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Coney Island Cyclone

Coney Island Cyclone Specs
Operating Since:
June 26, 1927
Reopened: July 3, 1975
Designed by: Vernon Keenan
Built by: Harry C. Baker
Wooden Twisted
2640 ft
85 ft
Angle of Descent:
58.6 degrees
60 mph
3 trains
3 cars per train
8 riders per car
(4 rows of 2 seats)
Ride Duration:
No coaster enthusiast's life is complete until he or she has ridden the Cyclone at Coney Island. Possibly the most famous coaster in the world, the Cyclone resides at Astroland Park on Surf Avenue in Brooklyn, NY. Adjacent to the Coney Island beach and boardwalk, the Cyclone is truly a part of New York history.

Taking up only 75 feet by 500 feet of ground, the Cyclone was built on the site that previously was home to the worlds first rollercoaster, the Switchback Railway, and the world's first successful looping coaster, Loop the Loop. The tight confines demanded a design that was tight and twisted, with steep hills. The ride was commissioned by brothers Jack and Irving Rosenthal.

The Rosenthal brothers moved from Coney Island to operate Palisade Park in New Jersey. At that time, operation of the Cyclone was turned over to Chris Feuchts, who ran and maintained the ride for several decades. Cyclone eventually became the property of the City of New York and was operated by the Parks Department.

In 1975, the owners of Astroland Park, Dewey and Jerome Albert, entered into a leasing agreement with the city to operate the Cyclone. Astroland had the ride refurbished and rehabilitated, and it reopened in a celebration on July 1, 1975. On April 14, 1992, Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden awarded the Alberts a citation for their operation of Astroland and the Cyclone, honoring them for the part they played in the revival of the Coney Island Amusement District.

The Cyclone is a bit unusual in that it is constructed of wood track on a steel frame. The ride to this day is still operated with manual hand brakes and classic running procedures. The Cyclone ranks first or in the top ten of virtually every published poll. Its first drop, 85 feet at a 60 degree angle, is legendary in coaster circles. The turns at the far end of the ride offer spectacular views of the beach and the ocean (but not for long!) 12 drops and 16 changes of direction through the twisted figure 8 complete the ride, which never lets up from the top of the lift hill the tunnel that brings the trains into the brake run. The Cyclone is an incredible example of synergy.

The Cyclone was declared an official New York City Landmark on July 12, 1988. It was listed in the New York State Register of Historic Places on June 31, 1991 [sic], and was named a National Historical Landmark on its 64th birthday: June 26, 1991.

All pages, images and info © Copyright 1997 - 2009 David W Creighton.
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