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Luna Park To Begin Removing Portion Of Astrotower Wednesday

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TWC News: Luna Park To Begin Removing Portion Of Astrotower Wednesday
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Luna Park officials said Wednesday that they would attempt to remove a portion of the iconic Astrotower to allow for reopening of other sections of the famed park for the Fourth of July holiday.

The city Office of Emergency Management said Wednesday that cranes and heavy equipment needed to be moved for the work to start, and that the goal was to get started on the removal Wednesday night.

It was unclear as of late Wednesday night how much of the tower will be removed.

Earlier Wednesday, Luna Park officials said the park owners were working on permits with the city Parks Department to take down the structure.

The amusement park was first evacuated around 5 p.m. Tuesday after calls came in about the 275-foot-tall tower.

Winds were only mild at the time, about 5 to 10 mph.

It is not unusual for the tower to move a bit, but the Buildings Department determined the amount of sway to be too much in low wind to be able to say for sure that it would not collapse.

The city said that contractors working for Luna Park removed elevator machinery late in the winter, and they said that has now increased the sway of the Astrotower, making it unsafe.

"Part of that work was to actually remove some of the structure from the elevator that the Astrotower was," said Buildings Department Commissioner Robert LiMandri. "When you do that, you decrease the weight at the top, and so therefore, you would get additional sway. At no time did any of those contractors or engineers identify that that would be a problem, and they went forward and did that."

The Astrotower was installed in 1964 but has not been in use since 2008.

It was essentially an elevator for 360-degree views of the nearby area.

As a result of the impending demolition, the Cyclone roller coaster and Wonder Wheel will remain closed, as well as part of the boardwalk and its businesses, until the area is deemed safe.

The closures are a potentially big setback heading into the holiday weekend.

The park was hit hard after Hurricane Sandy, and local business owners say they fear for their livelihoods.

"It is a big draw for the whole area," said Gordon Lee, a Coney Island business owner. "It brings a lot of business into the area, and it's important that Luna Park is open for the Coney Island area."

"Everybody lost their arcade games. Now, it comes down to this now," said Frank Scalabrino, an arcade worker. "We don't need nothing else. We've had enough bad luck."

"We've been having a bad season, and Luna Park being closed, that's the killer of all," said Cesar Rafael, a Coney Island business owner.

Scream Zone, B & B Carousel and Coney Island Raceway are open.

The annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest will not be affected. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP