The Cyclone, 1950sNo, we’re not celebrating cyclones, this isn’t about angry Mother Nature, but The Cyclone! Still rated by Roller Coaster lovers as one of the scariest in the world, Coney Island’s Cyclone gets more terrifying with every year it defies gravity and the wrecking ball, making today


It wasn’t the first roller coast in America, or even the first in Coney Island, but it is by far the most thrilling and famous of them all.

Opened 107  years ago on June 26, 1917 on the corner of Surf Avenue and West 10 Street, The Cyclone was designed by Vernon Keenan and built by Harry C. Baker. It was an instant hit and has come to symbolize Coney Island as much as Nathan’s, the Boardwalk or the Wonder Wheel.

For 25¢, anyone at least four and a half feet tall could strap themselves in for a good scream for 2 minutes they will never forget.

The ride starts with an excruciatingly slow crawl up that first steep hill looking at nothing but sky, inch by agonizing inch, when you are treated to the sounds of the old wood and steel groaning and complaining under the weight of yet one more train of open cars filled with fidgety thrill-seekers of all ages. Then all of a sudden you’re practically face down as you fly down that giant hill, then immediately into a wicked banking curve, and you’re wondering if the wheels are still making contact with the tracks.

At that point the rest of the ride is a blur because your nerves are shot and you’re plain bug-eyed terrified as you hurtle along. When the coaster rolls back to the platform to let you out, you can’t believe you survived this crazy, ancient contraption, and just want to put your feet on solid ground. Then you ask for a re-ride.

•Suggested Activities: Shrieking, waving, fear and a re-ride.

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