New Coney Island roller coaster the Phoenix to open by July 4

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A roller coaster is rising from the ashes of a dark and terrible year for the amusement-park industry.

Coney Island will soon cut the ribbon on its newest attraction for thrill-seekers: The Phoenix, a custom-made 68-foot-high coaster reaching speeds of more than 34 miles per hour, will open by July 4, the theme park’s proprietors told Brooklyn Paper. The attraction is located at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park and sits directly next to its eponymous star attraction, which turned 101 this year.

“We got the best of the old and the best of the new,” Dennis Vourderis, a member of the family that owns and operates the park, said of the adjacent rides’ age difference. 

The Vourderis family has owned and operated the park since 1983, and bought the plot of land that the Phoenix now sits on in 2019. But they weren’t sure what to build on it until they visited Dolly Parton’s Tennessee theme park, Dollywood, and were inspired by a coaster there. 

“We decided to pull the trigger on” building the Phoenix, Vourderis said. “And then unfortunately the pandemic happened.” 

The call to build the ride anyway proved to be “the right decision,” Vourderis said, as the amusement park has been “extremely busy” since reopening on April 9. 

The family decided to name the ride for the hope it represents, a shining beacon of fun following a profoundly difficult time meant to herald the “roaring ’20s,” a park representative told Thrillist in an email. 

“It’s not about dollars and cents, it’s about smiles and lifting people up out of a pretty dark time,” Vourderis’ nephew, DJ Vourderis, told the Brooklyn Paper. “It is the reason why we named it the Phoenix.” 

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