Today in History: Nürburgring opens in 1927

Today in History: Nürburgring opens in 1927

The Nürburgring is a 22.8-kilometer circuit for car and motorcycle racing located in the town of Nürburg in Germany. Some 3,000 workers helped build the “First Mountain, Race and Test Track.” The construction of the racetrack was part of a job creation program of the government for the economically weak Eifel. For decades, the Nürburgring was regarded as the most difficult racetrack in the world. In 1976, Niki Lauda barely survived a terrible accident on the Nordschleife, the “Green Hell.” After Lauda’s accident, Formula 1 races at the Nürburgring were discontinued. Lauda was the only person ever to lap the full 22,835-metre (14.189 miles) Nordschleife in under seven minutes.

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Today in History: The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York in 1885

Today in History: The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York in 1885

134 years ago today, the dismantled Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor after being shipped across the Atlantic Ocean from France in 350 individual pieces packed in more than 200 cases. The statue was a gift of friendship to the United States from the people of France. The copper and iron statue was designed by French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi who named it “Liberty Enlightening the World.” It was dedicated by U.S. President Grover Cleveland on October 28, 1886. At 305 feet from its pedestal to the top of its torch, the Statue was taller than any New York City structure at the time. Today, the Statue of Liberty is one of America’s most famous landmarks and known around the world as a symbol of freedom and democracy.

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Today in History: First Roller Coaster in the USA opens in 1884

Today in History: First Roller Coaster in the USA opens in 1884

On this day in 1884, the first roller coaster in America opens at Coney Island, in Brooklyn, New York. Known as a switchback railway, it was the brainchild of LaMarcus Thompson, traveled approximately six miles per hour and cost a nickel to ride. The new entertainment was an instant success and by the turn of the century, there were hundreds of roller coasters around the country.

Coney Island, a name believed to have come from the Dutch Konijn Eilandt, or Rabbit Island, is a tract of land along the Atlantic Ocean discovered by explorer Henry Hudson in 1609. The first hotel opened at Coney Island in 1829 and by the post-Civil War years, the area was an established resort with theaters, restaurants and a race track. Between 1897 and 1904, three amusement parks sprang up at Coney Island–Dreamland, Luna Park and Steeplechase. By the 1920s, Coney Island was reachable by subway and summer crowds of a million people a day flocked there for rides, games, sideshows, the beach and the two-and-a-half-mile boardwalk, completed in 1923.

The hot dog is said to have been invented at Coney Island in 1867 by Charles Feltman. In 1916, a nickel hot dog stand called Nathan’s was opened by a former Feltman employee and went on to become a Coney Island institution and international franchise. Today, Nathan’s is famous not only for its hot dogs but its hot dog-eating contest, held each Fourth of July in Coney Island. In 2006, Takeru Kobayashi set a new record when he ate 53.75 hot dogs with buns in 12 minutes.

Roller coasters and amusement parks experienced a decline during the Great Depression and World War II, when Americans had less cash to spend on entertainment. Finally, in 1955, the opening of Disneyland in Anaheim, California, signaled the advent of the modern theme park and a rebirth of the roller coaster. Disneyland’s success sparked a wave of new parks and coasters. By the 1970s, parks were competing to create the most thrilling rides. In 2005, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, introduced the Kingda Ka roller coaster, the world’s tallest (at 456 feet) and fastest (at 128 mph).

By the mid-1960s, the major amusement parks at Coney Island had shut down and the area acquired a seedy image. Nevertheless, Coney Island remains a tourist attraction and home to the Cyclone, a wooden coaster that made its debut there in 1927. Capable of speeds of 60 mph and with an 85-foot drop, the Cyclone is one of the country’s oldest coasters in operation today. Though a real-estate developer recently announced the building of a new $1.5 billion year-round resort at Coney Island that will include a 4,000-foot-long roller coaster, an indoor water park and a multi-level carousel, the Cyclone’s owners have said they plan to keep the historic coaster open for business. Source: history.com.

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Today is National Lobster Day

Today is National Lobster Day

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Today in History: The World’s First Auto Race in 1895

Today in History: The World’s First Auto Race in 1895

124 years ago today, Emile Levassor became the winner of arguably the world’s first official automobile race from Paris to Bordeaux and back. After 732-miles, Levassor crossed the finish line in Paris in his Panhard et Levassor car in just under 49 hours with an average speed of 15 miles per hour – an impressive achievement at the time. Other motor events had taken place prior to 1895 but they were not considered “official races” but “motoring exhibitions” that included limited competitions. Panhard et Levassor became a major force in the developing French auto industry. The success of the Paris-Bordeau-Paris race prompted the creation of the Automobile Club de France. The organization promoted future motorsports events that would eventually grow into the Grand Prix motor racing and Formula One.

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Today in History: Christo born in 1935

Today in History: Christo born in 1935

The avant-garde artist known as Christo (Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, born in Bulgaria) is turning 84 today. Christo is famous for his spectacular, large-scale installations. He and his wife have wrapped the Reichstag in Berlin, the Pont Neuf in Paris, and turned New York’s Central Park orange with his project The Gates. But even at age 84, Christo shows no signs of slowing down. We can’t wait to see what he has planned next.

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Today is National Red Rose Day

Today is National Red Rose Day

National Red Rose Day honors the flower that is a symbol of love and romance. Red roses were used in many early cultures as decorations in wedding ceremonies and wedding attire. It was through this practice that, over the years, the red rose became known as a symbol of love and romance. The tradition of giving red roses as the strongest message of love is still practiced today.

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