This post is dedicated to everyone whose world would not be the least affected if suddenly all the thrill rides at amusement parks disappeared into thin air. I belong to that group. I know there are some who used to love these rides but for reasons of physical disabilities are no longer able to go on them; I also have to be wary of many of these rides for medical reasons these days but I confess that this just gives me an easy excuse to avoid them.
My blog co-writer, as you may have noticed, is a fearless little bear who loves adventure. And he knows I love anything related to history, so he devised a plan. He suggested we go check out the historic amusements at Coney Island. Here’s how our day went:
Stretch: Hey, look at this historic wooden roller coaster, built in 1927.
Me: Yes, that is magnificent! But sorry, I don’t think the old bod would like the rattling it would get on that thing. Let’s move on.
Stretch: Wow, what a Ferris Wheel! It was built way back in 1920. And look, it has both stable and moving cars. Those inner cars slide back and forth while the wheel turns, how cool is that? And it’s the height of a 15-story building. Imagine the view! It also has a perfect safety record for its entire history.
Me: Hmm. It does look awesome. But you know—we really should wait to ride this one day with our friend Joanne. She loves stuff like this and I did tell her that I “might” allow her to talk me into taking you on this with her sometime.
Stretch: Well, here’s a ride you won’t be able to resist! It’s from the 1939 New York World’s Fair, one of your favorite historical topics. Each parachute holds two riders so we can sit together. All you do is rise to the top of the 262-foot tower then glide gently down like you’re parachuting.
Me: You might have had an outside chance of getting me on this ride Stretch except for one thing: It’s been restored as an historic landmark and no longer operates. But it used to be a ride here back in the 1960s when our Uncle Ben brought his family on a visit to New York one year. Our cousins will enjoy his recollection of the ride in a letter he wrote me years later:
“I guess you know that they took the parachute jump from the World’s Fair and moved it to Coney Island. I remember Joey Koncick and Rod going for a ride on the parachute jump. I thought Julie was going to faint.”
(For our readers: Rod is Uncle Ben’s son, Joey his nephew and Julie his wife who apparently didn’t enjoy watching the boys being dropped off the tower!)
Stretch: You don’t even have to tell me your reaction to the idea of going on this brand new coaster.
Me: I've suddenly remembered our last post about your hero, Teddy Roosevelt. I think it would be a good idea to follow his advice: "Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground."
Stretch: Well, there’s one thing that will still make this outing worthwhile. How about lunch at the original Nathan’s?
Me: Now that’s a bit of history that’s definitely palatable!