Mermaid Avenue comes alive with a holiday light display
Coney Island is ringing in the holiday season with a festive light show along Mermaid Avenue, which local leaders unveiled in a small ceremony Dec. 8.
“Bringing the holiday spirit to Mermaid Avenue and seeing the joy it can spread is much needed this year,” said Alexandra Silversmith, executive director of local business group Alliance for Coney Island.
The lights, which stretch from Stillwell Avenue to W. 33rd Street, aim to bring respite to People’s Playground after the amusement park remained closed all summer due to COVID-19, hurting local businesses.
The Zamperla family, which operates Luna Park, told the Brooklyn Paper that the amusement park’s future could be in serious jeopardy if it does not receive economic aid.
“Our company’s financial situation is extremely at risk,” Alessandro Zamperla told the Brooklyn Paper in October.
Owners of Deno’s Wonder Wheel – which celebrated its 100th anniversary this year – say they paid top dollar to get the safety upgrades to open safely this summer. But even after indoor entertainment such as bowling alleys and museums opened, Cuomo closed outdoor amusement parks.
“The path [the Wheel] was designed and built 102 years ago during the last pandemic, it was designed to be socially distant,” noted Dennis Vourderis in September. “The cars are 50 feet apart, the people riding in each of the vehicles are with their own group, their own family.”
Although the Christmas lights cannot solve the neighborhood’s problems, local authorities hope they can bring joy to downtrodden residents.
“Our community has seen some of the worst effects of COVID-19 and is facing unprecedented challenges to recover, so these lights offer some semblance of hope and celebration as we look forward to the new year,” said Silversmith.
A handful of local politicians and community organizers — including Community Board 13 leaders, District Chief Dionne Brown-Jordan and Coney Island USA director Dick Zigun — gathered for a small ceremony celebrating the lights’ debut on December 8.
Councilman Mark Treyger, who funded the exhibit, said he hoped the lights would signal a happier 2021.
“While this year’s celebrations will be different, Coney Island’s decorative lights will deliver holiday cheer and promise a brighter new year,” he said in a statement.