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Coney Island – Dale’s Daily Data

Cyclone Roller Coaster at Coney Island (Getty Images)

We once did a promotion at Darien Lake to promote their new roller coaster – the Predator and I rode that coaster for two hours.  What a blast.  The bigger, the faster, the steeper, the better.  I just love roller coasters.  The reason I bring that up is that it was on this date in 1884 the first roller coaster in America opened at Coney Island, in New York.  It traveled six miles an hour and cost a nickel to ride. Doesn’t sound too exciting by today’s standards, but it was an instant success and by the turn of the century there were hundreds of roller coasters around the country.

Between 1897 and 1904, three amusement parks sprang up at Coney Island and by the 1920s, people were able to get there by subway and summer crowds of a million people a day flocked there for rides, games, sideshows, the beach and the two-and-a-half-mile boardwalk.

Even though the major amusement parks at Coney Island began to shut down in the 1960’s, the Cyclone wooden coaster continues to operate through an exclusive agreement with New York City.  It’s one of the country’s oldest roller coasters featuring an 85-foot drop and speeds up to 60 miles an hour.  It’s a New York City landmark and is also on the National Register of Historic Places. 

The world’s tallest and fastest roller coaster is at Six Flags Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey – the Kingda Ka roller coaster….456 feet high with speeds of 128 miles an hour.

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