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Couple gets engaged, Cyclone-tattooed fan among first riders as Luna Park opens for 121st season

He threw her for a loop!

A thrill-seeking romeo proposed to his girlfriend getting off the Cyclone as roller coaster enthusiasts gathered at Coney Island’s Luna Park for the ceremonial opening of the season on Sunday.

“I knew she always wanted to be proposed to on the Cyclone, but my anxiety wouldn’t let me take out a ring on the ride,” Ben Schleider said shortly after officials smashed a Brooklyn egg cream on the 97-year-old coaster — a traditional annual “Christening” of the classic ride.

“I felt this was the next best thing,” he added. “A couple of years ago, we came with our families, our families met here. It’s one of her favorite things, so it’s special.”

The 32-year old, who works in sports management, teared up as he popped the question to Dena Greenbaum with her grandmother’s cherished diamond ring. She called it “a dream come true” as family gathered and photographers snapped pictures.

Coney Island’s Luna Park opened for the season on Saturday. Stephen Yang
Coney Island’s Luna Park opened for the season on Saturday. Stephen Yang

Other riders getting their first spin of the season included Eric Knapp, who called himself “Mr. Cyclone” and said he had been to every opening day since 1973.

“Since 2003 I’ve been the first one in line. I wait in line all night,” Knapp, who even has a tattoo of the ride on his arm, told The Post.

“Don’t lose that inner child. Enjoy yourself, and enjoy life,” he added. “Life is too short to be worried about finances, this and that. Get yourself down to the beach, walk in the sand, let your feet touch the water. Go on a ride.”

Eric Knapp, aka Mr. Cyclone, has been first on the cyclone for years. Stephen Yang
Eric Knapp, aka Mr. Cyclone, has been first on the cyclone for years. Stephen Yang

He wasn’t the only Cyclone fanatic to make their way down to Coney Island this weekend.

Other adrenaline junkies and tourists simply came to the park for a good time — but left feeling like a kid again.

Herve Buirette, 64, a sound engineer visiting from Paris, France with his wife, said he felt “12-years old” again with the excitement of being in the amusement park.

“I know it from the movies, from the songs, from many things. It’s iconic, it’s a historic monument,” he said. “It’s part of the dream to do it this morning. We didn’t know it was the opening. We are here by accident. I’m 12-years old today.”

Ben Schleider proposed to his girlfriend of two years Dena Greenbaum at the Cyclone on Sunday. Stephen Yang
Ben Schleider proposed to his girlfriend of two years Dena Greenbaum at the Cyclone on Sunday. Stephen Yang
Schleider said he knew she wanted him to propose on the ride, but waited until they were on the ground to pop the question. Stephen Yang
Schleider said he knew she wanted him to propose on the ride, but waited until they were on the ground to pop the question. Stephen Yang
Schleider proposed to Greenbaum using her grandmother’s diamond ring. Stephen Yang
Schleider proposed to Greenbaum using her grandmother’s diamond ring. Stephen Yang
Park attendees took off on the coaster’s first ride of 2024 Sunday morning. Stephen Yang
Park attendees took off on the coaster’s first ride of 2024 Sunday morning. Stephen Yang

The park was set to open Saturday for its 121st season but torrential downpours and “washout” weather pushed it back a day where fans lined up to kick off the new season under blue skies and sun.

“Opening day, 2024, here we are, huge positive energy,” said Alessandro Zamperla, the CEO of Luna Park owner’s Central Amusement International Inc.

“We have the sunshine, the blue sky, and the support of the community,” he told The Post. “We start with the tradition of the Coney Island Christening, that we just performed, an amazing Brooklyn tradition, the egg cream.”

This year, visitors to the park will see a new attraction called Electric Eden Raceway, which is a go-kart raceway teeming with bright LED lights and a video mapping system, Zamperla said.

Less risky park-goers may find similar delight in the addition of new retail locations, new arcade games and new concession stands, Zamperla said.

But on opening day, it remains all about the Cyclone.

The park has added several new stores, arcade games and conession stands. Stephen Yang
The park has added several new stores, arcade games and conession stands. Stephen Yang

“The Cyclone is iconic, I always say, you come once to New York, you got to experience the Cyclone, the most iconic roller coaster in the world,” Zamperla said. “It’s a huge honor to be the steward, and every year it gets faster, it gets better with age. We are very excited to open the 97th season of the Cyclone.”

The first group to ride the iconic coaster were people who worked on the Cyclone and their friends. Then regular parkgoers were able to ride.

Admission to the beloved New York attraction is free, with rides starting at $4.