Despite the chance of rain, volunteers Melvin DeJesus and Martin Arroyo arrived at Coney Island last Saturday morning prepared to spend the next 12 hours riding the Cyclone at Luna Park to raise money for New York Cares. In honor of the Cyclone’s 85th Birthday, Central Amusement International (CAI) and The Cyclone Roller Coaster hosted the first ever Cyclone Charity Coasterthon. Nine different nonprofit organizations were given the opportunity to ride the Cyclone Roller Coaster continuously to raise money in support of their nonprofit’s mission. The charity with a representative who stayed on the Cyclone the longest received the Grand Prize of $24,000.
New York Cares staff and volunteers (and volunteers in training – Max, Charlie, and Molly, pictured right!) came to cheer on our riders with homemade signs, pom poms, and “go team go” cheers. The day had its up and downs and by cycle 30 four riders had dropped off. After six hour (and nearly 75 laps) our rider, Martin Arroyo, elected to not continue to ride. Six hours on a rollercoaster is definitely quite a dizzying accomplishment, and an unique way to help New York Cares raise money.
As the night progressed, the competition became tough as 8 out of 9 teams remained. After dinner, the riders entered the home stretch with over 100 cycles under their belts. After completing cycle 134 the final eight charities finished strong and split the winning grand prize for their charities. New York Cares was extremely lucky to have Melvin De Jesus leading the charge and bringing home much needed funding for our projects.
A special thanks to Melvin De Jesus, Martin Arroyo, CAI Parks, and Luna Park for making this day happen.
By Pamela Trzop