Bathrooms on the boardwalk were free too. I actually didn't mind Coney island last year. Yeah the cyclone beat the crap out of me, but it's still a classic so it was worth it. Yeah there are some skeevy areas of coney island, but you can tell they are working on improving the area.
I have to admit that I enjoyed my time hanging around Coney island on my recent vacation. A lot of seaside parks are pretty seedy in my opinion, anyone who has spent a weekend evening in Blackpool will know where I'm coming from. I only did the cyclone as most of the rides there didn't interest me but I liked the history, every the subway station was pretty cool. I was also a bit fascinated by Brighton beach a short walk away with it's 'biggest Russian community outside Russia' vibe, very interesting!
Coney island certainly isn't a destination to go out of your way to visit but if in NYC it's well worth the subway trip.
NEW YORK (AP) — The ride begins with two train cars, filled with as many as 24 passengers, cautiously trekking up a hill of wooden tracks. The rattle of the ascent slowly grows louder. As the cars reach the coaster's 85-foot peak, there's a short pause — followed by a swift 60 mph plunge to the bottom that has made stomachs churn and eyes water since Calvin Coolidge was in the White House.
Such a timeworn ride requires a great deal of attention to ensure the safety of its passengers, say workers responsible for the Cyclone, the 85-year-old New York City landmark and international amusement icon that will be feted Saturday with a birthday party including 25-cent rides — the same price they were on its debut on June 26, 1927.
"It takes a lot of work to run a very old roller coaster," said Valerio Ferrari, president of Central Amusement International, which operates the coaster.
Each morning beginning at 7, maintenance workers hike the coaster's tracks along the walk boards in search of damaged wood and loose bolts. The cars, which are originals from 1927, are dismantled every winter before they undergo nondestructive testing and are reassembled.
The Cyclone may not be the oldest or tallest coaster in the nation. But it became a worldwide symbol of America's emerging leisure class in the early 20th century.
Towering above Coney Island's boisterous boardwalk at the corner of Surf Avenue and West 10th Street in Brooklyn, the Cyclone went up after brothers Jack and Irving Rosenthal invested $175,000 to build a dynamic new coaster that would satisfy the demand for more attractions in the area.
The result was a ride that included 2,640 feet of track, 12 drops and 27 elevation changes. For a minute and 50 seconds, passengers aboard the Cyclone were jerked from one edge of their seat to the other, as the coaster would slow around the bends before heaving its riders down steep dips.
This was all done by design, said Jennifer Tortorici, the Cyclone's operations manager.
"It's 2,640 feet of track, so if it wasn't slow in certain areas, the cars would wind up on the beach somewhere," she said.
Still, the turbulence is sometimes so forceful that passengers have seen personal belongings fly out of their pockets. Lost items range from the typical — keys, wallets and cellphones — to the more obscure, like dentures, wigs and underwear, Tortorici said.
Safety issues have at times dogged the Cyclone. A worker died on the ride in 1985, Tortorici said, and in 2008, the family of a California man who died after fracturing his neck on the ride sued the city for failing to keep the coaster safe. A Law Department spokeswoman said the city has been indemnified and the case is pending.
The city's Buildings Department conducts safety inspections up to three times a season, according to spokeswoman Ryan FitzGibbon.
Beyond its age, what distinguishes the Cyclone from contemporary steel coasters is that it's made of wood, from the cars to the tracks they ride on, though it rests on a steel base. Ferrari said this construction makes for a ride that has "a lot of energy."
"Wood has that feeling, that vibration. It's more alive," he said.
He added: "Going for one ride on this coaster is like going through, someone said, a car accident."
The sentiment has been shared throughout the years. The coaster's employees have no qualms about perpetuating a legend that in 1948, Emilio Franco, a West Virginia coal miner who had been mute since birth, spoke his first words — "I feel sick" — after plummeting down the Cyclone's precipitous 60-degree drop.
Even Charles Lindbergh, the American aviator who became the first person to fly a nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, said several years after it opened that riding the Cyclone was "greater than flying an airplane at top speed," according to The New York Times.
These days, the Cyclone's paint has chipped, and the steel beams have rusted a bit. But patrons still enjoy the same rush.
"You can describe it in just one word: intense," said Laurie Rosen, of Burke, Va., who rode it Tuesday.
The Cyclone, also known as the Big Momma of Coney Island, carries about 250,000 riders every season from April through October.
By 1988, the city declared the coaster an official landmark, and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.
According to the Parks Department, the Gravesend Historical Society's president wrote in a letter requesting the landmark status: "Unlike the Dodgers, the Cyclone will never leave Brooklyn."
If You Go...
CYCLONE: The wooden roller coaster is located at Surf Avenue and West 10th Street in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Take the F or Q train to the West 8th Street-New York Aquarium stop. Rides, $8. (Rides 25 cents for June 30 celebration of the coaster's 85th birthday.) Parking in the New York Aquarium lot, $13.
So I got in a few rides on Cyclone last night, and it was playing nice for me this time! Front, back and near-back were all much better than last year. Sure, it's rough, but there was only one extreme thigh jolt in the back this time (and some lesser ones), and overall I just didn't suffer as much. It didn't feel sluggish anymore, either, but maybe that was just the nighttime effect.
There isn’t enough room in Coney Island for two big wheels, the owners of the landmarked Deno’s Wonder Wheel said this week as they lashed out against some thrill seekers’ plans to bring a new 600-foot observation disk to the People’s Playground.
Both Borough President Markowitz and Dick Zigun, the unofficial mayor of Coney Island say the observation wheel currently planned for Staten Island would be a fine addition to the amusement area, but operators of the 150-feet Wonder Wheel say the 92-year-old ride featured in the movie “The Warriors,” is and always should be a Coney Island original.
“Modern amusement parks may have several roller coasters, but there’s room for one wheel,” a ride spokeswoman said. “Why would anyone want to build another?”
Staten Island’s proposed wheel would rival the London Eye and become the tallest observation ride in the world if the city decides to cash in on the Rock’s view of the Manhattan skyline and go ahead with its construction.
But Coney Island boosters argued that the move that would steal the People’s Playground’s spotlight and pit the outer boroughs in a wheel war.
“The city needs to stay focused on rebuilding Coney into a first-class major tourist destination,” said Zigun. “It shouldn’t encourage competition with Coney within the five boroughs.”
But if such a competition took place, Brooklyn would cream Staten Island, crowed the borough’s biggest booster.
“The city should consider what location will provide the biggest bang for the buck, and the strongest economic return, and no doubt that place is Coney Island,” Borough President Markowitz said.
Zigun added that if the observation wheel was put in Coney Island, it would stand a respectful distance away from the Wonder Wheel to avoid a revolving rivalry that would challenge the historic rides uninterrupted reign.
Yet there may not be any competition at all: Observation wheels are quite different than traditional Ferris wheels.
Instead of sitting in swaying, open-air carriages, observation wheel riders sit in fixed, bus-sized capsules that can carry more than 20 people, according to manufacturer.
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
New York already has the Empire State Building, Top Of The Rock, Statue of Liberty, and when finished, the Freedom Tower. Why they would need to spend millions of dollars to put an observation wheel in Staten Island is beyond me.
beatle11 wrote:New York already has the Empire State Building, Top Of The Rock, Statue of Liberty, and when finished, the Freedom Tower. Why they would need to spend millions of dollars to put an observation wheel in Staten Island is beyond me.
Because millions of visitors take the Staten Island Ferry each year, only to turn right back around because there is nothing of interest within waking distance on Staten Island. Also, none of the attractions you mention give tourists a view of lower Manhattan and Statue of Liberty from that point of view.
NYCEDC today announced the release of an RFP seeking the development and operation of amusement rides, game booths or other entertainment attractions at a vacant site located along W15th Street, between the boardwalk and Surf Avenue, in Coney Island. The site, which is approximately 45 feet wide by 860 feet long, is located in the heart of Coney Island’s amusement core and sits directly between the newly expanded Scream Zone and the under construction Steeplechase Plaza. NYCEDC anticipates leasing the site for a term of 10 years, although proposals may suggest other terms.
“The activation of the West 15th Street site will further expand the amusement core, and build on the ongoing revitalization taking place in Coney Island,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. “Located directly between the new Scream Zone and the future Steeplechase Plaza, this site will provide another destination for the record number of visitors we have seen coming back to Coney Island each season in recent years.”
“As former home to the famed Thunderbolt roller coaster, the West 15th Street site has had its ‘ups and downs’ over its storied history, but its redevelopment will mean even more places to see and more things to do at Coney Island—‘America’s Favorite Playground’ and the amusement destination that started it all,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “I challenge the respondents to this RFP to think ‘Coney character’ and ‘Brooklyn big’ and bring unforgettable, affordable fun to visitors of all ages and income as we lead Coney Island into its bright future.”
“The launch of this site will further propel Coney Island as New York’s premiere tourist destination,” said Councilman to Coney Island and Finance Chair Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. “The West 15th site is located right in the heart of one of the greatest redevelopments this City has experienced and I am looking forward to seeing another wonderful project established there.”
The activation of the W15th Street site would further expand the Coney Island’s amusement core, which has seen a major revitalization over the past three years with the opening of Scream Zone and Luna Park. The opening of these parks have helped draw record crowds back to Coney Island and were a key piece of the area-wide revitalization laid out in the City’s 2009 rezoning plan.
To obtain a copy of the RFP, please visit: www.nycedc.com/rfp. Responses are due no later than October 23, 2012.
Scream Zone opened in 2011 with four cutting-edge thrill rides, and expanded this year with the addition of a go-cart track and the Boardwalk Flight. Luna Park opened in 2010 and features 19 traditional and state-of-the-art rides.
Last summer, 2011, was one of the most successful summer seasons on record for Coney Island, with over 640,000 visitors taking over 2 million rides at Luna Park and Scream Zone combined.
In 2009, the City purchased three parcels of land, totaling 6.9 acres, within the amusement district, and signed a 10-year lease with Central Amusements International to operate and build the new amusement parks on the property. The City has invested more than $6.6 million to support the opening of Luna Park and Scream Zone. In addition, CAI has invested nearly $30 million toward the construction of the two parks.
Over the past year the City has also seen significant progress on a number of key components of the Coney Island Revitalization Plan, including groundbreakings for Steeplechase Plaza, and for Coney Island Commons. Steeplechase Plaza, a 2.2-acre public open space, will serve as the western entryway to the revitalized amusement district and will be home to the restored B&B Carousell, Coney Island’s last remaining historic carousel. Coney Island Commons will include 195 units of affordable housing and a new state-of-the-art 40,000 square foot YMCA.
The City’s Coney Island Revitalization Plan will preserve and grow the historic amusement area; create a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood with new retail options and nearly 5,000 new units of housing, including 900 income-targeted units; and generate more than 25,000 construction jobs and 6,000 permanent jobs. As part of the plan, the City is investing more than $150 million toward infrastructure improvements in Coney Island, including upgrading infrastructure and rebuilding large sections of the Boardwalk. Last year, New York City Economic Development Corporation in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Protection, completed an Amended Drainage Plan to guide upgrades to subsurface infrastructure throughout the entire rezoning area, the first phase of which will break ground by the end of the year. In total, the plan is expected to generate more than $14 billion in economic activity for New York City over 30 years.
Interesting news out of Brooklyn. RFPs are being accepted for amusements/rides on the former site of the Thunderbolt. I would love to see a GCI on that plot.
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