Coney Island’s world-famous roller coaster is getting some super-steep competition.
The city’s Economic Development Corp. is bringing a sleek new version of the old Thunderbolt roller coaster back to Coney Island next summer – one that’s faster, taller and smoother than the legendary, wooden Cyclone a few blocks down the boardwalk.
Unlike the original Thunderbolt on the same site — which was immortalized in Woody Allen’s 1977 film “Annie Hall” and then torn down in 2000 to make way for the Mets’ minor-league Brooklyn Cyclones — the new coaster will include thrilling, backward loops, corkscrew turns and a stomach-churning 125-foot drop.
It will also hit speeds of 65 mph — the fastest of any coaster in the city’s history, surpassing the Cyclone’s 60-mph maximum.
“There’s nothing like it in Coney Island right now, and people are going to love it,” boasted Valerio Ferrari, president of Zamperla USA, which will build and operate the $10 million ride.
It’ll be the first custom-made coaster for Coney Island since the Cyclone opened in 1927. The coaster will feature three cars that can each carry up to nine passengers.
Ferrari called the new Thunderbolt “a perfect complement to the Cyclone,” saying it can help bring Coney Island back to being one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
It’ll be built of more than 2,000 feet of steel track on a long, but narrow acre of city-owned land at West 15th Street between Surf Avenue and the boardwalk.
The site is part of a larger, long-vacant lot that once housed the original Thunderbolt and other amusements. The family of Kansas Fried Chicken king Horace Bullard, who passed away in April, owns the rest of the old Thunderbolt property.
Kyle Kimball, the EDC’s executive director, said the Thunderbolt’s rebirth coupled with the recent reopening of the beaches, boardwalk and other new amusements shows that “Coney Island is once again demonstrating its incredible resilience” even while “still recovering” from Superstorm Sandy.
Only two weeks ago, Mayor Bloomberg unveiled a long-anticipated piece of his Coney Island makeover plan just next door to the Thunderbolt site: the new Steeplechase Plaza, which showcases the landmarked Parachute Jump and a restored, century-old carousel.
The original wooden Thunderbolt opened in 1925 and was in operation until 1982. It was built atop a 19th-century home, originally known as the Kensington Hotel. In “Annie Hall,” the house under the coaster was the childhood home of lead character Alvy Singer. It was occupied until the mid-1980s and torn down in 2000.
Despite calls for the Thunderbolt to be landmarked, it was razed without Bullard’s consent in 2000 on orders from then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who saw it as an eyesore for fans at the minor-league ballpark.
Looks like a Maurer to me, but I wouldn't put Gerstlauer out of the question either.
EDIT: Whoops! That's what I get for not reading the article.
Last edited by Myself on Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:15 pm.
Zamperla's take on a Euro-Fighter I guess? It looks alright but the layout looks like it would have been better if it were built 10 years ago. It's good that the Coney Island parks are building another marketable coaster though.
I personally think it would be a good thing for the little park. It will be their first custom coaster so that is exciting to me.
I may not know everything about coasters... what I do know is they are my life... Home park: Six Flags America Favorite park overall: All Walt Disney World Parks Favorite Steels: Maverick, Millennium Force, Sky Rush, Talon, Poltergeist, I-305 Favorite Woodies: Iron Rattler, Phoenix, Roar, El Toro, Jack Rabbit, Thunderbolt, The Raven, The Legend TPR Trips: Northeast 2011, LeviaTHON 2012
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