You can only wish to be as spry as the Coney Island Cyclone at age 90.
The Boardwalk’s first roller coaster celebrates officially celebrates nine decades of entertaining thrillseekers on June 26, but who wants to celebrate their birthday on a Monday? Instead, Luna Park is celebrating its most famous ride with a block party this Sunday, June 25, beginning at 2 p.m. featuring a performance by Fabolous, some fab moves by the Harlem Globetrotters and lots of family-friendly fun.
Of course, you’ll also want to take a ride, which will run you $10 these days (it started at 25 cents!) Coney Island Brewery even created a limited-edition beer in its honor called 90 Years Young, an intensely fruity double IPA perfect for the summer.
If you do swing by the roller coaster on Monday, Luna Park is offering 90 cent rides for the first 90 minutes that the Cyclone is open (noon-1:30 p.m.). The first 90 riders in line will also receive a free hot dog from the recently revived Feltman’s of Coney Island, the Boardwalk’s original hot dog stand.
Credited with inventing the hot dog-in-a-bun concept in 1867, Feltman’s foundered after one of its employees, Nathan Handwerker, opened his competing stand across the street. Feltman’s eventually closed in 1954, but 150 years later it’s back at its original location at the corner of Surf Avenue and West 10th Street. Try both and see which hot dog should rule the Boardwalk.
Opened in 1927, the Cyclone has 12 drops, with its highest reaching a butt-clenching 85 feet. The whole ride takes just under two minutes to zoom, turn and whoosh its way down 2,650 feet of tracks.
Thanks to an extensive refurbishment in 2016, the wooden roller coaster’s speed has been upped to over 60mph — not bad for a nonagenarian, and certainly the fastest entry on the National Register of Historic Places, where it was inducted in 1991.
Given its current popularity — though not the tallest or fastest, the Cyclone holds a special place in the hearts of thrill ride enthusiasts — it’s hard to imagine Coney Island without it. But that’s what almost happened in 1972, when the New York Aquarium moved to redevelop the site until New Yorkers intervened with a Save the Cyclone campaign.
Being an icon of the Boardwalk means the Cyclone has been a bit of a celebrity magnet, from Michael Jackson stopping to film “The Wiz” to Beyonce taking a spin for her music video to “XO.”
So raise a Boardwalk classic egg cream to the Cyclone this Sunday — just don’t drink it right before you ride.