Coney Island’s ‘Astroland’ co-founder Jerome Albert dies at 74 Jerome Albert, who developed and operated Coney Island amusement park Astroland with his father, Dewey, in the mid-1960s, died March 15 at 74 in New York.
Astroland, developed in the optimistic early days of space exploration and the 1963-64 New York World’s Fair, included rides such as the John Glenn Sky Ride, named after the first American to orbit the earth (it had blue space capsules), Astroland Rocket, which used film of space flight to simulate a trip to the moon, and Deep Sea Diving Bells, which were submerged into a water tank that held dolphins.
Charles Denson, director of the Coney Island History Project, described Astroland as “the salvation of Coney Island” in his 2011 book, Coney Island and Astroland. “Astroland became the anchor for Coney Island, the glue that held it together while many businesses gave up.”
The park, which charged no admission fee, also sponsored air shows, parachute-team jumps, concerts, and fireworks. The Alberts took over and then restored Coney Island’s Cyclone roller coaster, one of the all-time classic wooden roller coasters, which is now a New York City landmark. In 2006, Albert’s wife sold the property to a developer, but he failed, and Astroland was closed.
Albert was born in Brooklyn and graduated from New York University. He received the Mayor’s Humanitarian Award from Rudolph Giuliani for his charitable and community work.
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