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Build your own Astroland
September 9, 2008 4:36 PM   Subscribe

Sure, you're sad that Astroland at Coney Island has closed for good. But buck up, l'il Astro-nut! You can buy the rides and build your own! (Astroland's website is still active for now.)
posted by Fuzzy Skinner (23 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oooooh, that would be awesome to put the Pirate Ship up in my back yard.
posted by Eekacat at 4:40 PM on September 9, 2008


(Closed for good as as of this coming Sunday; there's still time for a visit!)
posted by ericost at 5:03 PM on September 9, 2008


What's happening to The Cyclone.
posted by splatta at 5:05 PM on September 9, 2008


err... question mark.
posted by splatta at 5:06 PM on September 9, 2008


The historic Cyclone, a roller coaster, and the Wonder Wheel, a Ferris wheel, are not affected by Sunday's closure because they are separately owned.
Source
posted by fixedgear at 5:13 PM on September 9, 2008


What's happening to The Cyclone.

Apparently, the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel are staying. The Wonder Wheel is an official New York Historic Landmark, and the Cyclone (which is as well, I think) isn't part of Astroland, it's just right next door.

My opinion is they should put the Astro Tower atop the spire of the Empire State Building, but what do I know?
posted by Jon_Evil at 5:14 PM on September 9, 2008


I just got a whole new collection of ideas for converting the backyard into a playground for the kids.

who wants to buy us some bumper cars?
posted by davejay at 5:25 PM on September 9, 2008


God, it looks like the worst kind of super-tacky nightmare place - worthy of some long withering Northern English seaside town. Is its nastiness part of the charm? Or are the pictures of the rides incredibly unflattering?
posted by Brockles at 5:32 PM on September 9, 2008


I have an unpleasant history with this place.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:34 PM on September 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


From the site:

This CNN.com feature is optimized for Adobe Flash Player version 8 or higher.

You are currently using Flash Player -1

That's right, bow down, I found the Minus World in Adobe Flash!
posted by The Power Nap at 5:46 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Having Astro as part of its name is apparently not a good thing for amusement parks. I still get really sad when I remember childhood trips to Houston's Astroworld - coincidentally, the former home of the Texas Cyclone, a classic woodie coaster based on the Coney Island original but which is now a razed and redeveloped plot of land across the freeway from the Astrodome... which is standing empty and looking small in the shadow of Reliant Stadium.

Sigh.

At least the Astros themselves are playing well. Too little too late, of course...
posted by John Smallberries at 5:46 PM on September 9, 2008


Ack. The park is a razed and redeveloped plot. Well, the coaster is too, but I meant the whole cheesy shebang that was Six Flags Astroworld.
posted by John Smallberries at 5:50 PM on September 9, 2008


which is standing empty and looking small in the shadow of Reliant Stadium.

It really is amazing how small that space looks without the parks there. It felt so huge when you were there.
posted by Cyrano at 5:51 PM on September 9, 2008


Damn. You see things that you'd buy if you were really rich. I don't know, like nice cars and stuff. But me, if i was even sort of rich, I'd buy Astroland's Scrambler without a moment's hesitation. Put it in my backyard. Less than 30 grand. It'd be cheap at twice the price.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:29 PM on September 9, 2008


For some reason I'm having a hard time convincing my wife that, rather than spend a few hundred thousand dollars on a house somewhere, we should make Dante's Inferno our new home.
posted by JaredSeth at 7:33 PM on September 9, 2008


DTMFA!!!!

Oops. Sorry. Wrong section.
posted by Brockles at 7:52 PM on September 9, 2008


A better question than "What is happening to the Cyclone?" would be "When are they going to clean up the syringes from the Coney Island beach?"

I have visited New York City and Coney Island once. The Cyclone was fun, but getting my chipped teeth fixed was not.
posted by clearly at 11:38 PM on September 9, 2008


I made a special trip to Coney Island last month so the kids could see the beauty, splendor, clean wholesomeness and all around good time had by all that is Astroland.

Christ, what a shithole.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:12 AM on September 10, 2008


Last year at around this time, when everyone said Astroland was going away, I went with my gf at the time and rode the Cyclone one last time and said my goodbyes.

Then it opened again this summer. I couldn't really say goodbye again so I just stayed away this summer entirely.

Now it's really gone and I feel slightly ahead of the curve.
posted by godisdad at 12:49 AM on September 10, 2008


Last year at around this time, when everyone said Astroland was going away, I went with my gf at the time and rode the Cyclone one last time and said my goodbyes.

Then it opened again this summer. I couldn't really say goodbye again so I just stayed away this summer entirely.


Dontcha hate that? It's like when someone is leaving town for school or a job, and you say your goodbyes, and overcome your typical guyness for long enough to hug and mumble something about missing the person... then you see them at WalMart the next day.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 6:25 AM on September 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


God, it looks like the worst kind of super-tacky nightmare place - worthy of some long withering Northern English seaside town. Is its nastiness part of the charm?

Some would say so, yes. That's the short answer.

The long answer (she said, donning her armchair-historian's hat and her "No Sleep 'Till Brooklyn" t-shirt) is that Coney Island got its start as, and to an extent still prides itself upon being, an amusement park for the average-Joe working-class person. At it start it was the seaside resort that working-class people could go to, the people who couldn't afford to get out to the sea in Long Island or on the Jersey Shore. All you have is a couple bucks leftover from the week and a nickel more for the subway? No problem! You can still have fun!

The problem with that, though, is that things can get a little...seedy, both in terms of cleanliness -- as you've noticed -- and in terms of the KINDS of entertainment offered. Alongside the rides, at times Coney Island featured sideshows, burlesque shows, and even a "midget village" at one point. The "midget village" is gone, but there is a recently-added feature on the boardwalk -- people pay a couple bucks for three rounds with a paintball gun trying to "shoot the freak," a costumed person running around inside a 20-foot-by-20-foot pen. (A recent article I read states that this "freak" this summer was a teenager who was willing to take on a more unusual summer job than the norm, but in summers past the "freak" was a little person who took on the job on his days off the side show.)

Personally, I think a certain degree of seediness is actually okay -- people actually like to sometimes get a cheap thrill and tell themselves they're pushing the envelope and being a little wild, even though in truth they're perfectly safe. But it can be very tough to figure out how much seediness is titillating and how much is creepy. Everyone has a different threshhold for that. Also, a lot of the weirder and more "unique" entertainments WERE just that -- unique. A lot of the people who were opposed to closing Astroland were afraid that it would go the way of Times Square -- yes, closing down the two solid blocks was a good thing, but could we not have replaced them with something more unique than 3 GAP outlets and a Starbucks'? There are a lot of "Six-Flags" type of amusement parks in the country, went the argument, but there is only one Coney Island, and some of that uniqueness should be preserved. It's exactly how to preserve that uniqueness that no one could agree on, and how much of the seediness went INTO that uniqueness.

I think a lot of the scattered highlights of Coney Island -- the Cyclone roller coaster, the Wonder Wheel ferris wheel, the original Nathans' hot dog stand -- will stand, mainly because they are individually such landmark sites that there'd be a near revolt if they were endangered. The museum devoted to Coney Island history isn't going anywhere, and a couple buildings from Coney Island's heyday are being restored (one has even gotten landmark status and is even being re-opened as a roller rink). The question is how much of the surrounding area will be homogenized, and how much will be in the "cheap thrills" spirit of the place.

....Yeah, I'm verbose when I get going. But I'm done now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:54 AM on September 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


D'oh -- in the paragraph about Times Square, one sentence should have read:

"A lot of the people who were opposed to closing Astroland were afraid that it would go the way of Times Square -- yes, closing down the two solid blocks OF PORN STORES was a good thing, but could we not have replaced them with something more unique than 3 GAP outlets and a Starbucks'?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:55 AM on September 10, 2008


If everyone who's ever started the registration process on MetaFilter contributes one dollar, the ten-year meetup will be awesome.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:15 PM on September 10, 2008


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