat atop the foodstand Gregory and Paul’s, now Paul’s Daughter, where it became as familiar a sight to boardwalk amblers as the Cyclone. When Astroland finally shuttered in 2008, the owners donated it to the city, which has since had it in storage in Staten Island. Recently, the History Project arranged to take over ownership, and the Rocket began its journey at midnight, landing around 1:45am this morning in its new home in Wonder Wheel Park.
The Rocket was damaged during Superstorm Sandy, and the Wonder Wheel owners will oversee the renovation. They hope to feature it as the centerpiece of the neighborhood’s History Day in August.
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