Must-See Coney Island
by nycgo.com staff, 05/14/2014
Photo: Jen Davis
Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park
3059 Denos D. Vourderis Place (formerly W. 12th St.), 718-372-2592
When Constantinos Dionysios Vourderis—otherwise known as Deno—bought the Wonder Wheel in the early 1980s, he fulfilled a longtime promise to his wife: he'd vowed on more than one occasion to purchase the Ferris wheel for her as a wedding present (an oversize ring, if you will) so that everyone could see how much he loved her. And what a gift it was—the Wonder Wheel has actually stood next to the boardwalk even longer than the Cyclone, having been built way back in 1920. Riders have two options: the swinging red and blue cars, which appeal to the more adventurous, and the stationary white ones, for those who just want to enjoy the view. Deno has passed away, but the Vourderis family continues to run the 400,000-pound landmark and its attendant park, which boasts 17 kiddie rides and four (including the Wonder Wheel itself) for adults. Dennis, Deno's son, has worked at the park since he was 9 and is already passing on the family business to his own kids. "My brother and I have our sons working here now," he told us in the shadow of the ride that gives the park its name. "Third generation." As for surprises at his venerable attraction, Deno has one tip that may prove especially valuable for visitors hanging out at the boardwalk, especially if they're staying hydrated on a hot day: it only costs a quarter to use the restroom at the Wonder Wheel.