City officials are issuing a request for proposals today to install boardwalk amusements and rides on the land west of Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island, and something they're very interested in seeing is a return of a roller coaster to the land that once was home to the Thunderbolt, according to the Post. That coaster was torn down in 2000 after nearly two decades moldering into a heap, a landmark of neglect. Despite some protests, the Thunderbolt was destroyed so as not to spoil the outfield fence view at a new minor league stadium. Maybe if the Mets farm team had been named the Brooklyn Thunderbolts instead of the Cyclones, things would have gone differently.
The Thunderbolt was immortalized in Woody Allen's classic film Annie Hall, in which the protagonist Alvey Singer grew up in a house beneath the coaster—thus explaining his nervous demeanor.
More recently, the short documentary Under the Roller Coaster tells the true story of Mae Timpano, who did live beneath the Thunderbolt for years.
Any proposal to rebuilt the Thunderbolt in Coney Island should include a provision for a small residence on the lot to keep this fertile NYC tradition going.
· Coney Island Coaster Revival [NYP]
· John Miller's Thunderbolt Roller Coaster [UltimateRollerCoaster.com]
· NYC of Annie Hall 36 Years Later [Curbed]