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Old Posted Nov 29, 2006, 1:46 AM
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Coney Island's Astroland sold to developer

By LARRY McSHANE
November 28, 2006

NEW YORK -- The vintage Astroland Amusement Park, one of the anchors of Coney Island since its 1962 opening, was purchased Tuesday by a developer intent on restoring the Brooklyn beachfront as a $1.5 billion year-round resort.

The Albert family, owners of the well-known park, will close the 3.1-acre attraction at the end of the 2007 summer season under the deal reached with Thor Equities.
The Alberts will continue to operate the landmark Cyclone roller-coaster, which turns 80 next year, under an existing agreement with the city.

The decision to sell was "very difficult and made only after months of extensive discussion," said Carol Hill Albert, co-owner of Astroland with husband Jerome. The park was launched by her late father-in-law, Dewey Albert.

In the end, the cost of converting Astroland to a year-round operation was too steep. The family had turned down larger bids last year "in the hope of finding an alternative that would enable us to keep our current location," Albert said _ but it didn't pan out.

Thor Equities plans a $1.5 billion, year-round facility in Coney Island. Although no price was given for the Astroland purchase, Thor had already spent $100 million snapping up properties along the venerable boardwalk.

Thor's plans include a mix of amusements and attractions, including a new roller coaster and a new hotel to accommodate the anticipated arrival of new tourists.


The site of the amusement park is renowned for another reason. Local legend has it that restaurateur Charles Feltman invented the hot dog there in 1874.

The Alberts, although they sold their property to Thor, retained ownership of attractions like the water flume and the Astrotower in hopes of adding some new rides and relocating to another section of the neighborhood.

The amusement park employs about 300 workers every summer, and Albert was hopeful that city and Brooklyn officials could help with relocation costs.

"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," Albert said.
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