Coney Island’s Dreamland Amusement Park 1904-1911 – Part 2
Coney Island- Dreamland midway on a crowded day
Continuing from part one of our postcard journey through Dreamland Amusement Park at Coney Island, we examine the other features of the park.
At the turn of the century, dancing was possibly the most popular amusement at Coney Island, even more so than bathing at the beach. The Dreamland ballroom reflected this popularity by being the largest ballroom ever built in the United States. Continue reading →
Dreamland Map from Jeffrey Stanton’s site http://www.westland.net/coneyisland/
Dreamland was built on a 15-acre parcel at Surf Avenue and West 8th Street and opened on May 14, 1904. It cost over $3.5 million to build. The park could accommodate over 250,000 people. Ex-State Senator William H. Reynolds was the man behind Dreamland. The original name of the park was to be the Hippodrome, as Reynolds originally wanted chariot races around a lagoon. On the architect’s plans the name was changed to Wonderland, but the name that stuck was Dreamland. With its bright lights and a dizzying array of exhibits and amusements Dreamland was an apropos name.
On the right is a map of how Dreamland was laid out.
The week before Dreamland opened, this ad in the May 8, 1904 New York Evening Sun heralded the pleasures that awaited visitors.
The defining feature of Dreamland was the White Tower built by architects Kirby, Petit and Green and modeled after the Giralda Tower in Seville. It was 370 feet high and had over 100,000 electric lights. Continue reading →
Rare Postcards Of The Upper West Side And Harlem 1900 – 1915
Broadway and 141st Street Looking North circa 1903
Most old postcards depicting turn of the century New York City usually show the typical tourist attractions, landmarks and notable buildings of the city.
It was uncommon for the big postcard manufacturers to produce postcards of average streets, buildings or scenes in New York City for people to send to their friends back home. After all who wanted to see an apartment building on 117th Street and Seventh Avenue?
That is what makes these scenes of New York City and upper Manhattan rather unique. They feature the areas not frequented by tourists. They are photographs, rather than illustrations, and were typically produced in small quantities by smaller or unnamed card manufacturers. The absence of vehicles and people on the streets belies the rapid housing development that occurred in upper Manhattan during the time. Click on any postcard to enlarge.
Euclid Hall Apartments 2349 Broadway, northwest corner of Broadway and 86th Street. This view shows the Euclid Hall Apartments which was built in 1903 by Hill and Turner is a heavily ornamented seven story red brick building. It is still standing and the ground floor has been modernized and now houses commercial businesses.
The William Apartments looking west at 243 West 98th Street, northwest corner of Broadway and 98th Street. The William, a seven story building was completed in 1899 and is currently a condominium. To the right of The William behind the trees is the Arragon at 2611 Broadway. Continue reading →
Postcards of Old New York – Featuring Broadway and Fifth Avenue
These postcards generally depict New York from 1900 – 1920. We are concentrating this batch on the well traveled areas of Broadway and Fifth Avenue.
As the brief description on the card says we are looking south and east along Broadway from Warren Street. The trees on the left belong to City Hall Park. The wide building with the large central rotunda is the main branch of the General Post Office, which was demolished in 1938. Behind the Post Office stands The Park Row Building, which at 391 feet was the tallest office building in the world when completed in 1899. The Singer Building surpassed the height of The Park Row Building in 1908. To the right of The Park Row Building stands the 26 story St. Paul Building built in 1907 and demolished in 1958.
Interesting to note: the flags are at half-staff on the Postal Telegraph and Cable Company Building on the right. Continue reading →
A Tale of Three Buildings: Franconi’s Hippodrome, The Fifth Avenue Hotel & The Fifth Avenue Building a.k.a. The Toy Center
The west side of Fifth Avenue between 23rd and 24th streets had been country land well into the middle of the 19th century. The land for many years had been occupied by a quaint tavern and horse changing station.
Franconi’s Hippodrome- Fifth Avenue 23rd -24th Streets (click to enlarge)
On this site in March 1853, Henri Franconi, a European from a long line of equestrian performers, arranged with investors to have an amphitheater built which was then called Franconi’s Hippodrome. This precursor of the modern day circus with performers, animals and chariot races was housed in a large structure shaped like an ellipse and was 338 feet by 196 1/2 feet that could seat 10,000 people and was covered by a red, white and blue canvas supported by a center pole 70 feet in height and a circle of smaller poles 40 feet in height.
It opened on Monday, May 2, 1853, and The New York Daily Times was not impressed with the class of people attending the Hippodrome shows. Attendees they said “…were blacklegs, gamblers, rowdies, and the miscellanea of polite roguery and blackguardism.” The reporter added “The Hippodrome is badly conducted and Continue reading →
Today we will look at the old hotels of New York. In some cases these buildings still stand. For others the names have changed. Some have been converted to apartments or other uses. And some are just a memory. Working our way from south to north let’s look at a dozen of the lesser known of New York’s hostelry’s.
Hotel Marlton just off of 5th avenue circa 1920. The center of Greenwich Village and now a street of endless cut price shoe stores, 8th Street was once a fashionable residential neighborhood. Many famous literary and artistic figures resided at the Hotel Marlton at one time. Starting in 1987 the Marlton was leased as a residence for students of The New School of Social Research. It is now closed as a hotel and a dormitory, and its future is undecided. Notice on the side of the hotel there is an advertisement for the hotel proclaiming it “absolutely fireproof.” There was a good reason for touting this feature. On St. Patrick’s Continue reading →
A Short Postcard Tour Around New York circa 1900-1915 Part 1
How much has New York City changed? If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a postcard worth? These are all about 100 years old. Let’s start with these five views. We’ll be doing this feature regularly.
Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street looking North approximately 1915
Broadway looking North from Union Square circa 1910
Centre Street 1900
University Street & 9th Street showing Cafe and Hotel Lafayette circa 1914
Park Row showing The Old Post Office looking southwest 1900