We’ve been big fans of thirteen.org‘s documentary series The City Concealed since its inception. (If I’m not mistaken, we’ve featured every one of its episodes on this site, and I think I’m the one who suggested the old Fulton Ferry Hotel to them as a possible site to explore!) We’re excited, then, to see another series of documentary shorts from the same production team — this one focusing on New York people, its hidden workers, rather than on its hidden places.
The debut episode of the new series, New York on the Clock, profiles Gerry Menditto, who’s overseen operations on the Cyclone at Coney Island since 1975:
New York on the Clock: Coney Island Cyclone Operator from Thirteen.org on Vimeo.
The producers had this to say during a Q&A on the new series:
Q. What challenges did you face in filming the premiere episode in Coney Island?
Daniel Ross: The most challenging part of filming at the
Cyclone is deciding what not to film. We had four 32GB memory cards,
which can hold about 2 hours of HD video. We spent an hour interviewing
Jerry, and then moved on to shooting B roll. There’s just an endless
amount of visually exciting subjects to shoot in and around Coney
Island. We kept having to remind ourselves of what shots took priority
because it’s so easy to get excited and distracted by all the weird
We can only hope some of the weirdness remains once developers are through with it.
A special shout out to the episode’s associate producer, Susannah Herbert, one of our former students from Writing New York!
Last month my wife and I took my younger sister to Coney Island as part of a whirlwind New York weekend. One of the highlights was riding on the Cyclone. One of the lowlights was standing in line directly across from Menditto while waiting for seats in the second row and having to watch him “surreptitiously” floss his teeth with a rubber band.
Only in New York!
Also, I didn’t want to offer spoilers, but it blew me away when he said how many times he’d ridden the Cyclone.
And although it’s not actually about the roller coaster, I still think of it every time I hear this song. (Ignore the video: I couldn’t find an official version of the song.)