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  • Writer's pictureAlbert C

The Classic Rides of Coney Island

Coney Island conjures up the idea of an old-time beach and amusement park. It has been a magnet for a seaside recreation since the mid-1800s when roads put it within a couple of hours of New York City. The resort has had ups and downs over the years. Arguably is is one of the places where American pop culture was born. Today, the island is still reeling from Hurricane Sandy. But the resorts and amusement parks have survived fires and hostile politics for almost 200 years, always coming back to charm and amuse another generation. The Wonder Wheel, a classic ride on the National Register of Historic Places is already back in service. Here are a number of classic rides that we hope will once again lure you out to this Brooklyn peninsula come springtime.

Wonder Wheel - This ferris wheel from 1920 is a giant steel circle that stands 150 feet high and holds 144 riders. You can see it at night outlined by neon tubes in Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park.

The Cyclone - This famous old roller coaster was built in 1927 and is still a favorite of aficionados. It has one long 60º drop that will leave your heart trailing behind you the whole way. The City owns the ride, but it is operated by Astroland under franchise.

Parachute Jump - This ride opened in the 1939 New York World’s Fair and was the first ride of its kind anywhere. People were hoisted almost 200 feet in the air before dropping on guy-wired parachutes. You can’t ride it anymore, but it is still considered a landmark, sometimes being called Brooklyn’s Eiffel Tower.

B&B Carousell - This traditional carousel, still misspelled the way its original builder did, is no longer in an amusement park, but still turns to the tunes of a traditional roll-operated fairground organ. At the moment it has been dismantled, but there are plans to reopen it this year.

Haunted houses - There are two traditional haunted house “dark rides” on Coney Island. These are haunted houses where you ride through specially lit areas with animations, music, sounds, and special effects. You can try out the Spook-a-Rama at Deno’s or the Ghost Hole on 12th Street and see which one scares you the most.

Bumper cars - Bumper cars had their heyday starting in the 1920s and there are 3 bumper car rides on Coney Island today at Deno’s, 12th Street, and Eldorado’s Arcade.

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