Jet Star Leaving, New Ride Coming [VIDEO/AUDIO]
On the same day workers began removing the Jet Star roller coaster from the Atlantic Ocean, Casino Pier officials in Seaside Heights announced a new amusement for summer 2013.
"The Superstorm" should be open to riders by Independence Day. The thrill ride, aimed at older children and adults, has already been assembled.
"The ride is a pendulum, where riders are seated in a circle facing inward," explained Josh Karu with Casino Pier. "It begins swinging back and forth, and it does go upside down."
The name, as many people may have guessed, is a direct reference to the historic storm that made landfall in New Jersey last October.
Officials acknowledged that controversy may arise because of the name, but they said the name serves as a symbol of the strength and resiliency of the Jersey shore.
Crane Removes Pieces of Jet Star Roller Coaster
In the meantime, contractor Weeks Marine is on day two of removing a different symbol from the shore town. The Jet Star collapsed through the boardwalk during Superstorm Sandy and landed upward in the water. Piece by piece, a 150-ton crane is removing the coaster and segments of other rides. The project's initial removal process shouldn't last beyond Thursday afternoon, but additional sonar imaging will make sure all debris is removed before the project is complete.
According to a spokeswoman, the pier is expected to receive a segment of the coaster that it will put on display in 2014 as a tribute to the entire Jersey coastline. Pieces of the ride will not be available to the public.
Many onlookers said removal of the coaster was extremely necessary due to safety reasons.
"It's got to be torn down because it's a hazard right now," said Ron Riker of Long Beach Island.
"Nobody can get injured there now," added Jackson resident Sandy Boldt.
A man was arrested months ago for climbing the roller coaster and placing an American flag at the very top.
- CLICK HERE for photos of the Jet Star demolition
Nearby residents said the official goodbye to the Jet Star was a bittersweet event, especially those who have been visiting the shore for decades.
"I've been down here since the early 60s, and it's like a part of history leaving," said Suzanne Czech of Beachwood. "It's sad."
Some folks saw the coaster's removal as another step forward for the storm-ravaged town. Officials hope to have some rides operating by Memorial Day Weekend on Casino Pier. The owner of Funtown Pier, located at the other end of the boardwalk, said operations won't resume until 2014.