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Coney Island Cyclone

Coney Island Cyclone

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The Coney Island Cyclone (better known as simply the Cyclone) is a historic hybrid roller coaster in the Coney Island
Coney Island
Coney Island is a peninsula and beach on the Atlantic Ocean in southern Brooklyn, New York, United States. The site was formerly an outer barrier island, but became partially connected to the mainland by landfill....

 section of Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

, New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. On June 18, 1975, Dewey and Jerome Albert, owners of Astroland Park
Astroland
Astroland was a amusement park in Coney Island first opened in 1962. It was located at 1000 Surf Avenue on the boardwalk...

, contracted to operate the Cyclone under an agreement with New York City. The roller coaster 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. Since Astroland closed in 2008, Carol Hill Albert, president of Cyclone Coasters, continues to operate the Cyclone under a lease agreement with the City.
The Cyclone was declared a New York City landmark
New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission is the New York City agency charged with administering the city's Landmarks Preservation Law. The Commission was created in April 1965 by Mayor Robert F. Wagner following the destruction of Pennsylvania Station the previous year to make way for...

 on July 12, 1988, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

 on June 26, 1991.

Early history


The success of 1925's Thunderbolt
Thunderbolt (Coney Island)
The Thunderbolt was a wooden roller coaster located at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. It operated from 1925 until 1982 and was finally demolished in autumn 2000. It was designed by John Miller.- History :...

 and 1926's Tornado
Tornado (Coney Island)
The Tornado was a roller coaster in Coney Island. The Tornado was built in 1926 by L.A. Thompson which later on also built the Coney Island Cyclone. The roller coaster cost $250,000 and was built in 1926 with drops, tight turns and crossovers. It was wooden/steel.The roller coaster was destroyed by...

 led Jack
Jack Rosenthal
Jack Morris Rosenthal CBE was an English playwright, who wrote 129 early episodes of the ITV soap opera Coronation Street and over 150 screenplays, including original TV plays, feature films, and adaptations.-Biography:...

 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 Vernan Keenan to design a new coaster. A man named 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). The final cost of the Cyclone has been reported to be around $146,000 to $175,000. When the Cyclone opened on June 26, 1927, a ride cost only twenty-five cents compared to the $8 in the 2011 Season.

In 1935, the Rosenthals took over management of Palisades Park
Palisades Amusement Park
Palisades Amusement Park was an amusement park located in Bergen County, New Jersey, across the Hudson River from New York City. It was situated atop the New Jersey Palisades lying partly in Cliffside Park and partly in Fort Lee. The park operated from 1898 until 1971, remaining one of the most...

. 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 the Cyclone. The ride continued to be extremely popular; one of its many stories is from 1948, when a coal miner with aphonia
Aphonia
Aphonia is the inability to speak. It is considered more severe than dysphonia. A primary cause of aphonia is bilateral disruption of the recurrent laryngeal nerve, which supplies nearly all the muscles in the larynx...

 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.

Accidents


On July 31, 2007, a 53-year old man broke several vertebrae, while riding the Cyclone. He died four days later. This is the only time in the Cyclone's history that a person died after sustaining injuries from the ride.

Preservation


By the 1960s, attendance at Coney Island had lowered. By 1968, the Cyclone was deteriorating and it was shut down in 1969.

In 1971, the Cyclone was bought by the city of New York for one million dollars. Lack of riders hurt profits, and the ride was condemned. In 1972, it was nearly destroyed because the New York Aquarium
New York Aquarium
The New York Aquarium is the oldest continually operating aquarium in the United States, having opened in Castle Garden in Battery Park, Manhattan in 1896. Since 1957, it has been located on the boardwalk in Coney Island, Brooklyn. The aquarium is managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society as...

 (which is located adjacent to the ride) wanted to expand. A "Save the Cyclone" campaign ensued, and the coaster was leased to the Astroland
Astroland
Astroland was a amusement park in Coney Island first opened in 1962. It was located at 1000 Surf Avenue on the boardwalk...

 amusement park for $57,000 per year. Astroland's owners had the ride refurbished, and it reopened on July 3, 1975.

In 1978, it was featured in the film version of The Wiz
The Wiz
The Wiz: The Super Soul Musical "Wonderful Wizard of Oz" is a musical with music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls and book by William F. Brown. It is a retelling of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in the context of African American culture. It opened on October 21, 1974 at the Morris A...

as the home of its version of the Tinman
Tin Woodman
The Tin Woodman, sometimes referred to as the Tin Man or the Tin Woodsman , is a character in the fictional Land of Oz created by American author L. Frank Baum...

, and its size compared to the rest of Oz
Land of Oz
Oz is a fantasy region containing four lands under the rule of one monarch.It was first introduced in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, one of many fantasy countries that he created for his books. It achieved a popularity that none of his other works attained, and after four years, he...

 raised to enormous proportions. In the 1980s, events like the Mermaid Parade and Sideshows by the Seashore brought visitors back to Coney Island and the Cyclone. Despite the closing of Astroland Park
Astroland
Astroland was a amusement park in Coney Island first opened in 1962. It was located at 1000 Surf Avenue on the boardwalk...

 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 (152.4 m) along West 10th Street, 40°34′30"N 73°58′39"W) is now owned completely by the Parks Department
New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
The City of New York Department of Parks & Recreation is the department of government of the City of New York responsible for maintaining the city's parks system, preserving and maintaining the ecological diversity of the city's natural areas, and furnishing recreational opportunities for city's...

. The former concession stands, built into the structure of the roller coaster, are now home to the Coney Island History Project, and a stand selling Cyclone based shirts, hats, and on-ride photos.

The Cyclone was declared a city landmark in 1988 and a National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

 in 1991.

Legacy


In 1977, Richard Rodriguez, (USA) set a marathon record of 104 hours. Richard was only age 19 when he broke the record. Today, he currently holds the record for the longest marathon on a roller coaster with 104 hours on the Pepsi Max Big One
Pepsi Max Big One
The Big One is a steel roller coaster located at Pleasure Beach Blackpool in the United Kingdom. The ride was originally manufactured by Arrow Dynamics, a now defunct steel coaster manufacturer, and was sponsored by the soft drinks firm Pepsi, under their brand of Pepsi Max until 2011...

 at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in England.

The roller coaster's 70th birthday was celebrated in 1997 with a tightrope walk
Tightrope walking
Tightrope walking is the art of walking along a thin wire or rope, usually at a great height. One or more artists performs in front of an audience or as a publicity stunt...

 by Tino Wallenda between the ride's two highest points; that year, a single ride cost four dollars. The track today is 2650 feet (807.7 m) long (including six fan turns and nine drops) and a 85 feet (25.9 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. The Coney Island Cyclone is an ACE
American Coaster Enthusiasts
The American Coaster Enthusiasts is an organization dedicated to the enjoyment and preservation of roller coasters. Membership is open to anyone with payment of yearly dues, and membership benefits may include discounted admission to certain amusement parks...

 Coaster Classic and Coaster Landmark; it has also been honored by baseball's Brooklyn Cyclones
Brooklyn Cyclones
The Brooklyn Cyclones is a minor league baseball team in the Short-Season A classification New York - Penn League, affiliated with the New York Mets. The Cyclones play at MCU Park just off the Coney Island boardwalk in the New York City borough of Brooklyn....

 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 the Cyclone, which is seen in its near original condition.

The roller coaster was used in the 1988 action movie Shakedown (film) were Richie Marks (played by Sam Elliott) fights with a hitman on it.

Awards

Golden Ticket Awards: Best Wooden Coaster
Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Ranking
11
11
13
16
16
14
16
14
16
14
13
15

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
Ranking
8
15
9 (tie)
12
14
15
23
21
21
21
26
26
36
36
41
41

Replications


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
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Six Flags Magic Mountain is a theme park located in Valencia, California north of Los Angeles. It opened on Memorial Day weekend on May 30, 1971 as Magic Mountain, by the Newhall Land and Farming Company. In 1979, Six Flags purchased the park and added the name Six Flags to the park's title. In...

 and the Texas Cyclone
Texas Cyclone
The Texas Cyclone was a wooden roller coaster at the defunct Six Flags Astroworld in Houston, Texas, and was known for its airtime, speed, and feeling of being out of control. It was tall, had of track, and the ride lasted for two minutes and fifteen seconds...

 at Six Flags Astroworld
Six Flags Astroworld
AstroWorld was a seasonally operated theme park located on approximately of land between Kirby Drive and Fannin Avenue, directly south of Loop 610 in Houston, Texas, USA...

. Two replicas still run, however, the Georgia Cyclone
Georgia Cyclone
The Georgia Cyclone is a wooden roller coaster at Six Flags Over Georgia in Atlanta, Georgia. Opened in 1990, it is a mirror image of the legendary Coney Island Cyclone. Ten feet higher than the Cyclone, it stands at and has a track length of and a top speed of...

 at Six Flags Over Georgia
Six Flags Over Georgia
Six Flags Over Georgia is a theme park located west of Atlanta, in unincorporated Cobb County. Opened in 1967, it is the second park in the Six Flags chain, after the original opening in 1961 in Texas....

 and Viper
Viper (Six Flags Great America)
Viper is a wooden roller coaster located at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois, which opened in 1995. Viper features a layout that is a mirror image of the Coney Island Cyclone and is the only roller coaster ever to be built directly by Six Flags...

 at Six Flags Great America
Six Flags Great America
Six Flags Great America is a Six Flags theme park in the Chicago metropolitan area, located in Gurnee, Illinois. It first opened in 1976 as Marriott's Great America. Six Flags purchased the park from the Marriott Corporation in 1984, making it the seventh park in the chain...

, both of which are mirror replicas. Overseas, replicas of the Coney Island Cyclone include the Bandit at Movie Park Germany
Movie Park Germany
thumb|Movie Park Germanythumb|[[Bermuda Triangle]] - Alien Encounterthumb|The Old Westthumb|[[Hollywood]] FilmmuseumThe Movie Park Germany is a theme park with real movie studios in Bottrop-Kirchhellen. It consists of 6 areas based on the topic "fascination film".The park was opened in June 1996 as...

, the White Canyon at Yomiuriland (located in Japan), and the Aska at Nara Dreamland
Nara Dreamland
was a theme park near Nara, Japan which was built in 1961 and inspired by Disneyland in California. On August 31, 2006, Nara Dreamland closed permanently.-Layout:...

 (demolished in 2006), which was also in Japan.

The game Grand Theft Auto IV
Grand Theft Auto IV
Grand Theft Auto IV is a 2008 open world action video game published by Rockstar Games, and developed by British games developer Rockstar North. It has been released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles, and for the Windows operating system...

features a roller coaster called "The Screamer", with heavy resemblance to Cyclone.

External links