Top portion of Astrotower removed; some classic rides closed but hot-dog contest to go on

Posted at 10:23 AM, Jul 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-04 10:27:05-04

The top portion of the iconic Astrotower has been dismantled after hours of work 275 feet above Coney Island.

Sparks lit up the Coney Island sky as welders gradually removed the round red top of the tower. It was unclear how much of the tower would ultimately get chopped.

Luna Park, home of the Astrotower, remains closed as the work to take down more of the tower continues. The tower was engineered to sway somewhat during wind, but the swaying in recent days had reached the point that it was considered a danger.

On Coney Island’s biggest day, such signature rides as the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel remain closed as the 1964 tower gets chopped. A portion of the boardwalk is also closed, but the Nathan’s Famous hot-dog eating contest will go on as planned.

Astrotower was once the signature feature of the space-age Astroland Park, which operated from 1962 to 2008. The Astrotower, which contained an observation car atop, was last used in 2007. The car was removed in recent years, and the absence of its weight may have contributed to the recent swaying.