Coney Island: The Ride Is Over!

It Will Never Be The Same!
By Noah Wullkotte

Coney Island in Cincinnati, Ohio was originally called Harper’s Grove and opened for business in 1870. It has a rich history as one of Cincinnati’s most cherished theme parks, but I’m not here to give you a history lesson. It’s best known for Sunlite Pool which is the world’s largest recirculating pool. People from all over the country would visit old Coney for the Waterpark and of course the classic rides and carnival games.

Saturday, September 21st was the final night that the thrill rides were operating and the carnival games would be removed. It was a special night where people from all over joined together to watch world class fireworks during Coney Island’s 8th annual Fire Up the Night international fireworks competition. The teams included Korea, Belgium and Russia. Each team had their unique style of fireworks.

There were big colorful bursts of purple, blue, green and every color imaginable. Fireworks sparkled against the night sky as they screamed across the landscape. A large pillow of smoke covered Lake Como and the crowd cheered with excitement and anticipation of what was to come next. Each display had its own soundtrack which best represented the country. Belgium used music from the movie “The Greatest Showman”. Everyone stood out of respect for each country’s national anthem and the crowd went wild after each loud explosion.

Russia walked away as the ultimate champion and Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks finished the night with their fireworks finale that featured an Elton John soundtrack. It was a joyous yet sad night. It felt like a funeral for a loved one. Just imagine how many generations of young children grew up visiting Coney Island and experienced the old fashioned rides. These children are now grown adults and are taking their children to Coney Island for a day of fun. It was cutting edge in its heyday. It was a place where you could escape for one day and forget about your worries of school, heart ache or whatever stress was part of your life. Everyone of all ages was having a blast that night. It didn’t matter if the rides were the latest or greatest. We were all just having good childhood fun.

One of the biggest reasons people visited Coney Island the last few decades was because of the nostalgia factor. There was something special about how the rides were made, how they smelled and the simplicity of it all. Walking around the park with a slice of LaRosa’s Cheese Pizza or a handful of Kettle Corn won’t be the same since all you’ll have to look at are your typical water rides.

Coney Island has changed a lot over the years and has moved away from being a place where families can come together and remember how the old days used to be. Their annual Fall-O-Ween event has been cancelled and everything at the park is going to resemble your every day Waterpark. There’s nothing that separates itself from their competition. Sunlite Pool and Moonlite Gardens are great, but it’s not enough to catch people’s interests year after year.

Flying Aces, Turtle Parade, Frog Hopper and countless other attractions will cease to exist. They’ll soon become a distant memory that will live on in Youtube videos and family photos. Carnival games like Carousel Cup, Jumpin’ Joker and others will either be destroyed or sold off to who knows who. Cincinnati Circus is planning on buying a few rides such as Racing Rockets and Turtle Parade, but it just won’t be the same if they’re not at Coney Island.

Only time will tell what will happen to Coney Island. Will the removal of the rides and games of chance be the death of this legendary theme park or will the expansion of the waterpark be its saving grace? Either way, a Cincinnati icon has been changed forever and there’s no going back. There’s no time machine to reverse the damage that’s been done. The great memories of its past will soon fade as generations that grew up with Coney Island pass away. The park’s founder James Parker would be ashamed of what CEO and President Rob Schutter Jr. have done with the place. A legend is gone forever!

Check out our photo gallery of Coney Island below!