Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Everybody Loves a Coney Island Roller Coaster (We Think)

There have been many reactions to the newly-updated Thor Equities renderings of its Coney Island vision. We will deal with them at another point. For now, we have a few details to share about the big roller coaster in the proposal.

So, we won't dwell on our own concern that the drawings and hype are a tactic to deflect attention from the real meat of the Thor proposal--which is that the developer wants to rezone part of Coney's amusement area for residential development and wants to build four highrises, one of them as tall as 40 stories.

Instead, we'll focus on the proposed roller coaster that would, according to today's Daily News, "soar above Stillwell Ave. and spiral along the Boardwalk at breakneck speeds." One of our Coney sources familiar with the plan told GL the coaster would be very high tech and even have the ability to run at different speeds. It could be programmed to run more slowly, for instance, for the benefit of those prone to, um, getting sick on roller coasters and for coaster phobes who dream of riding the Cyclone, but know they would need to be carried off. It would be the first roller coaster in the world to offer "virtual rides" to riders via a device that would create different backgrounds. In keeping with the developer's goal of recreating Coney as a year-round attraction, the cars would be enclosed. (Bummer for those that like that exposed feeling, unless they're planning to enclose them only in winter.)

Who knows what will happen when Coney v 2.1 is replaced by Coney v 3.0 and other new releases. For now, we'll note that there are actually dozens of indoor coasters and theme rides around the country, and that the Coney plan seems to bear a similarity to some.

One, as someone on the Coney Island Message Board pointed out, is an attraction in Las Vegas called "The Adventuredome," which is an indoor themepark featuring a looping indoor coaster called the Canyon Blaster. That ride is billed as the "largest indoor double-loop, double-corkscrew roller coaster in America." We're also getting a vibe that brings to mind the theme park inside the Mall of America, which also has a coaster called The Ripsaw. If you're curious, you can see a list of some of the indoor coasters here. The firm that might design the Coney coaster is a Swiss ride company called Intamin. You can see its coasters here, including a "Spiral Coaster" designed for shopping malls and atria.

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