The MegaWhirl, a prototype that came all the way from a Texas ride factory to debut in Coney Island, will be scrapped if a new home is not found for it soon. MegaWhirl inventor Jonathan Gordon of Gordon Rides contacted ATZ with the sad news: “Just thought you should know, I’ve been working on trying to relocate the MegaWhirl, but the damage from the storm surge has made it almost impossible. If I can’t find anyone to take the ride by the end of next week, the MegaWhirl will be demolished as per the demands of Thor Equities.” For Gordon, who signed his email, “(former) CEO/Lead Designer, GordonRides LLC,” Hurricane Sandy capped off a Coney Island season that had already been a financial disaster and bankrupted his business.
If you’d like the ride, which is said to combine the thrill of the Whip and the Tilt-A-Whirl, you’ll need a crane to disassemble it and four trucks to take it away. The MegaWhirl is on Thor Equities’ Stillwell Avenue lot leased to the BK Festival promoters for Cha Cha’s Steeplechase Park. There were problems at the new park from the get-go. Originally set to open on Memorial Day Weekend, the park was not able to open till four weeks later. Filing of paperwork with City agencies and bureaucratic red tape was blamed for the delay. City permitting issues relating to fencing closed the park intermittently and irregular hours had some visitors asking if and when it was open.
When the park closed after Labor Day, the rest of the rides and equipment were moved from the property. Only the MegaWhirl, Ray’s Basketball trailer and the Zipline still remain on the BK Festival lots, which are now being used by insurance companies as a temporary parking lot for the many cars from the neighborhood totaled by Hurricane Sandy. Tow trucks come in and out all day.
“Thank you for all of your help and support,” Gordon writes. “I’m looking forward to closing this awful chapter of my life and moving on to other things.” Here’s a promo video made in happier days of a group of American Coaster Enthusiasts going for a test spin at ride manufacturer Larson International’s factory in Texas.
Gordon grew up in Westchester County and went to Playland Park as a boy, where he rode the Whip and other classics. “That influenced me quite a bit,” he told ATZ last year, when we first wrote about the ride (“New Ride: The Whip + Tilt-A-Whirl = MegaWhirl,” ATZ, June 28, 2011). “The rides were beloved and they’re just not around anymore.” Gordon also worked in the superintendent’s office at Playland before going to engineering school and blazing his own trail as an independent ride designer. He holds numerous patents in roller coaster and ride design, including one on a “multi-track multi-vehicle interactive roller coaster.”
Related posts on ATZ…
November 13, 2012: Coney Island’s Eldorado Wins Lease But Bumper Cars Soaked by Sandy
November 9, 2012: Update on Coney Island’s Amusement Area After Sandy
May 1, 2012: MegaWhirl Ride Prototype to Debut in Coney Island
April 19, 2012: Rides Return to Thor’s Stillwell Lots for 1st Time Since 2008