The towering Wonder Wheel ride has been the symbol of Coney Island for over 90 years. This coming summer, Deno’s Wonder Wheel will step into the 21st Century with a new set of solar-powered lights!  The solar renovation will return the amusement ride to its glittering 1920s splendor.

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The Wonder Wheel’s high voltage lights that lined the steel frame of the ride were removed in 1981 by the wheel’s owner, Deno Vourderis, who feared the system could be dangerous to riders should it spark. The new system will place solar panels and 40 watt lightbulbs along each of the passenger cars. Each of the sixteen swinging cars will bear a solar panel, which will harvest the sun’s energy all day long, while the eight stationary cars will not receive panels.

At night, the Wonder Wheel will appear from afar just as it did to visitors in 1920, a glittering, illuminated wonder, amongst the other rides of the amusement park. The solar panel system will cost the Vourderis family $50,000, a giant savings compared to the cost that traditional electricity would set them back.

Installation on the wheel has already started, but it won’t be finished when it officially opens on April 1st. However, the solar power system should be done in time for Memorial Day, marking the unofficial start of the summer season.

Coney Island has been drastically changing in the last few years, to the disdain of local residents and Coney Island enthusiasts. But the Wonder Wheel’s new solar powered lighting system is a change in the right direction — showing that clean, green energy can even power the ultimate symbol of amusement.

+ Deno’s Wonder Wheel

Via Brooklyn Daily

lead image © TheDorkReport via Creative Commons