SEASIDE HEIGHTS – When a new roller coaster opened at a New Jersey beach this past summer, it was named “Hydra” – the name “Hurricane” was even not considered. That’s because this new coaster replaced the old Jet Star coaster that was washed out to sea by Hurricane Sandy.
“Hurricane would have been a bad name all around,” said Carnie Frique, the roller coaster operator. “I mean, we had a hurricane wreak havoc on the Jersey shoreline. I don’t think people want to return to the scene of destruction seeking fun on a ride named after something that caused the destruction. That would be totally messed up.”
Startling images of the mangled roller coaster prompted amusement ride developers to drop “Hurricane” from their list of potential names.
“Hurricane used to be a cool sounding name,” said roller coaster designer Lonnie Fassdropp. “It had a thrilling sense of danger, evoking the feeling of high winds sweeping through your hair as you whipped around curves. Now with all the hurricanes we’ve been having lately, that name makes you think of high winds actually blowing things over, maybe blowing people through the air and millions of dollars in damage.”
The name Hurricane might also make people question the safety of roller coasters, although coaster owners make safety a top priority, while hurricanes are wreckless, with no sense of safety at all. Over the last few years, two old Hurricane roller coasters were torn down, one in Dania Beach, Florida and the other at Adventureland on Long Island, eliminating fears from actual hurricane destruction. Other Hurricane coasters in the country are going to be renamed with something less threatening than a natural disaster. Developers are considering other fear-inducing names for roller coasters, such as “Job Interview” and “Thanksgiving Dinner With Relatives.”