Coney Island

I rode Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel in the fog

April 15, 2019 Lore Croghan
The fog lends an air of mystery to Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

The Wonder Wheel is magic. It cured my fear of heights, at least for a few minutes.

The fog had a lot to do with it.

Coney Island was wrapped in a big, wet cloak of San Francisco-style fog on Sunday.

The mist rolled in on a red-letter day for fans of Brooklyn’s seaside playground: Palm Sunday, the start of the Christian calendar’s Holy Week.

Palm Sunday is the traditional opening day for Coney Island’s amusement park rides.

Luna Park had a “soft opening” on April 6 to raise money for a Brooklyn nonprofit called Children of Promise, NYC. As a matter of tradition, though, Sunday was Coney Island’s big day.

There’s the Cyclone in the mist, as seen from the Wonder Wheel. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
There’s the Cyclone in the mist, as seen from the Wonder Wheel. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Just once before in my looong life did I muster the nerve to ride Coney Island’s landmarked Ferris wheel. That was on a sunny day in 2017, when I decided that seeing the famous shoreline’s epic scenery from the top of the 150-foot-tall Wonder Wheel was a bucket-list thing.

The experience was memorable. But I had absolutely no intention of repeating it. It was too anxiety-inducing.

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Stationary cars for scaredy-cats

I changed my mind on Sunday, though, because of the wild and woolly fog.

It made everything look so different when I was strolling along the Coney Island Boardwalk. What would things look like from way up high on the Wonder Wheel? There was only one way to find out.

I chose a stationary car for my trip.

Yes, fellow wimps, some cars on the century-old ride swing back and forth as the wheel turns and some don’t. There are separate lines to stand in so you won’t wind up on a swinging car if it’s more than you can handle.

The Wonder Wheel’s white cars are stationary. The other ones swing back and forth. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
The Wonder Wheel’s white cars are stationary. The other ones swing back and forth. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

When I got into my scaredy-cat car and wheeled up into the misty air, the first thing I eyed was the Cyclone. The landmarked roller coaster was wrapped in a white shroud.

Nearby, the outlines of a ship-shaped ride called the Coney Clipper were barely visible. A striped roof over a merry-go-round was easier to see.

Alongside the Boardwalk, pale sand faded into a gray sea that was indistinguishable from a gray sky.

Such melancholy scenery. I loved it.

Back down on the ground, the fog on the Coney Island Boardwalk is pretty thick. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Back down on the ground, the fog on the Coney Island Boardwalk is pretty thick. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

There was so much to look at and no time to feel panicky. I was only mildly perturbed when a wet breeze rattled the metal grillwork of the car I was sitting in. Those shrieks in the mist didn’t come from me. Really.

After I was back on the ground, I headed down the Boardwalk to look at the landmarked Parachute Jump. It stood like a ghost, silent and just barely there.

If it ever got fixed up, would I be brave enough to ride it? Who knows?

Follow Brooklyn Eagle reporter Lore Croghan on Twitter.

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