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Long Beach Considers Bringing Back A Waterfront Roller Coaster
It's been a long time since tourists flocked to Long Beach to ride a roller coaster, but one city councilwoman is toying with the idea of bringing some more fun to the waterfront.
Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske said that she will ask her fellow council members to consider a proposal to bring a roller coaster back, according to City News Service. Schipske said, "This would not only bring back an important part of Long Beach's early history but would produce significant tourism dollars, not to mention a lot of fun."
The waterfront in Long Beach had been a big tourist attraction from the turn of the last century through the 1960s. It featured a boardwalk, several roller coasters and rides, but the Cyclone Racer is still an object of nostalgia. (And now The Pike is hardly a shadow of its former self.) It attracted an estimated 30 million riders to The Pike between 1930 and 1968—and one superfan who has been petitioning the city to bring it back again. Larry Osterhoudt, a roller coaster enthusiast, is trying to get the city and investors to consider bringing another big roller coaster back to the waterfront.
He proposes building the roller coaster next to the city's two other tourist attractions—the Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific—and stretching over the water. Osterhoudt's proposal estimates the project would cost $10 million, and he envisions the coaster attracting shops, food booths, arcades and games, like the "Silver Spray Pier" that opened in 1902.
Schipske wants to seriously discuss the proposal at the city council meeting on October 1: "Long Beach has failed to seize many economic opportunities offered in the past years, including Port Disney, Telsa Motors and the porting of the USS Iowa. Bringing back a cyclone roller coaster could potentially revitalize the Queensway Bay development and provide additional synergy for the Aquarium, Shoreline Village and Pine Avenue establishments. We need to check this out."
Schipske pointed out to the OC Weekly that Coney Island in New York is considering a similar proposal to rebuild the "Thunderbolt" roller coaster to revive the tourist attraction: "We can't let Coney Island out do us."
This video gives you an idea of the nostalgia around the Cyclone Racer, which stood through the Depression, the war and midcentury boomtimes:
The Pike and the roller coaster itself were featured in many movies while it ran. Here's a great chase scene from 1936's "Strike Me Pink:"