Favorite Amusement Park Rides
By Kevin Baker, author of the upcoming graphic novel LUNA PARK.
LUNA PARK transports readers from New York City at the turn of the century to the Second Chechen War to contemporary Coney Island, where the magical days of Steeple Chase, Luna Park, and Dreamland are a thing of the past. And now, Kevin Baker transports you to some of his favorite Coney Island amusement park rides.
The Fun House. The original one at Coney, called Hell Gate, was particularly ominous-looking on the outside…and the one that replaced it for many years at Astroland was wonderfully lurid.
The Tunnel of Love. I believe this was named by Mr. Barry White.
Human Roulette. I have no idea what this one is. It was advertised at the old Steeplechase Park and I just love the way it sounds. Also there were rides called “Razzle Dazzle,” “Cave of Winds,” “Human Pool Table,” and “Down and Out.”
The Carousel. The writer’s friend. From Strangers on a Train to Joni Mitchell to Mad Men, it serves as a metaphor for just about everything.
The Shoot the Chutes. The oldest of amusement park rides, and why not? It’s real basic: one imitation, hollowed-out log, lots of water, big splash. What’s not to like?
The Parachute Jump. Real fast going up, slow coming down, and all the world spread out before you. Beautiful.
The Ferris Wheel. When I was a kid, I lived in a town where traveling carnivals used to show up twice a summer and set up one you could ride in. I could have stayed on that thing forever. A little bit scary, a little bit eerie, totally thrilling.
The Roller Coaster. Invented at Coney, it and always shall be the queen of the amusement park…really the whole reason for its existence. The simulation of violent death without the messy payoff—the core of modern amusements.