This Monday, construction began on a new roller coaster on Coney Island, the Thunderbolt.

The Thunderbolt is being built on the site of its late namesake, near Surf Avenue and West 15th Street. The old wooden Thunderbolt, in operation from 1925 until 1982, was immortalized in Woody Allen’s film, Annie Hall. The director’s character, Alvy Singer, grew up in a shabby (and shaky) house directly beneath the ride.

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The original Thunderbolt was torn down in 2000 during Giuliani’s administration

The new Thunderbolt comes at a cost of $10 million and is one of the largest private investments on the strip in Coney Island’s history. Designed by Zamperla of Italy, the ride will be made of steel and thrill visitors with a 90-degree vertical drop, a 100-foot loop and zero-gravity roll, as well as dives, hills and a corkscrew. All of this will happen at 55 mph in under two minutes.

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A rendering of the new Thunderbolt. Luna NYC/Zamperla

Alberto Zamperla, President of Central Amusement International and Luna Park, commented, “We come to Coney Island to respect the memories that are already here.” The hope is to resurrect, rather than reinvent, the once bustling area. The Thunderbolt will rise next to the world famous Cyclone, a wooden roller coaster that has been entertaining joy-riders for eighty-seven years.

The Thunderbolt is due to be ready by this coming Memorial Day, when New Yorkers and tourists alike will line up for some fun in the sun after an especially harsh winter.

Charlotte Bryant



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