Malcolm's America Trip

A report on my recent trip over a lot of the Eastern half of America.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Coney Island

Within an hour of finally making it through American immigration (always one of the longest queue lines on these trips to the states) we had arrived at the first park of the trip Coney Island. Actually Coney Island is the area, Astroworld and Deano's are the two parks situated here. The temperature was very hot for the time of year, something that would accompany us for most of the trip. We had also arrived on memorial holiday weekend so there were plenty of people in the parks, fortunately this didn't continue for much of the trip.

We had come to this park because the Coney Island Cyclone is perhaps the most famous coaster in America and because the trip organisers liked the idea of being in a park within an hour of the flight touching down, something that you can't do in most countries.

This is a view of the parks that met us having stepped off the coach. We were also met by the local ACE rep who distributed free ride tickets and information packs on the Cyclone. We also had a radio station broadcasting from the park that interviewed a few of us.

This is the Coney Island Cyclone, which is now an American landmark. I hope this ensures its future. Its a shame we can't do the same with the scenic railway coaster in Margate (a coaster that is under the threat of demolition even though it has been listed). To be honest I didn't like this coaster at all, it was a little too rough for me. Although the station operations were very efficient at getting the trains out of the station, they were very rude and perhaps fitting with the preconceived ideas I had of New Yorkers. Not an environment I wanted to subject myself to for too long.

The parks here also had a good number of dark rides, something we would come to miss at other parks on the trip. The ghost houses, of which there were three, were all pretty good in the classic ghost train style.

There were also a good number of spin rides, although having just stepped off the plane I gave them a miss, preferring to let my body adjust to the change in time zone. Considering the number of people in the area, the rides were being run very well and queues were being kept to a minimum. I think this was because the rides make their money on the more people they get through them, so they're run better. The big parks that work on an entry fee have your money once you've paid to get in so there is no incentive to run their rides well; something we'd come to realise.

Here's Deano's Wonderwheel, which it claims is the only one with moving cars. Maybe when it first opened they could claim that, but on the last trip to the U.S. we rode another one at Disney's California Adventure. In the UK we have the Pepsi Max Big One still claiming it is the biggest coaster in Europe and that isn't true. So this wasn't the first time I'd seen this.

This was actually the first coaster I rode on the trip. With the majority of the club heading over to the Cyclone, a small number of us chose to head the other way and do some other rides first. This kiddy coaster differs from most in that it has a turntable station and two trains, again probably to move the paying punters through it quicker.

Coney Island is on the Atlantic coastline and being the tourist I am I had to have a quick dip in the sea, if only to say I've been touched the Atlantic at both sides! Considering it was a holiday weekend I was expecting the beach to be swamped with people and although there were a lot it was still empty in places. Perhaps they were finding the heat too much.

There were two other coasters in the area. We were allowed to ride this one, Deano's Serpent but there was one called the Dragon Wagon that we found but couldn't ride because we were too grown up, in size not mentality perhaps.

A shot taken from the Wonder Wheel with the tenement blocks and the Cyclone in front of them. If it wasn't for the observation tower, this may have been a nice shot!

The Coney Island Cyclone! Just look at the pandemonium on the station platform. Where do you stand, it just looks like a free-for-all, which I found out was exactly what it was.

Interesting sign #1
"Your Mother doesn't work here. Please clean up your own mess".
Well its to the point and in fitting with the New York Stereotype and to be honest seemed to be working, as there was no mess in the station. To be honest there was no time to do that as they were moving you through the ride so damn quick!

One of a few coasters on the trip where you didn't need air gates to keep the people back. The aggressive tones of the station staff was more than a replacement.

Once you had finished your ride you could immediately pay another four dollars to move into the front seats before the train loaded up with more people. I don't know if this is a good way to do this or not, again I wasn't around long enough to see if it worked or not. When the queue got to a long length (and having seventy-plus enthusiasts turn up at once would do that) they very quickly put on the second train.

Interesting sign #2
"Don't even think of parking here"
Succint and too the point! They don't even tell you what will happen if you do. No mention of towing or clamping or anything. Perhaps the tone implies the worst and your car will be stepped on by the Staypuft Marshmallow Man. I watch too much movies.

Having ridden it three times and coming to the conclusion it was a piece of crap I chose to take some pictures of it instead.

Interesting Sign #3
"Big Ass Prize"
Only in New York!

This was the first time I had seen a train in New York and one of the things I had wanted to see here was the graffiti that had made the city famous in the 80s, particularly the painted trains. Alas as I was to find out later the city has spent a fortune on plants designed to clean train carriages and in doing so has all but won the battle with the graffiti artists, which is perhaps good for the city but bad for the fans of the art, which is what I consider it to be.

Interesting Sign #4
"Bump Your Ass Off"
This was actually advertising the dodgems, which makes a lot of sense when you understand the context.

An absolutely stunning paint job on this bike. I have a dream to ride a Harley across America so I'm attracted to amazing bikes like this. The rider who was close by didn't mind me taking pictures but did have a "bloody tourists" expression on his face.

Just along the boardwalk from Coney Island is the world famous Nathan's, home of the hot dog world championships. To be honest I found them really bland but I guess if you're trying to eat four-hundred in a minute or whatever it is they do here, then they're not going to be spending enough time on your palette for you to taste anyway!

OK, here was another place where you weren't supposed to park but the sign was clearly being ignored. Perhaps the wording wasn't blunt enough, after all there weren't any parked vehicles by the other sign.

Having spent a couple of hours at Coney Island it was time to head out of New York and into New England. Its great to see parks, if you can call them that, thriving like this but I don't know if it was coming to the park immediately upon landing or not but I wasn't ready for riding. Maybe I was being unkind to the Cyclone, the majority of people enjoyed it, it just wasn't my cup of tea.

Lets travel North to Six Flags New England


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