I’d always loved the Velvet Underground song “Coney Island Steeplechase” from the Another View rarities CD.
But I never got the significance of the reference to “a sister and brother that cling to each other” until I saw a bit of the great Coney Island: The American Experience documentary last night.
The Steeplechase was the name of an amusement park, but it was also the name of that park’s greatest attraction–a simulated race in which riders would pair up on mechanized horses that shot down a bumpy metal track. If you were a woman, you’d literally have to cling to your boyfriend like a biker chick clinging to her dude on a motorcycle. It looks way more fun than the mere rollercoaster I’d been envisioning for all these years. Wouldn’t you like to go on a Coney Island Steeple?
The park lasted 67 years and closed sometime in the early sixties, so Lou Reed definitely had ridden these things as a child. Remind me when I’m a famous rock star to do a song about the Phantasmagoria ride at Bells.