Thunderbolt roller coaster debuts in Coney Island

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>>

  • Tennis star Caroline Wozniacki to run New York City Marathon

    Wozniacki to run NYC Marathon

    Thursday, July 31 2014 4:42 PM EDT2014-07-31 20:42:50 GMT
    Former No. 1-ranked tennis star Caroline Wozniacki plans to play a full tournament schedule this fall while fitting in time to train for the New York City Marathon. She said Thursday that she long had wanted to do a marathon and decided before Wimbledon that she could pull it off this year.
    Former No. 1-ranked tennis star Caroline Wozniacki plans to play a full tournament schedule this fall while fitting in time to train for the New York City Marathon. She said Thursday that she long had wanted to do a marathon and decided before Wimbledon that she could pull it off this year.
  • 5 annoying things about the New York City subway

    5 annoying things about the New York City subway

    Thursday, July 31 2014 2:55 PM EDT2014-07-31 18:55:21 GMT
    Subway problems are annoying, but it’s just a part of living in New York City. Public transportation isn’t glamorous. It’s a pain. It’s a convenience that can cause an inconvenience. Here is a list of five annoying things about the subway system.
    Subway problems are annoying, but it’s just a part of living in New York City. Public transportation isn’t glamorous. It’s a pain. It’s a convenience that can cause an inconvenience. Here is a list of five annoying things about the subway system.
  • US issues travel warning over Ebola

    US issues travel warning over Ebola

    Thursday, July 31 2014 2:22 PM EDT2014-07-31 18:22:47 GMT
    U.S. health officials on Thursday warned Americans not to travel to the three West African countries hit by the worst recorded Ebola outbreak in history.  The travel advisory applies to non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
    U.S. health officials on Thursday warned Americans not to travel to the three West African countries hit by the worst recorded Ebola outbreak in history.  The travel advisory applies to non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Powered by WorldNow

4739 NW 53rd Avenue, Sutie B
Gainesville, FL 32653

Phone: (352) 371-0051

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