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Garden Design- January
For Thrills
January/February 2011
Victoria Ross
In 1884, La Marcus Thompson unveiled his Gravity Pleasure Switchback Railway, one of the country’s first-ever roller coasters, at Coney Island, a seaside resort in Brooklyn, New York.  Thus began the era of open-air fun rides, in which Coney Island became home to some of the city’s most thrilling landmarks.  Among those were the 1927 wooden Cyclone roller coaster and the 262-foot-high Parachute Jump, built in 1939.Today, though the Parachute Jump has long stool fallow, and the fate of the Cyclone remains uncertain in light of area development, Coney Island nostalgists can relax, thanks to Brooklyn-based Uhuru Design, makers of the new Coney Island line of furniture, crafted from 70-year-old Ipe planks reclaimed after a section of Coney Island’s boardwalk was upgraded.

The Cyclone Lounger mimics “the chaos of its namesake’s structure,” says Uhuru’s Bill Hilgendorf, with a white, gridlike metal base attached at seemingly random points to 69 inches of undulating wood boards.  The 20.75-inch-high Drop End Table, a dark steel base supporting a faceted circle of Ipe wedges, is modeled after the Parachute Jump, which once treated parkgoers to a 190-foot drop.  Both pieces are unique souvenirs of the historic playground.  Since their inspirations are urban structures, the pair are naturals for brownstown decks and rooftop gardens, but they’re just as fetching set upon a grassy, landscaped yard.  If left outdoors, the disease and insect-resistant Brazilian hardwood will fade, but it will keep its beautiful form for years to come.