Posts Tagged ‘cedar point’

Ham City Kev’s 2009 Awards

A shitty year to end a shitty decade. 2010 ain’t looking up either. Oh well, here’s how 2009 was in my world:


Madison Square Garden
November 14.

2009 was a pretty fucking slow concert year for me: only 5 shows. The quantity was low, however the quality was pretty solid. The Virgo took me to see Nightwish at the Nokia Theater on May 2, which was cool. On August 26 we were at Terminal 5 for the “last ever” Nine Inch Nails show in New York. It was sadly (although not entirely unexpected) a lousy show, not helped in the least by the sweatbox, deathtrap, dogshit venue that is Terminal 5. Seeing the reformed Alice in Chains at Irving Plaza on September 8 runs a close second to the Metallica show. A few nights later marked my 12th Rasputina show (clip from different show), this time at the revamped Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. A solid venue, despite the annoying hipster-friendly area.

Then, finally, Metallica in November. It was only the second time I’ve seen them, the first being the St Anger (ugh) tour in 2004. On that night, I heard none of my beloved Kill ‘em All. On this night, despite the awesome setlist, still no Kill ‘em All for me–until they closed the show with Whiplash and Seek and Destroy. Fuck yeah! It was the icing on the cake. Hearing Turn the Page–a karaoke favorite of mine–was another huge treat.



Wow, what a total shit year for me musically. I’m not saying AIC’s comeback album is bad, it’s just not that special. And yet, who’s competing with them? Rammstein’s new album pretty much sucked, and Dethklok‘s sophomore release was pretty tired the first time I listened to it. Am I missing anyone else? Someone please tell me. Until I hear from you, Alice wins by default, which is fucking sad–both for the award and for the band.


They changed the original ending–one of my favorite endings of all time–and I still love this movie. That’s a tribute to director Zack Snyder for his painstaking efforts to keep this movie as close to the original 1986 comic mini-series (with the exception of the previously mentioned altered ending) as possible. And c’mon now, can you argue that this isn’t the coolest movie intro of all time? There’s just something about re-creating the Kennedy assassination, complete with splattered brains, that says, “buckle up folks, this movie’s going to be different.” You gotta love a movie that has balls like that.

As far as Watchmen’s competition at the box office this year, I can’t say I saw a lot of other movies. I missed out on big names like Transformers and Terminator due to complete lack of interest. Of the other nine 2009-released movies I saw this year, only 2 gave Watchmen a run for its money. Star Trek was fun, and JJ Abrams deserves a lot of credit for being able to drastically alter the Trek timeline while being absolutely respectful to the fanbase at the same time (and all the in-jokes that were cleverly sprinkled in for the fans were certainly appreciated). The Road was horribly depressing, and very very very well done. However, neither were anywhere near as fun to watch as Watchmen. I may not have seen every movie released in 2009, but I find it hard to believe there’s one better than this.

And for the record, Avatar sucked.



If you want to peruse a wide variety of foods or go on a baseball shopping spree, Citi Field is great. If you want to watch a baseball game, not so much.

We Met fans were told a lot of lies about Citi Field going into the season. We were told there were no obstructed views in the park, and there turned out to be blind spots everywhere–literally. We were told all areas of Citi Field would be accessible to fans, and yet everyone who tries to walk along the second level of seating without a ticket is not allowed access. We were told we’d be blown away, and… we weren’t.

But the lies weren’t the biggest problem. The most frustrating aspect of Citi Field is all the areas in which the Mets could have scored an easy “A” and yet failed miserably, namely: the total and complete lack of Mets history. The unfitting black-colored outfield walls, which were black because a more Met-like blue wall–we were told–wouldn’t work (really?). The total absence of posters, signage, or even blue and orange paint. The fact that it took hundreds of blog entries around the internet like this one to even get our playoff achievements displayed, and even that they fucked up at first. The same can be said about celebrating our former great players within the park, and when they finally listened to us we were supposed to be happy with hidden displays like this.

This is all just the tip of the iceberg. I’m not even going to get into head-scratcher shit like the stupid ugly tarps they threw above the bullpens because I’ve already gone on too long.

Bottom line: it doesn’t feel like home. Granted, a winning ballclub would go a long ways in that respect, and we’ve been made more promises about making it more Mets-centric in 2010, but this is a 2009 review–and in 2009, Citi-Field was nothing more than an over-priced, over-hyped ballpark the Mets seemed to be temporarily subletting until a new, more Met-centered home was built (or until the Dodgers came back from LA). That would explain why we weren’t allowed to paint or hang pictures, or why we didn’t bother unpacking any of the Mets-history stuff.


Sandusky, OH

As I said after I got back, if you’re a roller coaster fan and have toyed with planning a trip to The Roller Coaster Capital of the World: stop toying with it, just go. It’s more than worth it. Crackerman, Siamese Dream, the Virgo and I drove all the way from Queens to spend 2 full days there, and it wasn’t enough. For those who aren’t into roller coasters, you just don’t know. Cedar Point is Coaster Mecca. This is not an exaggeration.

Cedar Point is fucking magic. Where to begin? How about jolt we all got when we first laid eyes on it over the horizon and realized after years of dreaming, “holy shit, we’re actually here. We are actually fucking HERE.” Or maybe our first trip down Millennium Force‘s 300 foot drop at 90+ mph. Or later on during our first day when the bliss that is Maverick somehow bumped Great Adventure’s El Toro out of my Number One Coaster spot. Or the non-coaster thrill rides I wasn’t even considering when we planned the trip like Skyhawk and Power Tower. Or after a day filled with thrill rides and 15 roller coasters, a soothing walk through the stunning Starlight Experience to calm the adrenaline, followed by a dip in our hotel hot tub at 10pm, a walk along the Sandusky beach at 11pm, and frozen drinks until it’s time for bed, as we drift to sleep with the Millennium Force music still happily playing in our heads.

Cedar Point is the fucking best.

Six Flags Great Adventure, our home park, is certainly nothing to shake a stick at. It’s widely accepted as one of the premiere coaster parks in the world. And yet, Cedar Point blows it out of the water–not just for all the reasons listed above, but for what I believe is the most important intangible factor: the staff. It’s a weird thing to celebrate, but it’s deserved. Those kids are probably making nothing yet they couldn’t be happier to work there (it seemed that way anyways–and isn’t that all that counts?). They were having fun with eachother, having fun with the rides, and having fun with the guests. Fun was in the air, and it was intoxicating. You couldn’t help but be on top of the world. Sometimes literally.

Hands down, Win of the Year. Thanks again to Crackerman, Siamese Dream, and the Virgo for making it happen.

“All clear, you’re outta here… enjoy the rest of the day at Cedar Point, America’s Roller Coast. Ride on!”

Cedar Point vs Great Adventure

Cedar Point (Sandusky, OH) vs Six Flags Great Adventure (Jackson, NJ)

Let’s just get right to the spoiler here: Cedar wins, hands down. As a person who absolutely adores GA, it kills me to admit that. However, Six Flags has nothing to be ashamed of here. CP is just unfair in how amazing it is. No amusement park could possibly top it. Sure, Six Flags could learn a thing or two from Cedar Point, but still… it’s like Great Adventure is Tony Gwynn and Cedar Point is Ted Williams.

I just came back from my first Cedar Point road trip with my girlfriend The Virgo, friend Crackerman, and his wife Siamese Dream (formerly unoriginally known as Crackerwoman), hitting Hershey Park (thumbs way up) on the way there and Dorney Park (big let down) on the way back. Upon returning to Queens, we all wanted to turn around and go back. If you are a roller coaster fan and have been toying with the idea of a trip to Sandusky: stop dreaming about it, just do it. Everything you’ve heard about it is true (including the bad–yes, the park layout is horribly frustrating, but you really don’t care in the end). The place is roller coaster heaven. Let’s get to the comparisons, shall we?

(AGAIN, these are by no means definitive arguments, just my own personal opinion)

Top Thrill Dragster vs Kingda Ka
The Dragster is more functional, has a faster moving line, and no shoulder harness. Ka is 36 feet higher and 8 mph faster, edging Dragster for tallest and fastest (456′/128 mph) on Planet Earth, and includes a 129-foot hill after the 418-foot drop for kicks. Do any of these factors make a difference? No. As The Virgo points out, once you break the 100 mph barrier your brain stops comprehending what’s happening. When riding these two, the only thing on your mind is “HOLYSHITHOLYSHITHOLYSHITHOLYSHITHOLYSHIT!” Edge: Draw

Millennium Force vs Nitro
Unfair to pair Nitro up against MF, you say? Maybe not. Each came out around the same time, and each boasts the second-tallest-and-fastest status in their respective parks. Their designs are similar at best, but close enough in my book. What this matchup really comes down to is speed vs air time. MF is a beauty, and at a cruising speed of 93 mph, it’s a joy to ride–but I’m sorry, it just doesn’t have any of the air time I like in a coaster, something Nitro has buckets of. In my book, MF is a 9, but Nitro is a 10 for mixing the amazing speed with solid air. Edge: Nitro

Maverick vs El Toro
If you haven’t ridden both of these rides, you’re probably screaming “you can’t compare a steel to a wooden!” Typically you’re right, but in this case you’re wrong. With the constant amazing speed and ridiculous twists and turns, these rides feel very similar. The difference is that Maverick does all the things El Toro would do if it weren’t restricted to wood standards. Maverick is just… there are few words. “I want to make love to this ride” might be some of them. “I want to tattoo this ride on my face” might be a few more. El Toro, I’m sorry. You were my all-time favorite roller coaster before my trip to Ohio, but now–Edge: Maverick

Raptor vs Batman
All the stats show that Raptor is the better of the 2 inverteds. However, all the stats in the world can’t measure up to the sentimentality I have towards Batman, nor can the stats live in a special place in my heart–where Batman currently resides. Edge: Batman

Wicked Twister vs Superman: Ultimate Flight
I know these 2 rides are nothing at all alike, but here’s why I paired them off: they are both unique to their parks, and have designs you don’t often find in a common amusement park. Besides all the obvious differences, there is one glaring disparity between the 2 rides: Superman looks much better than it rides, Twister rides much better than it looks. Edge: Wicked Twister

Mantis vs Medusa/Bizarro
Let me start off by saying I don’t approve of the Bizarro makeover to Medusa. You know what I approve of even less? Getting my balls squished and having my head battered around, like I did on Mantis. Edge: Medusa/Bizarro

Magnum XL-200 vs Great American Scream Machine
Each ride is celebrating it’s 20th birthday this year. One has aged amazingly well, and is essentially an early-Nitro. The other gets worse and worse, rougher and rougher, and seemingly slower and slower each season. Scream Machine, you were my first true coaster, and we had a long love affair–but these days, if word comes that you’re getting torn down, I sadly won’t shed a tear. Edge: Magnum XL-200

Gemini vs Rolling Thunder
Gemini feels like a race that happens to be a roller coaster. Rolling Thunder is a roller coaster that happens to be a race (bonus points for the “this thing is just going to collapse one day” thrill factor). Edge: Rolling Thunder

Disaster Transport vs Skull Mountain
After years of riding the horrific Skull Mountain when bored at GA, Disaster Transport was a delight. “That is how all in-the-dark rides should be!” I exclaimed after riding it. Don’t ask me why, but for whatever reason, I just freakin love DT. Edge: Disaster Transport

Cedar Creek Mine Ride vs Runaway Mine Train
While the CCMR was fun, the RMT is one of the rare roller coasters on this Earth that scare the shit out of me. It’s so small and so old, I’m pretty convinced I’ll either fall out of it or the train will fall off the tracks. It’s truly a thrill ride. Edge: Runaway Mine Train

Wildcat vs Dark Knight
Wildcat is almost a Wild Mouse-type ride, Dark Knight is secretly a Wild Mouse-type ride. Wildcat is simply more fun because you know it’s a POS coaster before riding it, so there are no expectations. Dark Knight opened with a lot of hype, making one believe there was a legit roller coaster somewhere in its ugly box of a building–and it makes you sit through a too-long movie beforehand. It’s very irritating. Edge: Wildcat


Let’s see then, after counting up the totals, we are dead even at 5-5-1…

…except Cedar Point also carries Mean Streak, Blue Streak, Corkscrew, and Iron Dragon (not to mention SkyHawk, MaxAir, and Power Tower). Give CP another 3 points (because riding ID and the Streaks is better than riding nothing), and GA one (because riding nothing is better than riding Corkscrew).

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. I already told you Cedar was winning at the get go, dummy. CP also wipes the floor with GA in terms of atmosphere, food, and location (not that Ohio is easy to get to for everyone, just that it’s much nicer to be on a peninsula with a beach than in middle-of-nowhere New Jersey). Extra points to CP for the new Starlight Experience at dusk, truly the perfect way to wind down from hours and hours of walking, waiting, and riding.

Bottom line: Great Adventure can be done in a day. Cedar Point can’t, nor should it be.


If I eventually make it out to Six Flags Magic Mountain (a.k.a. Walley World) outside of LA, I’ll have completed what is–in my estimation–the American Trifecta of Coaster Parks. I’ll then let everyone know how it stacks up against CP and GA. In the meantime…

The Top 5 Coasters that Ham City Kev has ridden in his life:
5. Superman: Ride of Steel (Six Flags America)
4. Milennium Force (Cedar Point)
3. Nitro (Six Flags Great Adventure)
2. El Toro (Six Flags Great Adventure)
1. Maverick (Cedar Point)

Full list here.
Youtube playlist here.

If you’ve read this far, that means you love roller coasters. Nice.

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