My first roller coaster ride on the infamous Thunderbolt in Coney Island New York sometime in the mid 1970’s; I experienced it upon exiting a magic carpet fun house across the street which also no longer stands today. I recall I rode the Thunderbolt twice that day and never again did I see it operate; it faded into history; as did my rides on the Wild Mouse and the Diving Bells. I recall a time when Spook-A-Rama was a third larger than today. Where did these rides come from? Who built them? Where did they go? What is that pile of rubble?
According to a variety of family members, I was most happy in amusement park, zoo and carnival environments. Between the ages of 1-5 we went to local New York City destinations just to shut me up. Though I was too young to ride anything, I was quietly mesmerized by the settings. I still recall wanting to ride the Batman slide at Adventurers Inn.
Then came stories of family outings at area parks such as Palisades before my time, more outrageous, colorful and more enticing than ever. It was these visions and that made my childhood imagination go wild and became the foundation for my life interest of the Amusements. I had dreams of rides like "The Spiral Coaster" and fun houses, to only see them in documentaries years later; (make of that what you will). Everyone seemed happy at amusement parks; grungy as they were in the late 70's and early 80's, the music, the food and laughter was in the air. Living in a big city, it was nice to know there was a place where reality disappeared.
When I was able to earn income in my youth I was always plotting my next visit to Coney Island for a Cyclone ride; then came the year of Backfire when the Cyclone was never scarier. Of course, as I aged my scope widened. The next thing I knew, I wanted to visit other area parks just out of reach like the newly opened Great Adventure. All the while the Thunderbolt sitting idle, deteriorating and Rockaways Playland bulldozed for houses. In winter I'd make the subway trip to Brooklyn to explore abandoned Coney Island grounds and attractions like a haunted house (alone in the dark). Once I buying a ticket to the (still memorable) World of Wax Musee - featuring evil, violence, murder and torture scenes (which also should have not been experienced alone at my age). I did not have the resources to photograph this era of my life. One day watching T.V. I saw a news Article about the opening of the American Eagle at Great America, I vowed to go there one day.
As I gained independence I become a coaster fanatic. I was always seeking newer, taller, faster experiences; often I’d pass up historical parks just to feed this need. Thankfully along the way I was smart enough to take pictures; not many and often not good. I knew nothing of camera quality, viewfinder accuracy, composition, aperture, and held back by film developing costs. Along the way I passed up Boblo Island, Crystal Beach, Boardwalk and Baseball, the CNE and so many others for one reason or another. These parks and their rides would all be removed from the landscape just like the Coney Thunderbolt would.
I have grown to learn and understand how and why the industry changes and how much I've seen "first hand". Today, I have friends and belong to clubs who embrace my passion. I never openly mock and existing ride or park; as someone is probably having fun even in places where I'm jaded. Many professionals put effort into these places and rides, who am I to be critical of them? Who would ever think that parks like Geauga Lake, Astroworld, Nara Dreamland, Opryland, Frontierland (UK), Conneaut Lake, Libertyland, Pavilion or Elitch Gardens shut down? Thankfully, I evolved from a Thrill seeker to somewhat of a documentarian. There are even some coaster types I will no longer ride. Through video's, photographs and collectables I have captured many memories that may never be obtained again. My photographs have been featured in books, magazines, newsletters and even in park materials. I will continue to document, collect and present as one really never knows what park or ride will be next to fall victim to the next big idea. Also, one never knows what resources may inspire an existing park to research the past to resurrect rides as Astroworld, Great Escape, Knoebel's, Magic Springs and others have done. Now with 800+ roller coaster credits - my personal goal is to ride 1,001. A feat seemingly grand, but not for some. From my humble begging's it's a dream. If it weren't for personal hurdles in my way since 2014, I'd be much closer to 1,001 today. Now, I share with you an ever expanding web site of these experiences, fun and memories (I still have much to sift through). Loopyguy.com is a site for those needing a diversion or to visualize park history. No banner ads, rumors, or news; thanks for visiting and hopefully I you find some amusement here.