Coney Island Cyclone

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Coney Island Cyclone
Cyclone Roller Coaster (Coney Island, New York) 001.jpg
Coney Island Cyclone (2013)
Coney Island
Coordinates40°34′30″N 73°58′44″W / 40.57500°N 73.97889°W / 40.57500; -73.97889
StatusOperating
Opening dateJune 26, 1927
Cost$175,000
ReplacedGiant Racer
General statistics
DesignerVernon Keenan
Track layoutCompact Twister
Lift/launch systemChain-lift
Height85 ft (26 m)
Length2,640 ft (800 m)
Speed60 mph (97 km/h)
Inversions0
Duration2:30
Max vertical angle58.6°
Capacity1440 riders per hour
G-force3.75
Height restriction54 in (137 cm)
Coney Island Cyclone at RCDB
Pictures of Coney Island Cyclone at RCDB
Cyclone Roller Coaster
Coney Island Cyclone is located in New York City
Coney Island Cyclone
Coney Island Cyclone is located in New York
Coney Island Cyclone
Coney Island Cyclone is located in the US
Coney Island Cyclone
LocationBrooklyn, New York
Coordinates40°34′30″N 73°58′44″W / 40.57500°N 73.97889°W / 40.57500; -73.97889Coordinates: 40°34′30″N 73°58′44″W / 40.57500°N 73.97889°W / 40.57500; -73.97889
Built1927
ArchitectKeenan, Vernon; Baker, Harry C.
NRHP reference #91000907[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJune 25, 1991
Designated NYCLJune 12, 1988

The Coney Island Cyclone (better known as simply the Cyclone) is a historic wooden roller coaster in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, New York City. It opened on June 26, 1927, and was originally part of the Astroland theme park. The Cyclone is now part of Luna Park. The coaster 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 Cyclone operated for more than four decades before it started to deteriorate. By the early 1970s, the city planned to scrap the ride. However, on June 18, 1975, Dewey and Jerome Albert, owners of Astroland, entered into an agreement with New York City to operate the ride. The roller coaster was refurbished in the 1974 off-season and reopened on July 3, 1975. Astroland Park continued to invest millions over the years 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.

Description[edit]

The Cyclone sits at the corner of Surf Avenue and West 10th Street. The track is 2,640 feet (800 m) long (including six fan turns and twelve drops) and the lift hill is 85-foot (26 m) tall at its highest point; the first drop is at a 58.1 degree angle. It has three trains of three eight-person cars; one train can run at a time. The ride's top speed is 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) and it takes about one minute and fifty seconds.

From 2012 to 2015, the original Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster track was removed and replaced by track manufactured by the company Great Coasters International.

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

"1927 the cyclone takes its first ride" on New York Aquarium

The success of 1925's Thunderbolt coaster and 1926's Tornado led Irving and Jack 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). Its final cost has been reported to be around $146,000 to $175,000. When it opened on June 26, 1927, a ride cost 25 cents, equal to $3.52 today.[2]; today a ride costs $10.

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 Dip in 1907, and then doing minor retracking work on it. It continued to be extremely popular. One story has it that a coal miner with aphonia who visited Coney Island in 1948 had not spoken in years before the visit, but screamed while going down the Cyclone's first drop and said "I feel sick" as his train returned to the station. He promptly fainted after realizing he had just spoken.[3]

Area decline[edit]

By the 1960s, attendance at Coney Island had declined. The crowds were getting more rowdy each season. In 1967, New York City 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, fought 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 for the compensation for the ride. At one point they measured every beam, girder, and component of the ride to show that the cost of materials was higher than the city's proposed compensation. In 1969, when the Cyclone was bought by the City of New York for $1 million.[4]

The Cyclone was then operated under contract by East Coaster Corporation while the city worked with the adjacent New York Aquarium on plans to redevelop the site. There was a lack of long-term maintenance by the city, and the coaster soon received 101 safety violations.[4] In 1972, when the plans to expand the Aquarium were publicly announced, people launched a "Save the Cyclone" campaign to oppose the proposed demise of Coney Island's last wooden roller coaster.[5] This created a conflict between the Aquarium, who supported the Cyclone's demolition, and the Coney Island Chamber of Commerce, who opposed it.[6] The city changed its plans to dismantle the coaster and, in April 1975, invited sealed bids to lease the operation of the ride. The owners of the Astroland amusement park won the lease in June 1975 with a bid of $57,000 per year. After Astroland spent $60,000 to refurbish the Cyclone, the coaster reopened on July 3, 1975.[4]

In 1975, Michael Boodley set a record for most consecutive trips on the Cyclone, riding it 1,001 times over a period of 45 hours.[7] On August 18–22, 1977, nineteen-year-old Richard Rodriguez broke this record, riding the Cyclone for 104 hours. He took short bathroom breaks in between rides, but ate hot dogs, M&Ms, and shakes during the ride itself. In 2007, Rodriguez broke his own record for the longest marathon on a roller coaster, with 405 hours 40 minutes at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in the United Kingdom.[7]

Preservation[edit]

The Cyclone in 2010

In the 1980s, events such as the Mermaid Parade and Sideshows by the Seashore brought visitors back to Coney Island. The Cyclone was declared a city landmark in 1988 and a National Historic Landmark in 1991.[8] Despite the closing of Astroland Park on September 7, 2008, the Cyclone remained in operation due to its status as a New York City landmark.[9][10]

The ride, located on a plot of land measuring 75 feet (23 m) along 834 Surf Avenue and 500 feet (150 m) along West 10th Street, is now owned by the Parks Department. The former concession stands, built into the structure of the roller coaster, were home to the Coney Island History Project,[11] which was moved to a space near the Wonder Wheel. A souvenir stand selling Cyclone-based shirts, hats, and on-ride photos remains in the concession stands.

Present use[edit]

ACE plaque

In 2011, the adjacent Luna Park took over management of the Cyclone.[12][13] As of June 2016 it cost $10 to ride and the "reride" policy has been eliminated. In 2012, Luna Park 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 was done by Great Coasters International.

Current status[edit]

The Cyclone is an ACE Coaster Classic and Coaster Landmark;[14][15] it has also been honored by baseball's Brooklyn Cyclones as the source for their team name. In 2009, Howie Lipstein was recognized by the Coney Island History Project for riding the Cyclone for fifty consecutive years.[16][17] In 2018, he rode it for the 59th straight year.

Deaths[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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 died instantly. The ride was closed following the incident, but was reopened a day later after safety inspectors concluded that the ride was safe.[18]

On July 31, 2007, a 53-year-old man suffered several crushed vertebrae in his neck while riding the Cyclone. He died four days later due to complications of surgery.[19][20]

Replications[edit]

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. Of those four, only Viper at Six Flags Great America is still in operation, as Psyclone at Six Flags Magic Mountain was demolished in 2007, the Texas Cyclone at Six Flags Astroworld was demolished with the park's closure in 2005, and the Georgia Cyclone at Six Flags Over Georgia was converted by Rocky Mountain Construction. Overseas, replicas of Cyclone include the Bandit at Movie Park Germany, the White Canyon at Yomiuriland (located in Japan), and the defunct Aska at Nara Dreamland (demolished in December 2017), which was also in Japan.

Awards[edit]

Golden Ticket Awards: Top wood Roller Coasters
Year 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Ranking 7[21] 8[22] 11[23] 11[24] 13[25] 16[26] 16[27] 14[28] 16[29] 14[30] 16[31] 14[32] 13[33] 15[34] 14[35] 19[36] 22[37] 16[38] 27[39] 22[40] 29[41]
Mitch Hawker's Best Roller Coaster Poll: Best Wooden-Tracked Roller Coaster
Year 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Ranking 8 15 9 (tie) 12 14 15 23 21 21 21 26 26 36 36 41 41 48 49

References[edit]

  1. ^ National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ "Cyclone 101". The Washington Post. 2002-08-04. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  3. ^ "Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
  4. ^ a b c Futrell, J. (2006). Amusement Parks of New York. Amusement Parks Series. Stackpole Books. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-8117-3262-8. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  5. ^ John T. McQuiston (1972-03-05). "Aquarium is Getting a Piece of Old Long Island". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  6. ^ "Aquarium Urges Razing Of Coney Island Cyclone". The New York Times. May 27, 1975. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Kilgannon, Corey (2017-06-23). "Coney Island's Coaster King Takes Another Spin". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-09-01.
  8. ^ Kristen King (1995-08-04). "Cyclone Honors to Roll". The Daily News. New York. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  9. ^ Chatelain, Ryan (2008-09-05). "End of an ara at Coney Island" (PDF). AM New York. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 15, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  10. ^ Calder, Rich (2007-05-29). "B'klyn Big Top". The New York Post. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  11. ^ Andy Newman (2007-05-29). "Beneath the Speeding Cyclone, a Look Back in Time". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  12. ^ Kaminer, Ariel (2010-04-02). "Thrilling Reminder of Old Coney Island". The New York Times.
  13. ^ "Brooklyn's Cyclone set to re-open". UPI.com. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
  14. ^ ACE Coaster Classic Awards Archived 2015-09-08 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ "Coaster Awards". www.aceonline.org. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  16. ^ Monahan, Rachel (April 6, 2009). "A 50-year constant in Coney Island". New York Daily News. Mortimer Zuckerman. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  17. ^ "Howie Lipstein: Devoted Cyclone Rider". Coney Island History Project. April 5, 2009. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  18. ^ "U.S. Roller Coaster Fatalities (1972-1997)".
  19. ^ "Coney Island Cyclone Sending Some Riders to Hospital".
  20. ^ "Family of man who died after Cyclone ride sues NYC".
  21. ^ "Top 25 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 6B. August 1998. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  22. ^ "Top 25 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 6B. August 1999. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  23. ^ "Top 25 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. August 2000. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  24. ^ "Top 25 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 6B. August 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  25. ^ "Top 25 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 6B. September 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  26. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 10&ndash, 11B. September 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  27. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 14&ndash, 15B. September 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 3, 2007. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  28. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 22&ndash, 23B. September 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  29. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 30&ndash, 31B. September 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  30. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 11 (6.2): 42&ndash, 43. September 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  31. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 12 (6.2): 42&ndash, 43. September 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  32. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 13 (6.2): 38&ndash, 39. September 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  33. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 14 (6.2): 38&ndash, 39. September 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  34. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 15 (6.2): 46&ndash, 47. September 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  35. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 16 (6.2): 46&ndash, 47. September 2012. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  36. ^ "2013 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 17 (6.2): 40&ndash, 41. September 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  37. ^ "2014 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 18 (6.2): 38&ndash, 39. September 2014. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  38. ^ "2015 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 19 (6.2): 45&ndash, 46. September 2015. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  39. ^ "2016 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 20 (6.2): 46. September 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  40. ^ "2017 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 21 (6.2): 50. September 2017. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  41. ^ "2018 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 22 (6.2): 48. September 2018. Retrieved September 8, 2013.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Giant Dipper
World's Fastest Roller Coaster
June 1927–April 1976
Succeeded by
Screamin' Eagle