The Parachute Jump is a former amusement ride structure that remains a Brooklyn landmark. 250 feet tall and weighing 170 tons, it has been called the “Eiffel Tower of Brooklyn”. It was built for the 1939 New York World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, and moved to its current site, then part of the Steeplechase Park, in 1941. It is the only portion of Steeplechase Park still standing today. The ride ceased operations in 1964 when the park shut down for good.
The ride was based on functional parachutes which were held open by metal rings throughout the ascent and descent. Twelve cantilevered steel arms sprout from the top of the tower, each of which supported a parachute attached to a lift rope and a set of surrounding guide cables. Riders were belted into a two-person canvas seat hanging below the closed chute, then hoisted to the top, where a release mechanism would drop them, the descent slowed only by the parachute. Shock absorbers at the bottom, consisting of pole-mounted springs, cushioned the landing. Each parachute required three cable operators, keeping labor expenses high.
In 1980, the Parachute Jump was placed on the National Register of Historic Place, and in 1989, New York once again recognized it as a city landmark. The Parachute Jump has been repaired multiple times by New York City and the The City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC). In 2013 Luna Park installed 8,000 space-age LED lights on the Parachute Jump. The lights cost $2 million and will allow the Parachute Jump to enchant visitors to Coney Island with it’s light displays for years to come.