Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Six Flags Great Adventure - Nitro

Photo by Dusso Janladde
Now this is a great roller coaster. It's almost the steel equivalent of El Toro.

We tried to ride Nitro when it first opened a few years ago, but it was late in the evening, the line was too long, and we were tired and just wanted to go home. (Basically the exact same thing that happened this year with the Dark Knight.) I also just wasn't sure it'd be worth it - it looks like it just goes up and down a few hills. Big deal, I thought. No loops? No sale.

At the time it was built, this was one of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the world. That was its claim to fame. I'm not really buying this biggest/fastest marketing when it comes to roller coasters, but I was made a believer when it comes to this one.

I took that picture with my cell phone - came out pretty good, right?

First, the lift takes you up 230 feet, but it feels really high. I think a big part of it is just how long it takes and how much time you have to let it sink in. It's not like Kingda Ka, where you're up and down so fast that you don't even realize it. On Nitro, you get up about halfway and all the sounds of the park melt away. Then you've got about another minute of nothing but the clink of the lift before the drop. The lift is pointed away from the park, so it starts to feel like you're just out in the woods, drifting up into the clouds. Near the top, it feels like there's nothing propping you up - you can't see the supports or anything. It's a scary lift; they really designed it well. This is usually not what you'd call an exciting part of a roller coaster ride, but it's one of the best parts on Nitro.

Not that the rest isn't exciting. The first drop is massive negative G's at close to 90 degrees. Then it's just a succession of hills and drops that don't stop for about 3 minutes. This is one fast ride, but very smooth, so you're never quite expecting the upward pull (airtime!) as you hit the crest of a hill. It really does feel like the train is going to just rip itself off the track and go flying - this track has gotta be mighty strong.

Oh, and the only restraint is what amounts to a glorified lap bar. No shoulder restraints at all, and no floor that I remember. I love this - it feels like you're just out there in the open air.

One thing about me and roller coasters is that I can never let go of the restraints while I'm riding. Seriously, I look like an idiot - I've seen the pictures. I've been trying to change that. But riding Nitro didn't really help. You know, I'm not worried about anything but the ride itself breaking in some way and sending me plummeting to my death, and I can't shake that. "Final Destination 3" type shit. It does happen. I still enjoy the hell out of the ride, I just can't let go of the restraints.

This is me and my wife on a roller coaster:

(Not really.)

I know I said I wasn't gonna do this, but this sort of captures what Nitro is like... you've really gotta imagine that airtime, though:


  1. This is only sort of related:
    Do you recall when the Apollo's Chariot coaster opened at Busch Gardens? That's when Fabio was there to promote it and got hit in the face by the goose on the his maiden voyage. He was bleeding and everything.
    That's my favorite roller coaster story.
    I couldn't ride the Nitro. The drop would make me hyperventilate! They'd need to slap me with a goose to wake me up!

  2. I totally forgot about that Fabio story, though I sort of remember hearing about it at the time. That is funny.

    I think Nitro and Apollo's Chariot are the same style of roller coaster. "Apollo's Chariot" is kind of a weird name for a roller coaster, though, isn't it? It doesn't exactly evoke feelings of danger. My first roller coaster that I remember was "Willard's Whizzer" in California, which is the same kind of thing. I remember I was constantly asking my dad who Willard was whenever we rode it. Eventually they just dropped the Willard and it just became "The Whizzer", which is still kind of goofy.


About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP