NEW YORK — It was a stormy start to the Memorial Day weekend.

This year, many events are returning at full capacity for the first time since the pandemic started. On Friday, CBS2’s Thalia Perez went to Coney Island, where people were celebrating the unofficial start to summer.

Gloomy, wet weather didn’t dampen spirits as visitors kicked off the holiday weekend on the boardwalk.


“We went and got the Nathan’s hot dog and I thought a Coney Dog was a chili cheese dog and I was wrong. It’s just a regular hot dog,” said Terrill Petersen of Seattle.

“There’s just so much in New York to do — touristy stuff, breweries,” Travis Petersen added.

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Mark Dagoumas said he’s excited to spend the entire weekend in Coney Island.

“We decided to come down and go to the museum tomorrow and a show tomorrow night and it’s nice to see some of the stuff that’s still here, historically,” he said.

Meanwhile, businesses along the boardwalk spent Friday prepping for the first Memorial Day weekend since the pandemic began without any restrictions in place. Maya Miller, who owns the Brooklyn Beach Shop, said she is eager to welcome back visitors and anxious to see the size of the crowds return to normal.

“This year, I can tell you, it has already started to be a very big season. So, considering the weather that we are having, I think it’s going to be huge,” Miller said.

Officials say two new exciting rides are also coming to Luna Park this summer, adding the park will be open seven days a week.

“It feels like you’re flying, like they spin you in circles and everything. It feels very nice. You feel the wind in your face,” said Andy Casquet of Sunset Park.

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Alessandro Zamperla, president and CEO of Central Amusement International, Inc., said it will be all hands on deck this holiday weekend.

“We know that this is the time when people are coming out going to enjoy themselves. The rides. The food. The entertainment. The music,” Zamperla said.

And there is something else to look forward to. New York City beaches will officially open on Saturday and that means the lifeguards will be on duty.