Thunderbolt roller coaster debuts in Coney Island - My9 New Jersey

Thunderbolt roller coaster debuts in Coney Island

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

The new Thunderbolt roller coaster -- which opened to the public in Coney Island Saturday -- welcomes riders with a plodding 115-foot, 90-degree ascent.

"I screamed all the way up: Why is this going straight up?" rider Pam Harris said.

Then, just when its passengers sort of acclimate to their view into the heavens above, the Thunderbolt levels out for a moment before dropping all those helpless souls aboard, launching them at nearly 60 miles an hour through 2,200 feet of stomach-crushing, eyeball-jostling, loopty-looped fury.

"A lot of pulling and twisting," Erik Knapp said. "Your body feels like it's going one way and the ride wants to go another. The G-force is incredible on this ride."

Knapp calls himself Mr. Cyclone and left his sleeves at home to prove his dedication: On his right bicep, one finds a tattoo of Coney Island's Cyclone roller coaster. On the Thunderbolt's first day open to the public, Knapp's left bicep already bore a permanent tribute to Coney Island's newest ride.

"Actually," he said, "the original Thunderbolt was the first ride my grandfather put me on."

Built in 1925 and torn down in 2000, the original wooden Thunderbolt featured none of the upside-down time riders of its successor must endure.

"Just hypothetically speaking," I said to Knapp, "if one didn't like riding roller coasters, what advice would you give them?"

"Well, don't ride this one," he said. "Because it is intense." 

That wasn't terribly encouraging. When I woke up Saturday morning, I hadn't been on a roller coaster since I was about 11. I had cried for the entirety of that, my first and only ride, and felt like I might react similarly were I to climb aboard the Thunderbolt. But I also couldn't have my coworkers and viewers questioning my manhood or my dedication to the story, so I brought Megan, our roller coaster-fanatic intern, with me for moral support.

"Just keep your eyes closed," Knapp said.

I needed no such encouragement. I didn't open my eyes once. But I did need a beer after disembarking the Thunderbolt, shaky, sweaty and disgruntled. Megan the intern, meanwhile, wanted to ride it again. "Once they're here," Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said, "they'll shop, they'll eat, they'll walk the boardwalk and they'll swim in our water."

Adams is banking on the Thunderbolt revitalizing Coney Island, with every face-clenching grimace the coaster welcomes aboard.


  • Brooklyn NewsBrooklyn NewsMore>>

  • Girl drowns off Coney Island

    Girl drowns off Coney Island

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 11:07 PM EDT2014-07-23 03:07:25 GMT
    A girl from Staten Island apparently drowned off Coney Island Beach Tuesday evening, police said. Good Samaritans pulled Takara McDuffy, 10, and a 9-year-old girl from the water near Stillwell Avenue at about 7 p.m., the NYPD said. Medics took McDuffy to Coney Island Hospital where she was pronounced dead, authorities said.
    A girl from Staten Island apparently drowned off Coney Island Beach Tuesday evening, police said. Good Samaritans pulled Takara McDuffy, 10, and a 9-year-old girl from the water near Stillwell Avenue at about 7 p.m., the NYPD said. Medics took McDuffy to Coney Island Hospital where she was pronounced dead, authorities said.
  • 'Mortified': stage performers over share

    'Mortified': stage performers over share

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:56 PM EDT2014-07-23 02:56:08 GMT
    Some might call Jenn Wehrung a performance artist. Others, more simply, a masochist. This Brooklynite shares her deepest innermost thoughts from 6th grade in a show perhaps best summed up by its name: "Mortified."Wehrung is 37, single, and claims to have $37 in her bank account.Financially poor maybe, the ensemble real-life characters of "Mortified" are all filthy rich in memories.
    Some might call Jenn Wehrung a performance artist. Others, more simply, a masochist. This Brooklynite shares her deepest innermost thoughts from 6th grade in a show perhaps best summed up by its name: "Mortified."Wehrung is 37, single, and claims to have $37 in her bank account.Financially poor maybe, the ensemble real-life characters of "Mortified" are all filthy rich in memories.
  • Bratton: 'not happy'

    NYPD probing raising of white flags at Brooklyn Bridge

    NYPD probing raising of white flags at Brooklyn Bridge

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:12 PM EDT2014-07-23 02:12:43 GMT
    The NYPD is investigating a major security breach at the Brooklyn Bridge, one of the most highly secured landmarks in New York City. Two white flags — international symbols of surrender — fluttered from poles on the stone supports that hold cables above the bridge connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan. The flags had a faint appearance of the stars and stripes. The American flags that are normally up at the bridge appeared to have been removed.
    The NYPD is investigating a major security breach at the Brooklyn Bridge, one of the most highly secured landmarks in New York City. Two white flags — international symbols of surrender — fluttered from poles on the stone supports that hold cables above the bridge connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan. The flags had a faint appearance of the stars and stripes. The American flags that are normally up at the bridge appeared to have been removed.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices