Home > New York > Denos Wonder Wheel Amusement Park > Wonder Wheel > Review Comments

 Review of Wonder Wheel @ Denos Wonder Wheel Amusement Park
4 Rating Posted by: Timberman on 2/18/2007 9:58:00 PM
As a fan of amusement parks, 1970s cinema, and Coney Island, my perfect storm of nostalgic kick-assedness is the opening shot of Walter Hills 1979 gang epic "The Warriors," as the lights on the Wonder Wheel flicker to life. The Wonder Wheel, to Brooklynites, is what I imagine Big Ben is to Londoners, an iconic touchstone and an irreplaceable feature of a unique skyline that has drawn visitors from all over the world.

In person, my initial impression of the Wonder Wheel was that it is almost comically overbuilt by modern standards, with its massive iron gears, bolts, and structural supports looking positively Flinstonian in their immoveability. This construction also gives the ride a creaky, lurching quality that harkens back to another era, when steam engines, coal cars, and the occasional horse-drawn conveyance still powered a thriving industrial economy. How its members were forged and assembled some 87 years ago remains an intriguing mystery to this writer and a testament to American ingenuity and the lengths we will go to in achieving the next increment of attainment in both work and leisure. The Wonder Wheel is also notable for being possibly the only amusement ride with dedicated accomodations for mans best friend, in this case an old German Shepherd who may have once been a guard dog but is now spending his twilight years slowly revolving between the relentless entropy of the mortal coil and the boundless freedom that every notion of cosmic justice tells us should await our good and faithful canines in the Happy Hunting Ground.

Alas, the operation of the Wonder Wheel does not quite live up to the marvels of its size and construction. A ride on the Wonder Wheel is, for the most part, a shuddering series of starts and stops, and loading and unloading comprise almost the entirety of the ride cycle. The fixed perimeter cars, however, offer the best view to be had in Coney Island, while the interior swinging cars provide what for this critic is still one of its most intense experiences. The thrill passes pretty quickly once you realize the car really isnt going anywhere, but the tipping point as the gondola begins to roll forward on its unseen tracks makes for a breathless moment time after time. I would pay double or treble the already hefty ticket price to experience several consecutive, interrupted revolutions of a fully loaded wheel from one of those interior cars. That would likely be as terrifying and exhilerating as a spin on the Cyclone itself.

As things stand, I still cant imagine a trip to Coney Island without at least one turn on Denos featured attraction. Whatever else the future holds for Coney Island, may the massive outline of the Wonder Wheel continue to illuminate that hallowed turf where, like the Warriors, thrill-seekers of every persuasion are drawn home to play-yay.

Review Comments

bumprnugit on 2/19/2007 10:34:39 PM said:
Good review Timberman...I always feel its obligatory to ride the WW everytime I visit Coney Island, as it is eating a Nathans and strolling along the boardwalk; the experience is not complete without it. One of my favorite movie scenes involving the WW was "Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins" in which the hero is being trained in martial arts by a Korean master played by Joel Grey(!) As Remo hangs onto the outside car avoiding the swinging one, he exclaims "Jesus!"; Grey responds "Concentrate! This is no time for prayer!" An OK movie, but a great scene.
hrrytraver on 2/20/2007 7:22:58 PM said:
bumpr, youve just unlodged a memory that hasnt stirred since it was stored in my brain the first and only time i saw that movie in the theatres with my dad in 85(?). 86 maybe? that scene is still there in the sinews of my grey matter, though i dont recall the dialog, just the ferris wheel training. "remo williams" occupies the same general brain file cabinet as "buckaroo bonzai" with peter weller and kurt russels high watermark "big trouble in little china" - i guess they are all brethren in mid-80s psychtronic adventure movie camp, but of the three ive completely forgotten "remo". "BTILC" on the other hand i can recite like a "hail mary".
Timberman on 2/20/2007 10:40:58 PM said:
Wow, I havent thought of Remo Williams in years. The part of that movie that sticks out in my mind is Joel Greys freaky bullet dodge. Im surprisingly hazy on the Wonder Wheel scene, which means that a rental or inter-library loan is in order. Hrrytraver, you left out my favorite from that era and genre, "Barry Gordys the Last Dragon." I still want to be the Shogun of Harlem when I grow up.
hrrytraver on 2/21/2007 10:49:53 AM said:
dag, i wanted to see "the last dragon" real bad as a young, but it came and went and drifted back into the recesses of my mind. i still havent seen it! thats bothersome! i better suss it out asap and notch my 80s camp bedpost. btw, i agree with everything you said in your review and id give the same rating...
bumprnugit on 2/21/2007 9:10:18 PM said:
Going off on a huge tangent: hrry, when you mentioned Peter Weller, I cant help but think of the CI Cyclone scene in the 80s cop movie "Shakedown". Sam Elliot chases a bad guy onto the Cyclone, and he falls off going up the lift hill. Elliots character pulls some weird electrical box off the back of the last car before it plummets over the first drop (Sam remains on the lift, laying on top of a stationary lift chain!) and the coaster flys off the track during a white knuckle turn. The errors in that whole squence make it comical, if not bewildering. Talk about suspension of disbelief!
Post Review Comment
You must login or create an account to post a review comment.

Clicky Web Analytics