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May 30, 2024

The “Scenic Spiral Wheel” Was an Unusual Ride at Coney Island’s Luna Park From the 1910s

The Scenic Spiral Wheel, better known as The Top, was a unique roller coaster installed in Coney Island’s Luna Park back in 1917. It was a 45 ton, 70 foot diameter steel wheel that was tipped towards its heavier side where it rested on its bottom edge.

Roller coaster track spiraled around its outer rim from its top to its bottom. As the four car train circled the rim of the wheel, its weight changed the wheel's tilt so that the entire rig gyrated around like a top running low on spin. The train slowly spiraled down and covered 3200 feet of track in two and one half minutes. A second train with a separate admission climbed up to the top of the wheel, then descended through a long tunnel.

The wheel was more interesting to watch than to ride, and consequently only lasted through the 1921 season.


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