May 16, 2008 5:32 AM   Subscribe

Me and a friend want to play chess on a roller coaster this weekend. In Coney Island. Please help.

A) Can you confirm either the existence or the certain non-existence of one of those photo-taking cameras on the Cyclone coaster at Coney Island?

B) I'm flying into EWR from ORD this afternoon. Do you know of anywhere between ORD and Manhattan that I can find one of those mini-chess boards for said roller coaster riding? Preferably somewhere on the west side, if in the city.

C) How long is the train ride out to CI from Union Square-ish? Friend has to be back in the city for a bus by 5:00.

Best answers will be rewarded with picture links. Thanks.
posted by allkindsoftime to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: A friend and I. late night=me talk like 3 year old
posted by allkindsoftime at 5:35 AM on May 16, 2008

Coney Island to Union Square should take you between and hour and an hour-fifteen. Take the Q train.
Can't help you w/ the other questions. Sorry.
posted by brevator at 6:10 AM on May 16, 2008

Ooops, reverse Coney Island and Union Square. Same amount of time.
posted by brevator at 6:12 AM on May 16, 2008

Potential bubble burster here. When I rode the Cyclone in 2006 it definitely did not have a camera set up. It's a pretty low-tech operation down there. I would be surprised if one has been installed since then, but you never know. You could try calling the general Astroland amusement park number and see what they say: (718) 372-0275. The ride from Union Square to CI would probably be around an hour on the N train. Maybe a little less.
posted by otolith at 6:12 AM on May 16, 2008

Oh, as for the chessboard, someone else might have a better idea, but I'm sure you could find one at Toys R Us in Times Square. It's on Broadway at W. 44th Street. If you're coming into Manhattan from EWR, you may end up near the Times Square area anyway. Good luck, and I hope I'm wrong about the photo situation.
posted by otolith at 6:22 AM on May 16, 2008

The cyclone does take photographs. I would check, though, to make sure it's open right now - my brain says they were closing down Astroland. Pretty sure the cyclone is staying open for business, but they're doing lots of construction in that area, so you might want to check before you make the trek down there.
posted by puckish at 6:23 AM on May 16, 2008

Hah! Yep, looks like I was wrong.
posted by otolith at 6:41 AM on May 16, 2008

Best answer: The cyclone definitely has a camera set up now because the funniest picture in existence was taken on it last summer. There's a game shop on broadway a few blocks south of union square (it'll be on the right side of the street), it has expensive games, but I'm sure they have a cheap chess set in there somewhere (google look). There's also a drug store in union square that might have it. Be careful, the cyclone is crazy fast and they tell you to put everything away because it will go flying. The sign says glasses and you might think, oh, I can hold onto my glasses, but trust the sign. Trust the sign. There are a bunch of people who work there who will yell at you about having anything out, so be prepared to be sneaky.
posted by history is a weapon at 6:47 AM on May 16, 2008

Best answer: Might I suggest some other scenarios that play out well on a roller coaster? Just in case you can't find a chessboard. A friend and I were Six Flags junkies a few summers in a row in the mid-90s, and tried all sorts of things. Complexity is key here. The more complex, the funnier it is. Here's a few we did:

-Read a book. Make it a heavy classic -- War and Peace, the Bible. In a pinch, a park map works really well in this situation. Reinforce it with some tape if necessary. One person can be holding it open, while the other looks on pointing.

-Fake a robbery. One person holds an obviously-fake-looking water gun and points it at person #2, who holds a bag full of "money" and looks on horrified. Put a big $ on the outside of the bag.

-Negotiate a business deal. Both people put a tie around their neck, throw some glasses on, and shake hands with a smile on your face. Because that's everything involved in a business idea, you know?

-Play in a band. Back in the day, you could win those big, blow-up guitars from various booths in Six Flags. This works especially well if you get four of them, and get two rows of the car involved. Wear some wigs, some funky sunglasses. Sneak them on in your pockets, and blow them up quickly on the slow ride up the first hill.

Sadly, we were teenagers and poor, therefore never actually purchased any of the pictures. We did it to watch the reaction of the other people who went up to the booth to look at their picture. Occasionally, other random people would buy pictures of us.
posted by nitsuj at 7:26 AM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I rode the Cyclone and bought the souvenir picture yesterday. So you're safe.

history is a weapon is right, though, it was indeed crazy fast, and they do indeed yell at you to put your stuff away. So be careful.

Budget an hour for the ride out and back on the N or the Q.
posted by doift at 8:20 AM on May 16, 2008

You might look for the smallest board that has magnetic pieces. In Jared & Renea's board, the pieces are glued on (like the cartoon). It's going to be hard to sneak a glued-piece board onto the ride.
posted by MtDewd at 8:32 AM on May 16, 2008

Best answer: The Village Chess Shop near Washington Square Park has everything chess related, all types of price ranges too. The magnetic boards would be a good option, or the smaller travel sets that fold up would be easier to sneak in.
posted by slyrabbit at 11:20 AM on May 16, 2008

Buy a cheap board, and glue the pieces to the board. Otherwise, I'd fear falling pieces and a lot of trouble, even if the board's magnetic.

For extra stupid shenanigans, make it Guess Who instead of Chess, but I don't know if you could keep the flaps from moving around in the wind.
posted by explosion at 12:16 PM on May 16, 2008

Updates? :)
posted by artifarce at 12:33 PM on September 11, 2008

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