Coney Island amusement rides
The Scream Zone debuts this season at Coney Island with four pulse-quickening rides. While you're there, check out four more can't-miss amusements.
Wed Apr 13 2011
Photograph: courtesy Central Amusement International
RECOMMENDED: Coney Island and Luna Park guide
New thrill rides
Scream Zone, Boardwalk near W 12th St, Coney Island, Brooklyn (718-373-5862, lunaparknyc.com/screamzone)
Sling Shot Geronimo!
Think of this ride sort of like the opposite of a bungee jump: It launches you more than 150 feet into the air before you free-fall back down to the ground and bounce up again. The open-air pod inverts according to gravitational pull, meaning once you've left the ground you won't really know which way is up. Only two people can go up at a time; we suggest you choose a partner with a stomach of steel. $20.
Live out your superhero fantasies on this coaster: While shooting along 1,300 feet of track—complete with 360-degree loop-the-loops and hairpin turns—you'll be suspended beneath the rail in a horizontal, Superman-like position. Each car holds four people in a row, meaning every rider gets an unobstructed front seat position. Nobody will judge you for throwing in a quick "up, up and away," although you may want to draw the line at wearing your underwear over your pants. $7.
This roller coaster is modeled after the original Coney Island ride of the same name, which was located in Steeplechase Park, one of the area's first amusement parks. Like the original coaster, riders sit atop horses with their legs locked in place, but that's where the similarity ends. Where the original version was propelled by mere gravity, speed junkies will be thrilled to discover that this electric twister will take you from zero to 40mph in less than two seconds. $7.
Imagine a wind turbine with you at the end of one of its spinning arm—that's pretty much what this new ride is like. If you can keep your wits about you while travelling at 60mph, remember to enjoy the view: At the apex, you'll be elevated 100 feet in the air. $8.
Rides to revisit
When this ride debuted at Luna Park last summer, it was the first in the world to simulate the movement of a fighter aircraft. Empty your pockets before taking your place with three others in a "plane," which accelerates around a central pivot reaching nearly four gs of force. Each pod performs barrel rolls, and they occasionally pause to suspend riders upside down. Luna Park, 1000 Surf Ave between 8th and 12th Sts (718-373-5862, lunaparknyc.com). $5.
No visit to Coney Island is complete without a ride on this iconic coaster, a fixture since 1927 that has spawned seven clones around the world. Heck, it was even declared a city landmark in 1988 and a National Historic Landmark in 1991. The twister takes just under two minutes to whiz you through a dozen drops (one at a heart-stopping 60-degree angle), achieving a top speed of 60mph. That may not sound very fast, but you'll surely be humbled (which is to say petrified) by the ancient wooden tracks that look like they belong underneath a steam locomotive. 834 Surf Ave at 8th St, Coney Island, Brooklyn (718-373-5862, lunaparknyc.com). $8.
If you're looking for a ride guaranteed to scare the pants off you, take a seat on this attraction. The only drop tower in Coney Island was installed in 2007 and measures 100 feet tall. With your legs dangling over the edge of your seat, you'll spend three minutes being slowly hoisted to the top, at which point you'll be able to glimpse a panoramic view of Coney Island, Manhattan and New Jersey. Hold on to that soothing mental image, as you'll shortly be plummeting straight back the way you came at 30mph. Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, 1025 Boardwalk at 12th St, Coney Island, Brooklyn (718-372-2592, wonderwheel.com). $5.
The Wonder Wheel
This classic ride has been a towering feature of the Coney Island skyline since 1920, and has been in continuous operation ever since. The wheel, a whopping 150 feet in diameter, takes five minutes to do two rotations, but if you think giant slow-moving loops are relaxing and scenic, you're in for a nasty surprise. Although the stationary white cars will indeed offer stunning views, the red and blue cars add a harrowing twist: They swing freely between the inner and outer circuits of the wheel, making you feel like you might fly off the rail altogether. Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, 1025 Boardwalk at 12th St, Coney Island, Brooklyn (718-372-2592, wonderwheel.com). $6.
Coney Island amusement parks are open seven days a week between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and on weekends and school holidays in the spring and fall; visit park websites for exact dates.