FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Life is like a roller coaster, with ups and downs. But New York’s amusement and arcade owners say they won’t survive the downs much longer.

They’re asking New York state to let them safely reopen.

As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reports, Adventureland is a happy place that hasn’t seen a kid’s smile in a year. Adventureland, and amusement parks across New York, shuttered since they closed for the season last October.

“Upstate, downstate, in the city – Coney Island – they have earned zero dollars the entire 2020 season,” said Adventureland co-owner Steven Gentile.

COVID-ready for reopening in July, but phases came and went, neighboring states opened rides, even casinos, with older, more vulnerable patrons.

“The casinos have buttons, touchpoints. The casinos have levers, touchpoints… they are doing the same exact thing,” Gentile said. “Every thing in our industry is prepared. Everything is socially distant.”

Gentile says its the time to plan for the spring. He and other arcade owners gathered in Farmingdale asking the state to let them demonstrate their safety.


“We are in business to be safe, to be clean. We employ full time cleaners, disinfectors,” said Daniel Atnoniou, owner of Xplore Family Fun Centers.

They also discussed how close they are to ruin, including Coney Island’s century-old Wonder Wheel.

“We have a serious problem if we cant open next season.  We cant afford to be closed. We have been closed for a year,” said Dennis Vourderis, co-owner of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park.

“We are all scraping the bottom of the barrel. We’ve asked for guidance since July 2 and its been so frustrating,” said Ryan D’Amico, owner of Laser Bounce. “How is a gym any different than playing on my play equipment?”

Adventureland pivoted to pay some of its 650 workers, with drive-in concerts, movies, even fitness classes.

“Adventureland wants to be given the opportunity to run roller coasters,” Gentile said.

“Thanks to our data-driven public health policies and New Yorkers’ hard work, we have achieved one of the lowest rates of infection in the nation, but with cases rising in other states, micro-clusters around New York, and the threat of a second wave on the horizon, we are continuing to monitor how and when higher-risk industries like these can safely reopen,” said Jack Sterne, a spokesperson for Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “We appreciate that these business owners want to plan in advance to operate safely, and will work with them as that process continues.”

Adventureland will pivot once again with gingerbread events through December, but with the rest of the industry they are pleading for a light at the end of the tunnel, with gates opening in 2021.

Adventureland is hosting a drive-in concert Friday night.


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