Can you Handle Coney Island’s First New Roller Coaster in Almost 100 Years?
Luna Park's $10 million, crazy high-speed, loop-de-looping new roller coaster the Thunderbolt opened a couple of weeks ago right off the fabled boardwalk of Coney Island, and MAN does this thing look thrilling/terrifying. I say "look" because, well… when I went to check it out over the weekend I kind of lost my nerve to actually ride the beast. Next time! Definitely! But for the less cowardly among you, the Thunderbolt makes for the perfect excuse to get out to Coney this summer.
Travels at The Speed of 65mph
Here are some key coaster stats. The Thunderbolt hits speeds of up 65 mph, thanks in part to the 90-degree vertical drop right at the beginning (preceded by a slow, tension-heightening 90-degree vertical ascent to start the ride off). After the initial drop you have about six nanoseconds to brace yourself for the 100-foot-high loop. And THEN there's the 80-foot zero-g roll, just in case your stomach is still inside your body. Various corkscrews and rolls follow, and even though the whole thing lasts less than two minutes, not a single rider I spoke to regretted shelling out $10 for the clearly-quite-alarming experience.
A Little Bit of History on NYC Roller Coasters
Although the Thunderbolt you ride today is spanking-new, its heritage on Coney Island is anything but. Did you ever see Annie Hall? When Alvy Singer talks about his childhood home under the roller coaster? THAT'S the original Thunderbolt! And it had been around since 1925 before it was torn down in 2000 after almost two decades of disuse. Anyway, the Thunderbolt 2014, with all of its tricks, rides incredibly smooth and nearly silent. The Cyclone, constructed, famously, of rickety-seeming wood, is in both departments the exact opposite. Which is better? Sounds like a roller coaster face-off is in order!
The Thunderbolt, like all of Luna Park (Scream Zone, Deno's Wonder Wheel, the Cyclone, and the historic B&B Carousell right next door), is now open every day from late morning until late at night through to the end of summer. So you have plenty of time to experience the Thunderbolt among all the many other awesome things going on in the city this summer, like Lincoln Center's dance parties, Tara Donovan's Pace exhivtion, fun on Governor's Island, (the list goes on).
Have you taken a ride on the Thunderbolt? Tell us what you thought in the comments!