RIDING THE CYCLONE


In Coney Island in NYC there is a roller coaster called the Cyclone. It is now pretty tame compared to other roller coasters but when it was new it was the king of the roller coasters. It just celebrated its 75th year of operation and is the last remaining coaster in Coney. It is a landmark and while other places have closed it remains untouchable. This is the story of my first ride on the Cyclone.


I was 13 years old and as a birthday present my father was going to let me ride the Cyclone. The CYCLONE what a name and what visions it conjured up in my mind. When I went to Coney Island even on the boardwalk I could hear the screams of the people riding the beast. Now it was going to be my turn.


The cyclone had something that no other roller coaster had at that time. On the first drop it thundered down slanting to the right at the bottom it went up slanting to the left. After that initial drop it acted like any other coaster except at the end there were 2 drops one right after the other.


My father and I walked up the ramp to the coaster, paid our money (25 cents), took our seats (only 2 people could sit in each compartment), a bar dropped down across our chests, locked, and we were off. My father reminded me to hold fast to the bar. He needn’t have bothered because I grabbed the bar in s death grip.


The coaster started rolling picking up speed until it reached where the climb began. I remember thinking this isn’t so bad but then we started climbing. We went up and up. It seemed like forever and now my fear grew because I knew what awaited me at the end. The coaster finally reached the apex and started to free fall.


I remember asking God to forgive me my sins as the coaster started to drop and I was wrenched from my seat. Only the bar kept me from being thrown out of the compartment. Now the monster was dropping on an angle to the right picking up speed. All around me people were screaming and I guess I was too although I can’t remember. Now we hit bottom and my body was wrenched to one side as the coaster started to climb and angled to the left. At the top again I was pulled from my seat as it went into the second drop. The ride lasted for about 1 minute although to me it seemed like a year. Finally we hit the last 2 drops in succession and we came to a halt. I climbed out of the compartment shaken and swore I would never ride that thing again.


However it was a promise not kept as I rode the beast quite a few more times. The best time I had was when riding it at night we dropped into a pool of blackness. Someday I hope to take one of my grandkids and give him the thrill of riding the oldest roller coaster in the USA the CYCLONE.