Via Wikimedia Commons.
Hailed as the largest and fastest roller coaster in the United States at the time, the Cyclone Racer ran along the shores of Long Beach from 1930 to 1968 until it was demolished to make way for what would become Shoreline Drive.
Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske announced September 19 that she will introduce to City Council a proposal by Larry Osterhoudt, a designer with a revisionist flair, to reconstruct the famed roller-coaster near the Queen Mary or the Aquarium of the Pacific.
The Cyclone Racer, or “The World’s Greatest Ride” as Osterhoudt calls it, was a wooden duel track “racer” with two trains that raced each other. In its day, it attracted more than 30 million riders and tourists to the Pike amusement zone and the surrounding Silver Spray Pier.
“This [project] would not only bring back an important part of Long Beach’s early history but would produce significant tourism dollars, not to mention a lot of fun,” Schipske said.
Schipske believes bringing back the tourist attraction could help synergize the Aquarium, Shoreline Village and Pine Avenue establishments as well as revitalize the Queensway Bay development project.
“Long Beach has failed to seize many economic opportunities offered in the past years, including: Port Disney, Tesla Motors and the porting of the U.S.S. Iowa,” Schipske said in a statement. “We need to check this out.”
A bid of $25 million from Structural Technologies, Inc. was made on August 31 to recreate the Cyclone Racer based on plans reverse-engineered by Osterhoudt, given the original specifications have been lost. According to Osterhoudt, investors willing to fund the project have already been secured.
The primary step in the project is to now secure a location; Ousterhoudt, via a satellite image [pictured] he posted on his Facebook, believes he already holds the answer to where that location should be.
According to Osterhudt, the removal of the original Cyclone was not necessary: Plans for the Shoreline Drive cloverleaf to Magnolia Bridge, which prompted coaster’s removal, needlessly looped through the south end of the Pike. Shoreline was eventually realigned in a way that never would have interfered with the Cyclone.
The Pike closed in 1979, ten years after its star attraction was closed, creating space for development interests.
“Ironically, the Economic Development Corporation of New York has just announced it is rebuilding the ‘Thunderboldt’ roller coaster on Coney Island as a way to help bring Coney Island back to being one of the top tourist destinations in the world,” Schipske said. “We can’t let Coney Island out do us.”
City Council with meet and discussed the rollercoaster redevelopment project Oct. 1.
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