Goodbye Astroland

Astroland Amusement Park closed on Sunday and as far as everyone knows, it’s for good. Unlike last year, another year’s lease simply did not come to fruition. It’s sad seeing a piece of Coney Island history closing, especially when the lot may very well sit vacant next year while zoning is still an issue. The Coney Island Cyclone, operated by Astroland, will be staying of course, being a landmark and all.

While I didn’t manage to get there on Sunday for the closing, I made sure to pay my last respects on Friday (as always, trip report will follow.) On that day I arrived at 6pm and stayed till 12 midnight when the rains of Tropical Storm Hanna finally drove me out; much like how Thor Equities is driving out the businesses on the Coney Island boardwalk.

Some might say that Astroland was a hole in the wall; those people are obviously spoiled by Bolliger & Mabillard coasters and Disney-esque themeing. An amusement park doesn’t need to look nice to be great, especially a place like Astroland that had a good length of history behind it. As far as I’m concerned, the rides at Astroland were scores better than any Six Flags or Cedar Fair owned park that I’ve been to. I mean, when was the last time that you could get some 20 flips on a Top Spin or be spun for nearly six minutes at full speed on a Breakdance? You would be lucky to get three flips on a chain owned Top Spin!

A lot of it came down to the ride ops that seemed to enjoy working on the rides. Take the aforementioned Breakdance with its enthusiastic lot of characters; interacting with riders over the mic and giving people their absolute money’s worth with lengthy spins. Or the Top Spin; while the ride operator would never say all that much I seem to remember peering over at him while in line only to see a huge smile slapped across his face as he dealt out a manually controlled series of flips. Whether his smile was for liking his job or delighting in rider torture was negligible because dammit, he was having fun in any case! Or perhaps the Pirate Ship where one could “take it to the train station” with a voyage that would make A Perfect Storm look like a sunny day.

This park will be dearly missed; I wish the best for the workers of Astroland, and the future of Coney Island itself. I urge everyone to be there next year on Sunday April 5th, 2009 for the opening of the Cyclone roller coaster.

Here, have a spin on the Breakdance on me…

Crazy Dance Video

I took this video of the ‘Cortina Bob,’ a Fabbri manufactured Crazy Dance, on Sunday at the Great Allentown Fair. You don’t see a Crazy Dance ride too often…especially one themed after bobselds. The ride went fairly fast, for Crazy Dance standards, and had some nice effects. The only things I didn’t like about this ride was that the sound system wasn’t that great and that they used the awful “canned mic man” to do all of the announcements.

Flying Bobs from Hell

I went to the Great Allentown Fair tonight; well, last night now. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I had an idea of what to expect but didn’t think it would rival some of the bigger fairs I’ve been to. A formal, if I can really call it that, trip report will follow but I’d like to take the time to address the Flying Bobs present at the fair. It looked a whole heck of a lot like a Herschell made Flying Bobs but was set up more like a Reverchon model without the canvas top. Whatever the make, it looked great; Powers Great American Midway’s really know how to maintain a ride!

The ride itself didn’t run very fast or anything but the car swung like none other I’ve been on. It didn’t just swing high either, it swung madly and out of control. I think it had to do with the fact that I was a single rider and it seemed that the ones with two riders didn’t do it as much. To be honest, it was the first time I had ever been a little nervous on a Flying Bobs ride! The swinging was so wild at some points that I actually tried to counter it by shifting my weight in the opposite direction of the swing.

Now while I might sound like I’m complaining, I’m really not; I got a kick out of it! It’s no joke that I was a bit scared though and after experiencing that, I really have to wonder how I’d fare on a Matterhorn at a European funfair! I mean for crying out loud, look at this picture! I think I’d crap myself.

Video Update! Great Nor’Easter

I recently went to Wildwood, NJ for a week long vacation. Wildwood is the location of Morey’s Piers, three large piers extending off the boardwalk that are jammed with rides. They somehow managed to fit the Great Nor’Easter, a custom made Vekoma hang n’ bang…err, SLC into the back of the pier. The coaster winds around watersides, comes very close to the Zoom Phloom log flume ride, has a cool light package, and resides in a cool oceanside locale! This video was taken over some 20+ train loads in order to get every angle that I needed to get a full video.

I’mmm Baaacck…

view from club Mix at Mandalay BayHello all you who happen to stumble upon this page. I came back today from a whirlwind tour of the west coast; Aniheim, San Diego, Phoenix, Sedona, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Yosemete, and San Francisco were the destinations. It was a blast finally seeing the west coast and meeting many people from different countries on tour including a lot of Austrailians, some Germans (one of whom thought that ‘Brian’ was a cool name), and a cutie from England.

Even though many theme parks are out that way, I didn’t go to any; I just didn’t have the time. But It’s definately not going to be my last time over there, so it’s not that big of a deal. However I do have a Manhattan Express ride review on the way, among other things.

Finally, thanks to all for not spam bombing the news blog; I was almost certain bots and their botlings were lying in wait for my departure…