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[i]It sometimes feels as if New York has been bidding farewell to old Coney Island for as long as there has been a Boardwalk. With almost every change, its raucous spirit is diminished. Yet then it somehow keeps staggering on.
But as death knells go, the removal this week of the Astroland Park rocket is right up there.
...the Astroland rocket -- a k a the Star Flyer, the Cape Canaveral Satellite Jet and/or the Astroland Moon Rocket -- a 71-foot, 12,000-pound aluminum tube that once seated 26 earthbound lunar explorers for a three-minute simulated blastoff.
"It has this iconic importance," said Charles Denson, executive director and co-founder of the [URL=http://www.coneyislandhistory.org/index.php]Coney Island History Project[/URL] and the author of "Coney Island: Lost and Found." "When Astroland opened in 1962, it represented this optimism. It was the beginning of the space race. There was a lot of excitement about space travel. The rocket was the first piece in Astroland and it set the tone for the space-age theme park."
...the New York City Economic Development Corporation confirmed the city's interest in the artifact in a statement on Friday, but did not go too much further: "Astroland's rocket ship is an important part of Coney's past and we hope that it will remain in Coney Island for generations to come. As for storing or moving the rocket, the city doesn't comment on ongoing negotiations."
For now, the rocket sits forlornly, its nose tilted toward the moon.[/i]
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