Thursday, January 19, 2012

Historic Cyclone Roller Coaster Getting Safety Upgrades

For the first time since the 1970s, the historic Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster will be getting significant safety upgrades as parts are replaced and upgraded. The repairs are long overdue at the famous coaster. While some think that this might dampen the ride, which is notorious for its 60 degree drop on the first hill and exciting bumpy ride, it will mean that the coaster will continue giving thrills to riders for future generations.

After all, the Cyclone is the yardstick by which all other coasters are rated - regardless of whether they're the traditional wooden coaster or the modern steel coasters. It has an unparalleled combination of speed, twists, turns, drops, and g-forces combined with a beautiful location by the Atlantic Ocean. It's that proximity to the Atlantic Ocean (the ocean spray) that accelerates the decay of parts and necessitates the replacement/upgrades.

It's not a surprise that there are people opposed to any kind of changes to the Cyclone, but the coaster does need to see safety equipment updated and parts replaced to make sure that riders can enjoy the coaster for generations to come. Yet, one should pay attention to what happens when the coasters are not maintained.

For decades the Cyclone had a "twin" just down the boardwalk; the Thunderbolt. The Thunderbolt fell into disrepair after cessation of business in the early 1980s and was finally demolished in 2000. That secret demolition was part of a plan to revitalize the Coney Island boardwalk, which included the construction of KeySpan Park, which is the home to the New York Mets minor league affiliate.

The Thunderbolt was notable for being among the first coasters to incorporate a steel skeleton. Imagine the kind of coaster nirvana that could have been built on the site had anyone had the foresight to preserve and maintain the coasters - a true entertainment complex (and if enclosed - a year-round entertainment complex) just miles from Midtown Manhattan with subway stops just yards away.

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