As youngsters, my sister and I were always thrilled at the thought of going to Coney Island’s famed amusement park. It seemed to take forever to get there by train, but it was absolutely worth it. At that time you could purchase Pay One Price-tickets and ride on any ride in the Kiddie Park. Rides mainly consisted of themes and variations on the carousel–with bicycles, whales, boats, etc. taking the place of the famed horses. Later, they added a kid-friendly roller-coaster and rides that went up and down in addition to simply going round and round. We enthusiastically rode until it was time to have a Nathan’s hot dog and then, sadly, return home.
Now all I wonder is when did I begin to hate rides that went up and down and all around?
What possessed me to think I would enjoy going on Rockaway Park’s Tilt-A-Whirl? Oh, I know, I was unable to discern the speed and tilt of the thing. To this day I remember the two young women who fervently prayed over me that I would not have a heart attack. I thanked them profusely and hope they got the opportunity to ride it again. Surely, telling the ride manager that they’d had to keep someone from going completely berserk should have done the trick. Just as bad were my experiences on the Ferris Wheel, Wonder Wheel, rollercoaster and flying planes that were hoisted into the air and allowed you to “fly” them. Absolute terror reigned and my seatmates could do nothing but look on in helpless pity.
I thoroughly loved floating down the relaxing man-made rivers at two particular water parks. However, terror ensued as we climbed up to a high platform and were then guided into a raft and shoved down a water track that had us going so fast we wound up whizzing along the bank of the track. I thought for sure we would tip right over, landing on the unforgiving concrete below.
Another ride had Maria and I climbing to a platform where cheerful young people waited to hand mats to slide down a huge water slide. I’m telling you, had it not been for Maria’s stern and firm command for me to get going, I’d still be standing there. In each case I survived, but had to get over the shakes afterwards.
You might be wondering if I enjoy any other rides in addition to the lazy river types. I really do. One of my all-time favorites are the bumper cars. These days, though, I don’t think my diminishing vision would allow me to steer them well. Indeed, the ride operator might insist that I have a chauffeur.
Are any of you amusement park aficionados? Share your experiences in the Reader’s Forum.