NPR logo Coney Island's Cyclone Turns 80


Coney Island's Cyclone Turns 80

This week the famed Cyclone roller coaster in Coney Island turned 80. The Cyclone is a throwback, all wood and steel, and for nearly 45 years after it was built, it was the fastest roller coaster in the world. It's since been surpassed by more modern coasters, but what it lacks in technology it makes up for with personality. (In other words, this thing is rickety enough to put fear into anyone.) Coney Island celebrated the only way it knows how: With an event that was part boardwalk charm, part freak show spectacle, and all heart. They originally wanted to run the Cyclone full of people who rode it in its inaugural year, meaning people who'd have to be at least 87 or so by now, but they found no takers. Then they wanted to fill it with 80-year-olds, but they could only find three. Then one got cold feet, and they were down to two. But as proud members of a group called American Coaster Enthusiasts, those two men were up to the task. The BPP sent Luke Burbank, Win Rosenfeld, Dan Pashman, and a video camera out to Coney Island to cover the event, and to take a spin on the Cyclone themselves. Click on the video above to check it out.