Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"Getting caught up in a cyclone"

The Coney Island Cyclone is one of the most famous attractions in Brooklyn, New York. The first rides of the historic roller coaster began on June 26, 1927. Over 80 years later, the Cyclone is still thrilling thousands of riders each year.

For decades the Cyclone in Coney Island has been the cornerstone of a great trip to the beach, boardwalk, amusements and more! From great food and drinks, to terrific people and more Coney Island has been and continues to be a destination for great family fun!

Brothers Jack and Irving Rosenthal commissioned the legendary Vernan Keenan to design, and Harry C. Baker to construct, the preeminent wooden-tracked roller coaster. The design had to be exceptionally tight and steep because of the relatively small ground space that was available for the attraction. The construction of this masterpiece began on a historical site which was significant in the world of roller coasters -- the Cyclone graces the place which contained the world's very first roller coaster, LaMarcus A. Thompson's Switchback Railway.

The legendary site of the Cyclone also once had the world's first successful looping roller coaster, Loop The Loop. With power supplied by the Eisenberg Brothers of Brooklyn, signs from Menheimer and Weiss of New York City, steel from the National Bridge Company, also of New York City, and lumber from Cross, Austin & Ireland, located in Long Island City, the Cyclone quickly became Coney Island's number one attraction and over 80 years later still is!

When the Rosenthal Brothers left Coney Island to operate their newest property, Palisade Amusement Park, they turned over the operation of the Cyclone to Chris Feuchts, who lovingly maintained and ran the ride for decades. Eventually, ownership of Cyclone was acquired by the City of New York, and it was operated by the City's Parks Department.

The Cyclone was (and still is) the top attraction in Coney Island on June 18, 1975 when Dewey and Jerome Albert, owners of Astroland Park, contracted to operate the Cyclone under an agreement with New York City. The world class roller coaster was completely rehabilitated and opened to enthusiastic crowds on July 1st of the same year. Since that time, Astroland Park has invested millions of dollars in the upkeep of the Cyclone – many believe the roller coaster continues to improve and run better year after year!

Every roller coaster enthusiast around the world has heard of, has ridden or hopes to ride The Cyclone. This historic roller coaster graces virtually every "top roller coaster" list and publication. Roller coasters may have gotten bigger and faster, but they have not gotten any better than The Cyclone. Time Magazine quoted Charles Lindbergh as saying that a ride on the Cyclone was more thrilling than his historic first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Emilio Franco, a mute since birth, regained his voice on the Cyclone, uttering his first words ever -- "I feel sick"! In April 2001, singer Nikki Lauren became the first person ever to present a live musical performance in the Cyclone's historic loading station.

An official New York City Landmark since July 12, 1988, Cyclone was listed in the New York State Register of Historic Places on June 31, 1991. National Historic Landmark status followed, on June 26, 1991. On April 14, 1992, Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden issued a citation to Jerome Albert and the late Dewey Albert for their operation of both Astroland and the Cyclone, saluting them for being the primary energizing force in the regeneration of the Coney Island Amusement District.

The Cyclone, now faster than ever, is the heart and soul of Coney Island, birthplace of the American amusement industry, and going strong for over 150 years! Planned renovations at Coney Island may mean that this will be the last summer for the Cyclone.

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