Ralph Avella

Memories of working on the Coney Island Parachute Jump's operation crew at age 16

Ralph Avella
Interview Date:
August 2018


Ralph Avella was the youngest member of the Coney Island Parachute Jump's operation crew. Bensonhurst native Avella was sixteen years old when he began working on the landmark ride in 1961 after graduating from Brooklyn Technical High School. This interview is probably the best description ever of how the Jump operated and what it was like to ride it.  As part of his job, he says he rode hundreds of times including windy days when it was the most terrifying ride you could imagine. His recollections of the crazy stunts that the crew performed on the ride such as flipping the seat are classics! Ralph went on to a career in the NYPD and later became a lawyer with a practice in Brooklyn.

Ralph Avella passed away on June 12, 2023 at the age of 78.