TR: Coney Island Opening Day 3/20

Associated parks:
None

Monday, March 21, 2005 7:58 PM
Cold, Wet & Grey

That really wasn't going to stop me as I really needed a Cyclone and a Coney
fix. Arrived at Coney a little before noon and a reasonably sized crowd
had assembled for the Cyclone's opening (Astroland was giving away free
tickets for the first rides of the day and they EVEN advertised in the
Voice).

Hooked up with Dave 'Flare' Fraser, Melissa, Kyle & Jenna. We all got our
wristbands and off to the Cyclone for the first rides of the year. What
can I say - it was running very well, there was some definitive track work
on the bottom of a few drops. You could 'almost' say it was smooth. I
didn't get around to an axle seat ride, but from others who did - it was
definitely delivering the promised battering that only a Cyclone axle seat
could. The Cyclone was running this well at opening last year, but really
fell apart later in the season - it'll be interesting to see how it fairs
this year (and of course I'll be heading out there quite a bit to check).

Got a grand total of 4 rides, also rode the Astrotower, Dantes, and an
extremely long ride on the Big Apple/Wacky Worm (I think it was 7 circuits)
and very nice ride ops. Not much else opened this weekend- I think the
weather was just too bad, and even Astroland closed up around 2:30. We did
check out the Coney Island Museum which there's not a whole lot too, but if
you have any appreciation of historic rides it's worth the 99cents just to
see the Steeplechase horse and the great Twister sign.

On other notes, there are a lot of buildings and realestate available (there
are 8 buildings for sale on Surf Avenue including the Freakshow / Museum
building and Nick's Greasy Spoon is gone and for sale) - it's a little
disconcerting. The flea markets are essentially all but gone now, and
construction has begun on an office building in it's place. I'm little
disconcerted by this as they got the flea markets out by claiming it was a
misuse of land zoned only for amusement space. An office building
definitely does not qualify for that either. Lastly, work continues on the
Stillwell and the 8th Street stations and they look spectacular. The old
terra cotta facade on the Stillwell station is back in place and is amazing.
I can't wait for these projects to be finished.

On a final note - Happy Spring everyone!!!

Best,
Jim 'jimvid' McDonnell

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Monday, March 21, 2005 9:45 PM
Was the Saturn 6 operating? I can only hope that Coney realizes they have the only known operating Saturn 6 in the US and keep this classic going.
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Monday, March 21, 2005 10:07 PM
Saturn 6 was not operational, but I would expect it to be up and running for Easter weekend. It's an independent operation (the same people also run a set of bumper cars, ghost hole (portable dark ride), and a himalaya-like ride (none of these were up and going either).

And YES! It's quite the classic that should not be missed if you make it out there as I can only imagine how much longer it will be there (it's been there since the early 1940's)

But No, Coney Island and most of its visitors have absolutely no idea what a gem they have and it's fairly suprising that it has survived as long as it has.

Long live the Saturn 6,

Jim 'jimvid' McDonnell

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Monday, March 21, 2005 10:18 PM
Call me naive, but what is the Saturn 6?
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Monday, March 21, 2005 11:06 PM
Rob,

Here's an old postcard of the Saturn 6 in operation at CI.

http://members.aol.com/wecorhsc/saturn6.jpg

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005 3:01 AM
OMG Rob...don't you know anything? ;)
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Tuesday, March 22, 2005 1:34 PM
Looks like a Bartlet designed ride called the "Hurricane".
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Tuesday, March 22, 2005 3:18 PM
I've seen these older rides go by the names Hurricane & Apollo, but I think the trade name is Saturn 6.

Some people are quick to confuse these with the newer Dartron built Hurricanes because of the sweeping up & down motion of the arms, not to overlook the sound of the compressed air..
I love that sound!

The modern day Hurricanes cars stay level when the arms are extended and the Saturn 6 cars are fixed to the arms.

In fact, I've seen the arms of the Saturn 6 go beyond horizontal ( a little higher than the above photo link) sending riders almost upside down at the highest peak. Not sure if Coney's goes that high.

Also, up until 2 years ago, Quassey Lake had one of these. Does anyone know what they did with theirs?

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005 3:30 PM
I'm pretty sure Quassy dismantled theirs within the last two years. I rode it on my first visit to the park and it was run on a much more "family-friendly" cycle - the arms did not extende above horizontal. It also lacked any sort of braking mechanism and took quite a few minutes to cease rotating.

FYI, Adventureland [Iowa] still shows a Saturn 6 on their 2005 map.

mOOSH

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005 4:59 PM
Where on the map is it? I went to their site but couldn't locate it. That would be very nice if they had one of these.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2005 5:32 PM
I went back to check Adventureland's map...I misspoke, the map they show online is dated July 2004. It is not a 2005 map.

Regardless, here's how you spot the Saturn 6 on their map:

Assume the top of the map is "North." Find the Dragon coaster station. Just to the south is a bridge that crosses a small body of water. The Saturn 6 is on the opposite side of the bridge from the Dragon station, on the left.

*** Edited 3/22/2005 10:48:06 PM UTC by Mamoosh***

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005 9:40 PM
OK, I see the ride you are talking about. It's labeled Lighthouse, or something like that. Too bad the Adventureland site doesn't show any pics of this. Very interesting anyway.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2005 10:27 PM
I believe that the Saturn 6 was a Bartlett design and the Hurricane was a Herschell. Quassy's was definitely a Hurricane. From the early 1950's until the 1970's there was also a Herschell Hurricane almost directly across the street from the Saturn 6 at Coney.

In regards to the operating of CI's Saturn 6 - it goes up pretty damn high - definitely beyond horizontal and is VERY VERY FAST - you can expect a 5-6 minute ride cycle at a minimum as well. The forces were strong enough to toss my glasses (something the Cyclone has never been able to do!).

Long live the Saturn 6!

Jim 'jimvid' McDonnell

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005 10:38 PM
Herschell bought the rights to a lot of Bartlet's flat rides.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2005 12:25 AM
That's interesting Jim. I always thought there was one model by Herschell.

I dug up a few photos I have of Saturn 6's and/or Hurricanes.

I am guessing the most visual difference was in the cars themselves. Not sure if they ran differently (faster, slower, higher).

Look at this picture of the Saturn 6 (or Hurricane) at Palisades. I notice the cushioned seats and the roll-bar type support connecting the front and backs of the car to the main support.

http://members.aol.com/wecorhsc/saturn6_palisades.jpg

Now look at this picture I took of the Hurricane at Quassey in 2002. The seats are not cushioned and the supports on the cars look different. Unfortunately, it was not running the day I was there :(

http://members.aol.com/wecorhsc/quassy1b.jpg

Here's a fairly recent picture of the one at Coney Island.

http://members.aol.com/wecorhsc/saturn6_Coney.jpg

Those cars look just like the Palisades model.

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