Coney Island’s Luna Park is bracketed by its two major roller coasters—one old and wooden, the other new and made of steel. The former is the Cyclone, located by the West 8th Street-NY Aquarium subway stop. The wood-tracked landmark has been terrifying riders since 1927, and still stands today despite the many changes that have taken place around it. Walking west down the Boardwalk from the Cyclone, you’ll find the Thunderbolt—a new roller coaster built in 2014 that shares its name with an old wooden number that operated from two years before the Cyclone opened until the 1980s.
The Cyclone’s vintage neon signage, shaky waiting platform and bumpy ride make you feel like the Coolidge administration never ended; the smooth steel track, loops and twists, and automated departing message at the Thunderbolt assure you you’ve returned safely to the 21st century. We sent two of our thrill-ride correspondents to the seaside amusement district, where they rode both coasters. (Watch the videos below.) Which is more thrilling? See our handy comparison chart below, and then head out to Coney Island to experience them for yourself.
Tale of the Tape
For more summertime fun, visit our guide to Coney Island.