New York boasts hundreds of national landmarks – but I never expected to find one among gaudy rides and neon prizes at an amusement park.
Today Noah and I jumped on a train to Coney Island, where we headed to the Cyclone, a huge, rickety rollercoaster that was erected in 1927 – and which has landmark status. While ‘rickety’ is hardly how you want your rollercoasters, the higgledy piggledy wooden boards were actually what made the experience.
It was brilliant to see that the boardwalk and the park have got back on their feet after Hurricane Sandy barrelled through last October. I thought that the Cyclone, which is a little rusty and surrounded by high fences, might not have opened following the storm, but thankfully it was up and running.
When we jumped in the hand-painted carts, something else gave away the ride’s age – how small the seats were. A portly gentleman in front of us was turned away because he couldn’t get the snug-fitting bar to lock in his lap. Noah and I are pretty small humans, but it was even a squeeze for us. I guess people were much tinier back in the 20s.
But when we got going, I was glad to be held tightly in place. We plunged, bumped and jiggled. And my bum was hardly on my seat. Throughout the ride, Noah was giving excited commentary – ‘Ooh my goodd, did you seee that, did you feeel thaaat, this is soo gooooddd’ etc – but I couldn’t even catch my breath to utter a sound. It was amazing.
We gave some of the other rides a go, the Tickler (another rollercoaster which was a little too slow for us after the Cyclone), the Brooklyn Flyer (where we sat on a huge swing and spun over the park) and the Electro Spin (a massive disk that turned and rocked).
While the more traditional rides at Luna Park have been swamped by cheap game stalls and hefty ticket prices, this is a must-see in the city. I’m glad that we went today – when the skies were blue but the winds were still high enough to keep massive crowds away – because I bet it gets so busy in the middle of the summer.
And of course we fit in some snacks too!