Cyclone and Coney Boardwalk Threatened with “Improvements”

04/07/2011 10:41 AM |

Artists rendering of the new boardwalk
  • Artist’s rendering of the new boardwalk

Two major pieces of Coney Island’s historical character could soon be lost to modern replacements: the “wobbly old cars” of the Cyclone roller coaster, and the boardwalk itself.

The local community board has tried to fight back, recently voting to reject a Parks Department proposal that would have replaced one-third of Coney Island’s iconically wooden boardwalk with concrete, the Brooklyn Paper reports. That plan came on the heels of a previously rejected proposal that called for the entire three-mile stretch to be replaced with concrete.

The boardwalk is still in desperate need of an overhaul; the community board recommended a concrete base topped with recycled plastic lumber—”faux wood.” The city is preparing a new proposal, though a spokesman tells the Paper they will insist on concrete, which is not only cheaper but sturdier, able to handle delivery truck and police car traffic. “Concrete is less expensive to use, can last decades rather than up to 10 years, and requires virtually no maintenance,” a spokeswoman for the Parks Department once said. “It is significantly more effective than the other choices.” And what do beachgoers look for in a boardwalk beyond efficiency?
The boardwalk isn’t the only part of Coney Island under threat; the cars on the Cyclone roller coaster could soon be replaced, the Post reported last week. The city has long been looking for a permanent operator to take over the landmarked coaster since the previous one, the Albert family that owned Astroland, closed up shop in Coney Island.

Buried in a Parks Department “Request for Proposals” to potential leaseholders is a stipulation saying the winner is “expected” to “supply” the ride with new coaster cars…

While the ride is a city landmark, its three, 24-seat trains aren’t protected, and that is sure to raise the hackles of adventure junkies who come from around the world to ride the backbreaking coaster just so they can say they survived…

Tommy Bayiokos, a 45-year-old Brooklyn drummer and regular Cyclone rider, said “part of the thrill is it’s a rough, turbulent ride, and, if the cars were replaced with modern ones, it’s just not the same.”

A historic rollercoaster stripped of a significant piece of its character, just steps away from a stone boardwalk, where there’s a new sports bar. That’s your new Coney Island!

3 Comment

  • This is totally insane. It’s a BOARDwalk, not a CONCRETEwalk. It also happens to be the most iconic boardwalk in the world. How can they even think of turning it into a sidewalk???

  • I agree with the city, they should have it concrete , they started down by Brighton beach. It will be less law suites to the city and less maintenance, saving lots of money in the long run. I think they wanted to do most of the boardwalk that way up until the amusements then have it only as boards which they should do, but with the city it will be awhile before this takes place or will it?

  • It annoys me to no end when I hear older wooden roller coasters and their classic rolling stock described as “rickety”, “wobbly”, or or any of those types of words. The Cyclone and its trains are in better maintained shape at age 84 than some coasters a fraction of its age, many of which are located in zillion dollar corporate-run theme parks. There is nothing unsafe or obsolete about the Cyclone. And there is SURELY no need to replace the cars that have served it well all these years. I am familiar with the various types of vehicles built today to run on wooden coasters and while they are appropriate if not ideal for newer rides, there are none available that would track as well or deliver as comfortable and thrilling a ride as the present cars. They can be upgraded, improved, reconditioned – as they have been many times in their long lives – but to replace them would destroy the character and experience of the Cyclone, the world’s greatest roller coaster thrill ride.