The adults-only slide that thrilled Coney Island

How crazy was Helter-Skelter, a whiplash-fast snaking slide designed for adults that debuted at Coney Island’s Luna Park in 1906?


“Participants rode an escalator to the top of a huge chute made of rattan, then slid down the winding slide before landing on a mattress in front of a crowd of onlookers,” wrote Laura J. Hoffman in Coney Island.

Wish I had a time machine to go back and give it a try!

[Postcard: MCNY, 1907]

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5 Responses to “The adults-only slide that thrilled Coney Island”

  1. Shaun Hervey Says:

    “Wish I had a time machine” is often my response when I read something in Ephemeral New York

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Perhaps one day….

  3. Audrey Burtrum-Stanley Says:

    At the beginning of the 20th Century, how innocent and pleasurable was this oddly called ride of delight, making smiles and laughter all around.
    Then, time passed to the mid-century era. The pair of words became a jaunty song’s title, created by a world-wide, favorite musical group. It was never a single but rather a song tucked into the middle of an LP and somewhat forgotten in time.
    Finally, near the end of the century, if you mention the name of the long-before gleeful amusement ride – ‘HELTER SKELTER’ – it had dark ‘n dreadful conotations. Sadly, it evolved into an event of senseless slaughter concluding in life-long prison terms.
    Lastly, a lawyer / author’s book’s title took this name and recorded the sorrowful ‘n wicked story.

    Remarkable, how a simple turn-of-phrase can change so very much; In the span of just 100 years, the words went from one extreme to another – thus was the fate of: ‘Helter Skelter’…

    (1) An Amusment Ride
    (2) A song composed and performed by ‘The Beatles’ used this
    (3) Collectively, the multi-murders of Charles Manson’s family-of- followers called all their vile actions by this name
    (4) A best-selling book, detailing this destructive tale was titled:

    • Tom B Says:

      Thanks Audrey for the complete background for the term ‘HELTER SKELTER’. I only knew about The Beatles and Charles Manson. The same simple turn-of-phrase can be said of the word ‘GAY’ starting back 100 years ago.

  4. Riding an elephant at Coney Island’s Luna Park | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] rides like Helter Skelter, Shoot the Chutes, and the Witching Waves weren’t enough excitement for you, you could always […]

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