Parachute Jump, Luna Park, Coney Island, June 1947. Two passengers rode at the same time, to a height of 250 feet. It ascended into the air before being released at the top, floating to the ground.
The ride was created by James Strong of the U.S. Navy for the Chicago’s World Fair in 1936. That one rose 200 feet and had six arms to carry passengers. Strong was asked to reproduce it for the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair, and this version rose 250 feet and had 12 arms. It was such a success that the owners of Luna Park bought it for Coney Island. During World War II, the Parachute Jump served as a beacon of light for American planes and ships.
It is no longer in operation, but in 1980 it was admitted into to the collection of National Register of Historic Places. Nine years later it was finally recognized as a New York City Landmark. Now the Parachute Jump is like the Times Square of Brooklyn for New Year’s Eve. It counts down the seconds and illuminates the space at midnight.
Photo source: Daily Mail
Info source: CUNY
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Also known as “Accident Park”, this park opened in Vernon, NJ in 1978. It is considered one of the most dangerous amusement parks. Founder and CEO Gene Mulvihill’s philosophy was that amusement park visitors should be in control of their experience, envisioning a park where patrons managed the ride--including how fast and how high they went. And that’s exactly what he created at Action Park.
For example, the Alpine Slide (3rd pic on the right) was described by a former employee as “essentially a giant track to rip people’s skin off that was disguised as a kid’s ride.” The Alpine Slide concept was simple enough: you sat on a sled and descended down concrete tracks using a hand brake to control your speed, either slowly or at a speed described by a former park employee as "death awaits”. The park saw its first fatality on the Alpine Slide, when a 19-year-old employee rode off the track and hit his head. According to New Jersey’s records, there were at least 26 other serious head injuries and 14 fractures attributed to the Alpine Slide.
The Tidal Wave Pool, nicknamed The Grave Pool (pic on 2nd row - left), which was filled with fresh water as opposed to sea water could have waves that reached 40 inches at the highest blast. The 12 lifeguards on duty rescued, on average, 30 people a day on high-traffic weekends.
The most notorious ride was definitely the Cannon Ball Loop (bottom). According to one urban legend, when park owners sent a dummy doll on a test run of the ride, it came back with no head. Gene Mulvihill offered his employees $100 to test out new rides, including the Cannonball Loop, and despite employees winding up with bloody noses and bruises, he opened the ride. One person even remembers hearing that a patron got stuck at the top of the loop, causing the park to build a hatch to aid in future rescues. Just a month after it opened, and after countless injuries were reported, it was shut down by the Advisory Board on Carnival Amusement Ride Safety.
Action Park was finally closed in 1996. It had 6 fatalities (3 drownings, an electrocution ,and a couple skull injuries). In 2010 is was re-opened under the name Mountain Creek Water-park
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Now, admittedly, this *was* the ‘70s...
...but if I was at an amusement park...
...and it claimed to have the “World’s Greatest Roller Coaster”...
...and it was just a couple of amoebas attached to a red bouncy ball?
Ok, yeah, I’d have some questions.
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