Coney Island 'Thunderbolt' Roller Coaster Kicks Off Construction

By Ben Fractenberg on March 10, 2014 2:28pm 

Thunderbolt Video
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YouTube/CoasterForce

BROOKLYN — The Thunderbolt is getting ready to strike again.

Coney Island amusement park operators broke ground inside the Luna Park complex on Monday afternoon on a steel roller coaster named The Thunderbolt in honor of the original roller coaster that once stood on the site from the 1920s to the 1980s.

The roller coaster, which officials expect to open on Memorial Day weekend, will reach maximum speeds of 55 miles per hour and stand 115 feet tall at its highest point, officials said. It will be the first vertical-lift steel roller coaster at Luna Park, they added.

"Luna Park in Coney Island is New York's Playground and we are committed to making sure that kids, in age and at heart, have something to look forward to when they visit," said Valerio Ferrari, president of Central Amusement International, operator of Luna Park, in a January statement.  "The Thunderbolt will give these thrill seekers the chance to experience a 'loop' coaster in New York City for the first time in over a century, and our entire team is eager to unveil this revolutionary coaster to the world."

The original wooden version of the coaster was featured in Woody Allen's 1977 classic "Annie Hall." It went out of commission in the early 1980s and was finally demolished in 2000.

Those willing to brave the new coaster will be enjoy a 90-degree vertical drop followed by a 100-foot-tall loop and 80-foot zero-g roll during the two-minute ride, according to Luna Park.

"It's a thrill to be at the groundbreaking for the Thunderbolt roller coaster," tweeted Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams Monday afternoon.

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