Photo courtesy of Joel@CoasterGallery.com
As we reported last week, the status of Rye Playland is very much up in the air. That’s after the City of Rye and Mayor Joe Sack filed suit against Westchester—which recently reached an agreement with private investment group Standard Amusement LLC to invest millions in park renovations and upgrades—citing alleged failure to meet environmental-review mandates.
But try not to flip out yet. In fact, the pending litigation should provide more incentive to celebrate this National Roller Coaster Day, given that Playland’s historic Dragon Coaster is a widely recognized amusement-park treasure. Opened in 1929, the 85-foot-high wooden thrill ride reaches a speed of 45mph and carries riders a total of 3,400 feet. And in its honor, and regardless of what the future holds, we’ve gathered some essential trivia and more obscure, fun facts about the iconic fixture.
- Only three coasters designed by Frederick A. Church remain in operation, and Dragon Coaster’s the last East Coast structure standing. (The other two in San Diego and Santa Cruz, CA.)
- The Dragon Coaster was designed just as the so-called “Golden Age of roller coasters” came to a close. During the 1920s, nearly 2,000 coasters were constructed across America.
- The largest drop (128 feet) will fulfill your medieval dreams of being swallowed by a dragon. Oh, and it now breathes fire.
- At point during the ride, parkgoers get whipped through the full length of the dragon’s body.
- It was a sweet, sweet “Fantasy” for Mariah Carey in 1995 when she got to film the hit single’s music video while braving the Dragon Coaster.
- In 2009, the Dragon Coaster was awarded the ACE Roller Coaster Landmark, which American Coaster Enthusiasts bestows on rides of historical.
- Though even 87 years ago, risk-takers realized they were in for something special.
Want to support your local amusement park and take a literal ride up and down memory lane? Playland is open Tuesday-Thursday from 11am-10pm, Friday and Saturday from 12am-12pm, and Sunday from 12-10pm.