Coney Island tower may leave coaster closed July 4

July 3, 2013 • Entertainment

Visitors stand outside a locked entry to Coney Island amusement park in an area near the Astrotower, center, on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 in New York. The park remains closed while workers examine the condition of the 275-foot-tall observation Astrotower. The park was evacuated on Tuesday after the fire department received a call that the tower was swaying. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s New York City’s version of American as apple pie: hot dogs, a heart-racing turn on the Cyclone or a scenic spin on the Wonder Wheel at Coney Island’s historic amusement park on July Fourth.

But this year, an aging, swaying observation tower appears poised to scuttle the summer ritual, putting visitors’ plans and merchants’ hopes on a roller coaster ride of their own.

After concerns about the 275-foot-tall Astrotower abruptly shuttered the park Tuesday evening, the roller coaster, Ferris wheel and some other attractions remained idled Wednesday. The park’s managers said they planned to remove part of the needlelike structure, making it unlikely the amusements could reopen Thursday.

“We’re going to do everything we can to keep this park open,” Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri said, but authorities said they needed to keep a chunk of it closed and even rope off part of Coney Island’s famous boardwalk until they could be sure there was no danger.

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