I would like to share some of my better memories of summer using the stories of Antoinette and her friends.
Brooklyn in the 50’s. First the Tuesday fireworks and now, the best darn little wooden roller coaster in the country!
Coney Island in the 1950’s was the summer playground of thousands of adults and children. Its long wide beaches stretched out for miles, separated by what was called a “Bay.”
The boardwalk rolled on from Bay One in Brighton Beach to Bay One in Coney Island and ending at Sea Gate, a private community nestled at the end of the beaches, curving towards the wide mouth of the Atlantic and into the Narrows, entering the New York Harbor.
One of the country’s original wooden roller coasters, the Cyclone was the biggest thrill of the entire summer. All the big kids and the adults talked about it, were fascinated or frightened of it.
They found a seat three back from the front and he strapped her in and the man locked the safety bar.
The cars began the long climb up the first hill. Slowly it crawled up, the steel wheels clicking against the wooden frame, sounding like the trolley. She watched with her mouth open as they climbed higher and higher. Looking out at the beaches and the ocean from the top of the hill was breathtaking as the first car teetered at the top.
Without warning the first car dropped out of sight down the hill, straight down the cars dropped towards the bottom. One moment she was pinned to the back of the seat and at the next moment she was propelled forward and the ground was racing in front of her.
She screamed at the top of her lungs and kept on screaming in delight as the ride dropped and then hit a sharp curve. As quickly as it began, it was over.
He motioned to the ticket man and gave him more money. “I want to move up.” He did this twice until they moved to where he knew she wanted to be.
Now in the first car, Antoinette watched as the car climbed up the wooden rails, watched as the panorama of the beach opened up, the parachute ride behind them, and all of Coney Island spread out in front of them.
For one split second the car teeters at the precipice of the hill. One split second while she held her breath and waited, loving the blue of the sky and the expanse of the ocean before her.
Then it dropped … dropped straight down and she saw the wooden rails racing past her in a blur, watched as they took the first curve, the second hill and …
On the national register of famous wooden roller coasters, she ranks among the top ten and if you ever get to Brooklyn … take a ride.
Looking back to see
who we are today,