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The Cyclone (History) | by Tony Fischer Photography
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The Cyclone (History)

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. The Cyclone was operated by Astroland until it closed on September 7, 2008. It is currently operated by the newly created Dreamland Amusement Park.


The Cyclone 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 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 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 2009 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 the Cyclone. The ride 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 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.


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


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 (which is located adjacent to the ride) wanted to expand.[7] A "Save the Cyclone" campaign ensued, and the coaster was leased to the Astroland 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 as the home of its version of the Tinman, and its size compared to the rest of Oz 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 on September 7, 2008, the Cyclone will remain in operation due to its status as a New York City landmark. The ride is now owned completely by (75 feet along 834 Surf Avenue and 500 feet along West 10th Street, 40°34′30″N 73°58′39″W / 40.575°N 73.9775°W / 40.575; -73.9775) the Parks Department. The former concession stands, built into the structure of the roller coaster, are now home to the Coney Island History Project[10], 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 in 1991.


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 401 hours on the Pepsi Max Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in England.


The roller coaster'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 long (including six fan turns and nine drops) and a 26 meter drop at its highest point; the first drop is at a 60 degree angle. Each of the three trains is made up of three eight-person cars, but only two trains can run simultaneously. The ride's top speed is 97 km/h 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 Coaster Classic and Coaster Landmark; it has also been honored by baseball's Brooklyn Cyclones as the source for their team name.


The popularity of the Cyclone has inspired several coasters to share the exact same layout (or a mirror version of it). Until 2005, there were four duplicates 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 duplicates still run, however, the Georgia Cyclone at Six Flags Over Georgia and Viper at Six Flags Great America, both of which are mirror images of the Cyclone but share the same layout. Overseas, duplicates of the Coney Island 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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Taken on September 5, 2009