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Hurricane Sandy vs. Roller Coasters


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Deno's posted a link to an article in the NY Daily News on their FaceBook. Spook-A-Rama is lost and will have to be rebuilt with all new props, according to the park.

 

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/horror-show-magical-site-tide-article-1.1207467?pgno=1

 

Sandy even messed with my childhood.

 

Walking through the wounded streets of Coney Island a couple of weeks after the hurricane was to re-edit my highlight reel of memory. The way the tornado turned Dorothy’s Kansas into Oz, Sandy distorted the Coney Island of my mind into a living horror.

 

Gazing around at the last stop on the subway by the sea, something wasn’t just wrong with the picture. The picture was of a different place, as if Sandy had literally washed pieces of my youth into the sea.

 

The hurdy-gurdy music of the arcades was replaced by the deafening cacophony of banging sledgehammers, scraping shovels and whining power tools as demolition crews fed the insatiable crunching hunger of sanitation trucks.

 

Meandering along Surf Ave., the Coney air smelled of moldy plaster, dirty cellars and dried sewage instead of the hypnotic aroma of boiling corn, frying onions and that alluring Coney Island scent of sizzling Nathan’s hot dogs that has wafted through the decades on the salty sea air since 1916.

 

At the corner of Stillwell Ave., my feet just stopped moving when I saw that Nathan’s was shuttered.

HAMILL25N_1_WEB

Todd Maisel/New York Daily News

Sandy cooked Nathan’s goose. The famous eatery needs extensive repairs to reopen.

 

All the sliding doors of this pacemaker of the Poor Man’s Paradise that has fed everyone from Presidents to sports legends to working stiffs to the housing projects’ poor were closed and locked.

 

“We gotta replace all the electric and plumbing and sewer lines,” a worker inside explained. “Big, big job.”

 

And so in the wake of infamous Sandy, Nathan’s Famous sat there on Surf Ave. like a yellow-and-green crypt, sealed for the first time in my Brooklyn memory. Oh, I’m sure it has closed many times over the decades, but for me Nathan’s was always open, a symbol of the city that never sleeps. Always open for business in the Coney mornings when we would arrive early with blankets and coolers to get a good spot on the hot sand on July 4.

 

It was still serving Brooklyn’s hungry when we made the dash for the subway home — long after the sun went down and the last firework fizzled. Open when the Cyclone froze on the rails for the season and the Wonder Wheel stood still like time itself and the carnies migrated south with the ducks for winter.

 

Nathan’s was open all night in my beery college years when we would rumble down from the Park Slope saloons after last call and order gangs of hot dogs, fries and raw clams at 4:30 a.m. when our stomachs were still made from the secret alloy steel of youth.

 

Now seeing it shuttered in the middle of Sandy-ravaged Surf Ave. was like a Londoner seeing the hands of Big Ben frozen in time. Like seeing the leaning Tower of Pisa topple, the bulls of Pamplona go lame. Like seeing our 24-hour subways stop and our blinding Manhattan skyline go dark.

 

Wait. Sandy made those last two things happen, too.

 

And so my heart continued to sink as I passed the Coney Island Museum, where Dick Zigun lost his gift shop, restrooms, his entire bar area and part of the stage where the freak show performs.

 

It sank lowest when I drifted into Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, where forlorn owner Dennis Vourderis showed me the 5-foot floodwater mark Sandy had left in his magical machine shop where he and his brother Steve and nephew DJ service all the heart-stopping summer rides.

HAMILL25N_6_WEB

Todd Maisel/New York Daily News

Dennis Vourderis of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park stands inside the trashed Spook-A-Rama attraction.

 

“All our specialized tools were ruined,” he says. “Spare parts — irreplaceable. We’ve been power-washing with fresh water everything that was contaminated with the corrosive saltwater that came down from the Coney Island creek, not up from the ocean.”

 

Then he led me like a funeral director into Brooklyn’s heart of darkness, into the demolished Spook-A-Rama that has scared kids like me spitless since it opened in 1955.

 

“In all the years my father and my brother Steve and I ran Deno’s, we never had a drop of water in Spook-A-Rama,” says Vourderis. “Or in the machine shop. We didn’t have flood insurance. Never needed it. Now look: Sandy even dragged Spook-A-Rama to hell.”

HAMILL25N_8_WEB

Todd Maisel/New York Daily News

Storm damage inside Coney Island's Spook-A-Rama

 

This was the very first spook house I ever rode through, a tunnel of unexpected horrors — monsters leaping from doorways, zombies springing from crypts, ax murderers attacking from the shadows — that prepared me at age 5 for real life in New York City.

 

Vourderis picked up a once-terrifying Devil, now spongy and salt-bloated, all its mechanics short-circuited, and said, “Sandy even drowned the Devil himself. The cylinder that controls its movements is shot. Same with this werewolf. Even the Big Bad Wolf wasn’t safe from Sandy.”

 

A sinister-looking, piano-playing puppet salvaged from defunct Rockaway Playland, a true carnival antique, was now a waterlogged hunk of junk.

 

“All these creatures had a real life,” Vourderis said. “They lived inside everybody that ever screamed and shrieked at them as they rode through Spook-A-Rama as a kid or a teenager. Now they’re dead. Even the undead zombies are really dead. Sandy killed them all.”

 

Outside the flapping exit doors, a fortune-telling machine housing a mystical character named Zoltar is flooded, the soothsayer’s severed head now resting near his hands.

 

“Even old Zoltar didn’t predict this one coming,” says Vourderis, fighting for humor amid the sadness.

 

Walking through ruined Spook-A-Rama was like attending a wake for childhood memories that had been drowned and sucked out to sea.

 

“It’s not just the money,” Vourderis said. “We took a good hit. But we’ll rebuild a new spook house, state-of-the-art, all computerized. It’ll be great. But the Spook-A-Rama that we all knew as kids and our kids and grandkids knew as kids is gone. Dead. Forever. Irreplaceable Coney Island history died here during Sandy. That’s sad. That hurts. That’s a real shame.”

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  • 2 months later...

Keansburg confirms March 24th will be opening day.

 

http://www.ahherald.com/newsbrief-mainmenu-2/monmouth-county-news/14784-keansburg-amusement-park-is-rebuilding-after-devastation-from-hurricane-sandy

 

 

Keansburg Amusement Park is Rebuilding After Devastation from Hurricane Sandy

Written by Keansburg Amusement Park

Thursday, 31 January 2013

 

Will open as scheduled on March 24th for the 2013 season.

 

KEANSBURG, NJ - As the state’s oldest amusement park, dating back to 1905, Keansburg Amusement Park is New Jersey. It symbolizes the rich history of New Jersey, and why millions flock to its shore each summer. And now it is a symbol of New Jersey’s resilience and determination. Keansburg Amusement Park is the definition of “Jersey Strong.”

 

The Park suffered severe and extensive damage from Hurricane Sandy. Located on the waterfront, the park completely flooded after a flood wall berm broke early in the storm. The extent of the damage was unthinkable; many thought rebuilding was not possible. Game stands were ripped apart like tin foil. The Wildcat, their famous roller coaster, was buried under five feet of sand. Arcade games and kiddie rides dating from the 1930s were carried over a half mile away.

 

 

But for the Gehlhaus Family – the same family that built the park back in 1905 – rebuilding was never a question. They know how important the amusement park is to the millions of families and kids of all ages that have visited over the last 108 years. And they have rebuilt in the wake of hurricane devastation before – three times! Hurricanes in 1944, 1953, and Hurricane Donna in 1960 reduced the boardwalk to toothpicks, but they rebuilt each time. The Gehlhaus Family knows challenge must be faced with determination.

 

Hurricane Sandy left over 70 percent of Keansburg – a blue-collar town on the Raritan Bay – under water. Several of their tireless employees lost their homes and still showed up to work the very next day and every day since. They showed up because of their pride in Keansburg Amusement Park. They are truly an inspiration to us all.

 

The outpouring of support from volunteers has been incredible. Jersey Cares, Bank of America, and the New Jersey chapter of American Coaster Enthusiasts are just a few of the groups that are helping Keansburg Amusement Park rebuild. They’ve even had volunteers from as far as the Shenandoah Valley! They are so grateful for the time and hard work of all their volunteers and those supporting this massive rebuilding effort.

 

Please be sure to check out the amusement park's amazing progress on their Facebook page, “Keansburg Amusement Park and Runaway Rapids Waterpark” and be sure to visit them this summer! And as always, check our their website for the latest deals and coupons: www.keansburgamusementpark.com.

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  • 1 month later...

This comes from News 12 in Connecticut. I did not realize the Wildcat was coming down, nor the end of the bumper car arena which had been of of few remaining with Lusse cars.

 

I had heard rumors that Spook House was severed damaged, I wonder if the fun house is replacing the Spook House

 

http://connecticut.news12.com/news/tri-state/keansburg-amusement-park-to-reopen-sat-after-dismantling-wild-cat-roller-coaster-1.4861592?firstfree=yes

 

Keansburg Amusement Park to reopen Sat. after dismantling Wild Cat roller coaster

March 21, 2013 5:32 PM

 

KEANSBURG - The last pieces of Keansburg Amusement Park's "Wild Cat" roller coaster, a Jersey Shore mainstay destroyed by Sandy, were dismantled today.

 

The park is set to open Saturday for the first time since Sandy. It will be holding its annual buy-one, get-one ticket sale.

 

The bumper car ride is also coming down to make way for a new one. The park will have five new rides this summer plus a new fun house.

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  • 1 month later...

It looks like Casino Pier is excited and ready to bounce back. A new thrill ride called "Super Storm" is slated to open this summer. The local news anchors this morning did say "roller coaster," but I could not find a second source to back up that information (probably just a simple GP mistake). Still, it's great to see the park is not letting Sandy get the better of them.

 

Source

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  • 4 months later...

Hi. This is my first post here...Hope you all are doing well!!

This is a strange request but I play in a band (called The Turnstiles) and I have a new song on the new CD we're working on related to the Jet Star coaster at Casino Pier. I would like to possibly use the attached photo as our CD cover. Does anyone know who took this and maybe who the guy is in the photo?? We would compensate the photographer and the guy if needed. I found it on Google Images and the source links to this site.

Thanks for the help!

105630899_JetStarPhoto2.thumb.jpg.cbf73f0faf632794f2eac051befd222c.jpg

Jet Star photo

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Construction has begun on the installation of Looping Star (most recently at Sauble Beach, after Beech Bend) at Keansburg. This Pinfari death machine is replacing the storm damaged Wildcat.

 

http://newjersey.news12.com/features/sandy/construction-begins-on-new-keansburg-roller-coaster-to-replace-the-wild-cat-that-was-destroyed-by-sandy-1.6791173

 

Keansburg roller coaster to replace the 'Wild Cat' that was destroyed by Sandy

Originally published: January 13, 2014 6:52 PM

 

KEANSBURG - Construction has begun on a new ride at Keansburg Amusement Park to replace the "Wild Cat" coaster mangled by the superstorm.

 

The foundation is down for the new roller coaster, and parts of it have also arrived. It will have a loop taking passengers upside down.

 

"Keansburg was known for the roller coaster amongst a couple of other major attractions," says Katie Johnson, of Keansburg Amusement Park. "And I think that this particular roller coaster is going to bring back the new blood."

 

Right now the sign on it reads "Looping Star," but a spokesperson says the amusement park will have an online contest to come up with an original name.

 

The roller coaster is scheduled for completion by March 1.

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  • 1 month later...

For those interested in the US, next week's episode of American Restoration will feature the work Rick Dale's team did on the restoration of the Pretzel cars from Keansburg's Spook House after Hurricane Sandy damage.

 

This episode of American Restoration airs at 10:30PM EST on Tuesday, February 25th.

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^^Without confirming that that is even RMC track (photos would help), that could mean a million things if true. Let's not get ahead of ourselves on this... Considering the former size and comparable cost of the former coaster at this park, I wouldn't bank on RMC supplying any kind of replacement. I could be wrong, but I just don't see a park like this going from a Miler Jet Star to an RMC creation.

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For those interested in the US, next week's episode of American Restoration will feature the work Rick Dale's team did on the restoration of the Pretzel cars from Keansburg's Spook House after Hurricane Sandy damage.

 

This episode of American Restoration airs at 10:30PM EST on Tuesday, February 25th.

 

Can't wait to catch this episode. Thanks for letting us know.

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^^Without confirming that that is even RMC track (photos would help), that could mean a million things if true. Let's not get ahead of ourselves on this... Considering the former size and comparable cost of the former coaster at this park, I wouldn't bank on RMC supplying any kind of replacement. I could be wrong, but I just don't see a park like this going from a Miler Jet Star to an RMC creation.

 

Perhaps they are just I-beams? Definitely a HUGE upgrade if it were to be RMC track…I agree with you about the cost.

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