LaMarcus Thompson's Cyclone was first opened to the public on June 26, 1927, 4 decades after its invention. The iconic Cyclone, situated on the corner of West 10th Street and Surf Avenue, is one of the country's oldest and still functional amusement rides. Anyone who visits Coney Park has to ride this historic rollercoaster.
Brothers Irving and Jack Rosenthal developed the concept for the Cyclone project. They purchased land in Coney Island and hired the services of renowned roller coaster designer Vernon Keenan to execute the project. Keenan operated using formulas and concepts developed by LaMarcus Thompson. Thompson earned the reputation of being the "Father of Gravity” due to the success of the Cyclone.
At the time of its inception, it cost a quarter to ride. Today, visitors are required to pay $10 for a ride. The roller coaster moves at 97km/h and takes visitors over 27 elevation changes and 12 drops in approximately 2 minutes. The track is 2640 feet long and has a maximum height of 85 feet. LaMarcus designated it to operate at a maximum capacity of 1440 rides per hour to ensure that the Cyclone was safe.
It cost $175,000 to build the Cyclone – that’s nearly $3 million in today’s dollars! Luckily for Thompson, some of the costs were financed by the state government since it was perceived as a potential business opportunity.