Let’s go back…way back…all the way to 1925. That was the year that a wild and wooly roller coaster sensation called the Thunderbolt opened! This ride was the real McCoy, designed by the seasoned thrill ride veteran John Miller. It was built solid with a state of the art steel structure! Steel! The ride occupied a space on the west side of W 15th street and butted up against the boardwalk. The ol’ Kensington Hotel formerly operated on the property. Was it knocked down? Get outta’ town! It was left in place and the coaster was built around it! As George Moran, the owner of the property, said “You don’t tear down buildings in Coney Island if you can help it.”
2000. Thunderbolt, after sitting abandoned since 1983, was demolished by the city in a move that was later deemed illegal by federal courts. So much for Moran’s words of wisdom.
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I took my final visit to Six Flags Great Adventure on the final night of operation in 2014, November 2nd. The forecast called for cold temperatures and windy conditions…that sounded just wonderful. I prepared by wearing Under Armour, a thick hoodie, and a heavy windbreaker. Not only was it warm, but I had lots of zipper pockets for all the crap I bring along to the park.
I parked at about 3pm and was in the park by 3:30 thanks to the debacle that is fingerprint scanning. On my last trip, my finger didn’t want to scan until a manager came over and checked my ID. On this trip nearly everyone in front of me had some issue and once again I did too. However, after like three retries it finally worked.
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Funtown Pier in 2011
Seaside Park’s Funtown Pier, which was all but destroyed by Sandy and then essentially wiped off the map by a fire nearly a year after, is still planning to rebuild for 2015 according to owner Bill Major.
“Right now, the plan is to put rides in, bigger rides and build a bigger park than it was,” said Major to NJ.com, who went on to add that they had been waiting until the boardwalk in front of the former pier was rebuilt as well as waiting on proper permits for some new and exciting attractions. Some of these permits call for height limit variances up to 300 feet; “most of the rides today, they’re growing,” said Major.
Personally, I’m glad to see that the owners of Funtown Pier haven’t cut their losses as I’m sure others would have. After all, there is literally no trace of Funtown Pier left in Seaside right now; they will be starting from scratch. Applying for permits to allow for structures in excess of 300 feet is also interesting. I think their previous Tower of Fear drop tower topped out at 200 feet, so maybe they’re eying a larger tower? Maybe something more? Time will tell I guess. Anything being built over there would be a welcome sight; a big addition right off the bat would just be the cherry on top.
I travel down to Seaside routinely during the off season, so I’ll be on the lookout for construction activity. Stay tuned!
Source: Seaside Park’s FunTown amusement pier, destroyed in fire, may be rebuilt by next summer – NJ.com
I headed over to Six Flags Great Adventure on Friday, October 10th to get on a few rides and see what the park has done for Fright Fest. I arrived at the park at around 5:45pm, 15 minutes after opening. I went to the left side of the park first to ride Zumanjaro as it would surely have a long line later on.
When I got to the entrance, I saw that Kingda Ka had a line extending out of the entrance! What?! Oh…the ride didn’t open yet and people were just waiting for it to open. I thought about hopping into the single rider line, but the line ended up being a one cycle wait so it really didn’t matter. I really like Zumanjaro, it’s a great drop tower. Being some 400 feet high, you also get a wonderful view from the top!
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