Coney Island Cyclone
Coney Island Cyclone
|Opening date||June 26, 1927|
|Manufacturer||Harry C. Baker|
|Track layout||Compact Twister|
|Height||85 ft (26 m)|
|Drop||85 ft (26 m)|
|Length||2,650 ft (810 m)|
|Speed||60 mph (97 km/h)|
|Max vertical angle||58.6°|
|Capacity||1440 riders per hour|
|Height restriction||54 in (137 cm)|
|Cyclone at RCDB
Pictures of Cyclone at RCDB
Cyclone Roller Coaster
|Location||Brooklyn, New York|
|Architect||Keenan,Vernon; Baker,Harry C.|
|NRHP Reference #||91000907|
|Added to NRHP||June 25, 1991|
The Coney Island Cyclone (better known as simply the Cyclone) is a historic wooden roller coaster, that opened on June 26, 1927 in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, New York City. On June 18, 1975, Dewey and Jerome Albert, owners of Astroland Park, contracted to operate it under an agreement with New York City. It was completely rehabilitated and opened to enthusiastic crowds on July 1, 1975. Since that time, Astroland Park and the Albert family has invested millions of dollars in the upkeep of the Cyclone. After Astroland closed in 2008, Carol Hill Albert, president of Cyclone Coasters, continued to operate it under a lease agreement with the city. In 2011, Luna Park took over operation of the Cyclone. It was declared a New York City landmark on July 12, 1988, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 26, 1991.
The success of 1925's Thunderbolt and 1926's Tornado led Jack and Irving Rosenthal to buy land at the intersection of Surf Avenue and West 10th Street for a coaster of their own. With a $100,000 investment, they hired leading coaster designer Vernon Keenan to design a new coaster. Harry C. Baker supervised the construction, which was done by area companies including National Bridge Company (which supplied the steel) and Cross, Austin, & Ireland (which supplied the lumber). The Cyclone was built on the site of America's first roller coaster, known as Switchback Railway (which opened on January 16, 1884). Its final cost has been reported to be around $146,000 to $175,000. When it opened on June 26, 1927, a ride cost only twenty-five cents, about $3.50 when adjusted for inflation in 2012 compared to the actual $9 per ride for the 2013 Season.
In 1935, the Rosenthals took over management of Palisades Park. The Cyclone was put under the supervision of Christopher Feucht, a Coney Island veteran who had built a ride called Drop the Dips in 1907, and then doing minor retracking work on it. It continued to be extremely popular; one of its many stories is from 1948, when a coal miner with aphonia visited Coney Island. According to legend, he had not spoken in years but screamed while going down the Cyclone's first drop, saying "I feel sick" as his train returned to the station. He prompty fainted after realizing he had just spoken.
On August 23, 1988, a 26-year-old man was killed after falling from the Cyclone. The man was a maintenance worker and was the only passenger at the time, riding in the back seat of the train during his lunch break. Apparently, he eluded the safety bar and was seen standing up as the train began its descent down the first hill. He fell 30 feet and landed on a crossbeam of a lower section of track. He was killed instantly. The ride was closed following the incident, but was reopened a day later after safety inspectors concluded that the ride was safe.
On May 26, 1985, a 29-year-old man was killed while riding the Cyclone. He stood up and struck his head on a crossbeam.
By the 1960s, attendance at Coney Island had declined. The crowds were getting more rowdy each season. In 1967 NYC decided that an extension to the New York Aquarium and its wholesome family and educational agenda would be a better use of the Cyclone property. The city started procedures to claim the property by eminent domain. The then owners, East Coaster Corporation, tried to fight the city but lost. During this time they did minimal long-term maintenance, and only enough to keep the ride operating safely. Their last court battle was the compensation for the ride. At one point they measured every beam, girder, and component of the ride to show the cost of materials was higher than the city's proposed compensation.
In 1971, the Cyclone was bought by the City of New York for one million dollars. It was operated under contract by East Coaster Corporation while the city worked with the NY Aquarium on plans to redevelop the site. There was a lack of long-term maintenance by the city. In 1972, when the plans to expand the New York Aquarium (which is located adjacent to the ride) were publicly announced, people reacted to the proposed demise of the last Coney Island wooden roller coaster. A successful "Save the Cyclone" campaign ensued and the city changed its plans. The city now owned the Cyclone and leased the operation of the ride in a sealed bid. Astroland amusement park won the bid for $57,000 per year. During the 1974 off-season Astroland's owners had the Cyclone refurbished, and it reopened on July 3, 1975.
In 1978, it was featured in the film version of The Wiz as the home of its version of the Tinman, and its size compared with the rest of Oz raised to enormous proportions. In the 1980s, events such as the Mermaid Parade and Sideshows by the Seashore brought visitors back to Coney Island and the Cyclone. Despite the closing of Astroland Park on September 7, 2008, the Cyclone will remain in operation due to its status as a New York City landmark. The ride (75 feet along 834 Surf Avenue and 500 feet (150 m) along West 10th Street, ) is now owned completely by the Parks Department. The former concession stands, built into the structure of the roller coaster, are formerly home to the Coney Island History Project, which was moved to a space near the Wonder Wheel, and a still remaining souvenir stand selling Cyclone based shirts, hats, and on-ride photos.
In 1977, Richard Rodriguez set a marathon record of 104 hours. Rodriguez was only 19 years old when he broke the record. Currently, as of June 2013, he holds the record for the longest marathon on a roller coaster with 401 hours on the Pepsi Max Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in the United Kingdom.
The Cyclone's 70th birthday was celebrated in 1997 with a tightrope walk by Tino Wallenda between the ride's two highest points; that year, a single ride cost four dollars. The track today is 2,650 feet (810 m) long (including six fan turns and nine drops) and a 85-foot (26 m) drop at its highest point; the first drop is at a 58.1 degree angle. Each of the three trains is made up of three eight-person cars, but only one train can run at a time. The ride's top speed is 60 miles per hour and it takes about one minute and fifty seconds. As of June 28, 2008, the current cost was eight dollars with a five dollar "reride" option. The "re-ride" option also gives riders the ability to choose their seats. In addition, a souvenir booth located near the exit sells photos of passengers taken at the first drop. In 2011 the adjacent Luna Park had taken over management of the Cyclone, and as of 2012 it currently costs $8 to ride and the "reride" policy has been eliminated. Luna Park in 2012 started a major refurbishment of The Cyclone, which is planned to take five years and take place during the off season, allowing for regular season operation. The refurbishment is under control by Great Coasters International. It is an ACE Coaster Classic and Coaster Landmark; it has also been honored by baseball's Brooklyn Cyclones as the source for their team name.
In the movie The Sting II, with Jackie Gleason, a chase scene is used on the loading dock and ride of what appears to be the Cyclone. However, the scene was actually filmed on the Santa Cruz roller coaster, the Giant Dipper. Production had the trains and dock made over to appear identical to the Cyclone.
The Cyclone made an appearance in the video game Grand Theft Auto IV, but called the Screamer.
Beyoncé Knowles shot portion of a music video for the song Xo on the roller coaster in August 2013.
The Parachute Band also featured an image of the Cyclone on their debut album Losing Sleep. Information courtesy of Claudia Sparrow.
|Golden Ticket Awards: Top wood Roller Coasters|
|Mitch Hawker's Best Roller Coaster Poll: Best Wooden-Tracked Roller Coaster|
The popularity of the Cyclone has inspired several replica coasters that share a similar (though not exact) layout (or a mirror version of it). Until 2005, there were four replicas of the Cyclone at Six Flags parks. Two of these have been demolished: the Psyclone at Six Flags Magic Mountain and the Texas Cyclone at Six Flags Astroworld. Two replicas still run, however,: the Georgia Cyclone at Six Flags Over Georgia and the Viper at Six Flags Great America, both of which are mirror replicas. Overseas, replicas of Cyclone include the Bandit at Movie Park Germany, the White Canyon at Yomiuriland (located in Japan), and the Aska at Nara Dreamland (demolished in 2006), which was also in Japan.
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- ACE Coaster Classic Awards
- ACE Coaster Landmark Awards
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Coney Island Cyclone.|
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