Tuesday, January 02, 2007

SnOasis, or, What Happens When You Try To Run A Summer Ride In Winter

Unlike this winter, 1996's was a cold one. The Park, in conjunction with a New York City Top 40 Radio Station, decided to PUT ON A SHOW!!!! An outdoor concert to feature, among others, Noel Gallagher from Oasis. To make it more of an Extravaganza, management decided to open the Bungee Tower for the day.

I was living in Boston at the time, but decided to come down for the show. I hadn't been home in awhile, and this seemed as good an excuse to make the trip as any. Plus, it totally made my Brit Pop-loving co-workers in the record store jealous. So I hopped on the bus and high-tailed it down to New Jersey.

My sister and I arrived at the Park the next morning and made our way out to the tower. Our friend Steve was already there, setting up the airbags. The sun was shining. The air was cold. The stage was set up in the parking lot. Music filtered over-- Alanis Morrissette, Garbage, and, of course, Oasis. Wonderwall, to be exact. It's a pretty song. We heard it about 17 times that day.

Steve and I climbed to the top of the tower, where we realized that, in addition to being cold, it was also windy. And icy. So windy, that the steel cables that attached to the top of the rubber bungee cords (which allowed the jumpers to be safely lowered to the ground after their jump) were blowing off the retrieval arms (used to pull the cord back in to the top of the tower, thus allowing the next jumper to be buckled to the end of the cord.) To correct this, Steve or I had to climb up on to a catwalk above the jump platform and manually reposition the wayward cable. There was no ladder to facilitate this. You had to climb on to the railing and hoist yourself up. It was no big deal in the summer, but factor in the cold and the wind and the ice? Danger! Luckily, neither of us plummeted to our death.

Back to the cold. We had been given a space heater. We presumed it was to keep us warm. Not sure how one puny heater was going to keep two people warm in the middle of a howling gale, we hit on an idea-- Let's take everything out of the equipment locker, put the heater in, and sit in it! Genius! We later found out that we had been given the heater not out of concern for our well-being, but for that of the cords. Seems they were only safety tested to work in temperatures above freezing. Whoops!

So we huddled in our box, listened to Wonderwall on an almost constant loop and prayed that no one was crazy enough to want to jump in those conditions. But, unfortunately for us, there's always someone willing to walk up seven stories in ski boots.

Oh, and Noel Gallagher? He showed up right before his scheduled start time, played two songs and then stomped off the stage and into a waiting limo. Guess the poor fella was cold.

12 comments:

Melissa said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melissa said...

I love Oasis, but Noel is a sulky cur. Salt-n-Pepa were much cooler. Therese, do you remember scaring Spinderella? Yes, the bungee tower afforded us many brushes with greatness...like the time the guy from Fishbone kicked Christie in the stomach...

therese said...

Poor Spinderella, she was so scared! They made her go first. I tried to put her at ease with some joke-y banter, but I ended up having to push her over the edge. Gently, of course. Now Pepa, she went right to, and over, the edge. I think Salt jumped from the other wing.

Angelo Moore! He came out onto the platform before I attached his harness to the cord. Scared the crap out of me.

Preworn said...

Everytime I wonder if it's lame when someone stays at home and plays around with their Playstation or Wii or whatever, I think about amusement park stories like these and can't decide which is the worst way to go. Staying up all night playing Gears of War online or smashing one's neck in five seconds after bungee jumping in the middle of winter.

Can't even think rationally about Alpine Slide stuff and accidents after reading the stories here and on Wiki as well.

Going back to my non-action-filled life of watching 24.

therese said...

Ooh! Our first comment by a stranger! Thanks, preworn!

Colleen said...

I thought there was more starpower to this story. salt n pepa! i know preworn from blogging, and therese, you probably met him at obsessed. the question is, how did he find you before i'd linked to you?

therese said...

Salt-n-Pepa played at the park the following winter, on a much warmer and less windy day. I didn't fear for my life once during the SnoBall, or whatever they called it.

Preworn said...

Yo, yo. I think the way I came here was via Therese's comment in this James Brown thread and her blog linked to her blogger profile.

In fact, I'd put some Skee-Ball tickets on that.

Did Action Park have Skee-Ball or was it too "Olde Timey" for the action.

therese said...

There was no skee-ball, but there was an Olde West Shooting Gallery down in Motor World, the forgotten stepchild of the park.

GoFSU said...

Oasis is lame. I can't believe they were so popular briefly in the 90s. Full of themselves too. They weren't even the best of that time, much less the decade. Kudos to Scott Mills, the BBC One afternoon DJ for openly putting them down both then, and, less often, now because they're history. Salt-N-Pepa, on the other hand, I wish I could have seen.

Ed said...

I almost learned the "cold cord" lesson the hard way. Mark F. and I were "experimenting" on a cold day with a cord we'd just made (off-season, no airbag, just wood chips). I was so psyched that the first jump went well, I ran back to the top of the tower and hooked in - not realizing that the cold cord had not yet shrunk back to it's original length. I hooked in and hopped off - more than a little startled to notice that my feet were about 6 inches over the wood chips at the bottom of the stretch. Oops

therese said...

Nice to hear from you, Ed! Welcome to our little blog.