Casino Pier has taken the first step towards removing its roller coaster that had fallen into the Atlantic Ocean and served as an iconic image of Hurricane Sandy's devastation of the shore, according to Seaside Heights Mayor Bill Akers.
At a recent council meeting, Akers said Casino Pier's owners had readied a 35-page Request for Proposals package, or RFP, and would be sending it out this week to prospective construction and demolition companies and was ready to start accepting bids to remove partially submerged steel coaster known as the Jet Star.
Details about the project and its time frame are sparse as the borough's involvement with Casino Pier's reconstruction is limited, Borough Administrator John Camera said. However, Seaside Heights recently approved a bid to rebuild the entire length of its boardwalk and is hoping to have it open to the public by May 10, putting pressure on Casino Pier to follow a similar deadline.
Attempts to reach Casino Pier officials about the coaster's removal were unsuccessful.
The Jet Star fell into the ocean after the partial collapse of Casino Pier during Hurricane Sandy. The image of the roller coaster in the Atlantic Ocean spread throughout the world on social media sites and was carried by media outlets online, in print and on television.
In the months that have followed Sandy, the coaster has remained standing tall, as if it were constructed from the bottom of the ocean to begin with.
In the days following Sandy, Akers told NBC 4 New York in an interview that he would have liked to see it stay, saying it would make "a great tourist attraction." He later backed off of those comments.
Recently, the coaster again attracted widespread attention when 38-year-old Christopher Angulo climbed to the top of the steel structure and unfurled a large American flag in, as he told WNBC-TV, "an act of patriotism."
Angulo was able to reach the coaster simply by paddling to it. For his efforts he was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing.
Though Angulo's actions appear to be isolated, the ease of accessibility to the coaster by water, as well as its precarious footing in the tide of the Atlantic Ocean, have made it necessary to remove the Jet Star.