Okay, so, yesterday was the thirtieth annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade.
I had the honor of going to Coney Island to assist with the inflation and deflation of two large balloons that were featured in the parade. Plus, I got to ride the Cyclone!
We arrived in Brooklyn at about 9:30am, which was great, as there wasn't a huge amount of traffic. The parade staff had a space set up for us on 21st Street with several helium tanks, and the NYPD even put up barriers for us!
Unfortunately, that didn't stop the media (and some Mexicans) from walking through and taking photos. I mean, I took photos as well, but my mom and I (who was also there assisting) were actually allowed to be in that barricaded area.
The parade kicked off at 2:00pm. I was able to catch the Goldfish as it went around the corner of Surf Avenue and 21st Street...
...but after that, I had to roll up our tarp and get my sorry ginger butt down to 15th Street, which was the deflation point for the serpent.
After charging through the WORST crowds in the world, I met up with the serpent and its handlers and we got it deflated posthaste. The handlers packed it up and carried it back to the start point at 21st, while I had to go five more blocks down to the judges' table in front of the Cyclone, because the Goldfish was too tall to fit under some power lines at the entrance to the boardwalk.
Thankfully, one of the higher parade staff members escorted me on the parade route to my destination, successfully photo bombing every photo that was taken from the city side of the boardwalk. Because the Goldfish had stopped early, the handlers had already begun to deflate it rendering me completely useless.
Most of the handlers then left, leaving two staff members, my mom, and myself to carry the heavy balloon all the way back to 21st Street through the crowds again. We eventually found a cart, but it would be a while before it would be able to get back to 21st. So, I decided that I should go ride the Cyclone while I had some down time.
Now, I understand that the Cyclone could be considered the grandfather of the roller coaster. I understand that they want to preserve its heritage, as evidenced by the use of a manual station braking system and the general condition of the station. However, I absolutely hate the load/unload procedure! You have a huge cluster of people lined up along the yellow line, and when the train arrives and stops, it's essentially a feeding frenzy to get in the cars! I'm not saying that they should have air gates or anything like that, but they should at least have bars or railings to separate the rows.
As for the ride itself - I don't hate it. I absolutely love the layout. However, the track seems to be in unsafe condition. The hills were really jerky, and the high turns on either side of the layout slammed you into the seat or the person next to you. When I got into the train, I wondered why it was so cramped and why there was so much padding; but after I rode I realized why. I know that Great Coasters has come in and re-profiled the first drop and transition into the first turn, and I'm looking forward to coming back and riding it when the re-profiling is finished, because I came off with a massive headache.
After riding the Cyclone, I attempted to make my way back to the cart. The whole situation was absolutely horrifying that involved a Mexican woman threatening to kick me in that place I'm not allowed to talk about, drinking water from an open fire hydrant, and almost getting lost. But the short story is - the cart left without me and I had to get back to 21st fast enough before the police dropped the barricades and told Bill and my mom to move our van. I made it back in time, and we got everything packed up. We didn't get out until 8PM due to nasty traffic.
Some thoughts -
- The Cyclone is the worst coaster I've ever ridden, but it's not my least favorite. Like I said, I love the layout.
- The crowds during the parade, and especially afterward, are the worst crowds I have ever had the displeasure of trying to go through.
- Incompetent "security" guards won't let you behind the scenes even though you have a "Staff" shirt as well as credentials.
- The Mermaid parade is neat, but it seems like it's an unorganized mess.
- I'm totally willing to go back and inflate/deflate balloons, but I'm certainly not going to try and do ANYTHING else next time.
- The "Cyclone" sign above the ticket booth uses the Gadzoox (TPR logo) font! How cool is that?!?
Thanks for reading!