Tag Archives: Coney Island

Coney Island on July 4 in the 1930s

2 Historic Photos Show the Enduring Popularity of Coney Island

This is what Coney Island looked like in the 1930s:

Coney Island July 4, 1934

Coney Island July 4, 1934

Million Turn Out At Coney Island

Here’s part of the 1,000,000 New Yorkers who visited Coney Island, a summer resort, on July 4 to get away from the heat of the city, as they disported on the beach, many of them shirtless. Credit line: Acme -7/4/34

Many of them shirtless, imagine that! Don’t you love the old news captions?

While Coney Island doesn’t get a million visitors a day any more, it still gets crowded during summertime. One thing you might notice: there are probably lifeguards present in their high perch chairs to watch over the throngs of swimmers, but I cannot see any in this photograph.

Below – Coney Island Beach three years later in 1937. Continue reading

Old New York In Postcards #8 – Dreamland Coney Island Part 2

Coney Island’s Dreamland Amusement Park 1904-1911 – Part 2

Coney Island Dreamland general view

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.

Coney Island Dreamland The Ballroom InteriorConey Island Dreamland Bathing Beach

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

Old New York In Postcards #7 – Dreamland Coney Island Part 1

Coney Island’s Dreamland Amusement Park 1904-1911

Coney Island Dreamland at night

Dreamland Map from Jeffrey Stanton's site http://www.westland.net/coneyisland/index.html

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.

Coney Island Dreamland opening ad 1904 05 08 NY Sun

The week before Dreamland opened, this ad in the May 8, 1904 New York Evening Sun heralded the pleasures that awaited visitors.

Coney Island Dreamland Tower Night 2 Coney Island Dreamland Tower Night 1Coney Island Dreamland Tower side view

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

Woodlawn Cemetery Memorial Tells A Coney Island Story Of Unusual Death

Brighton Beach Lightning Strike Felt By Thousands, Kills Six – July 30, 1905

When walking through Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, you can come across fancy mausoleums and simple grave markers of the famous and infamous. F.W. Woolworth, Fiorello LaGuardia, Duke Ellington, Bat Masterson and Herman Melville are among the half million souls interred in this historic place.Demmerle Memorial

Then out of the blue you may stumble across the lives of ordinary New Yorker’s memorialized in an extraordinary way. Such is the Demmerle monument.

Unlike many other tombstones which record a name and birth and death years with a short epitaph, the Demmerle memorial is an ornate series of carved monuments which tells and shows the story of one family’s tragedy.

Demmerle Charles and EmilieSunday July 30, 1905 started out as a beautiful, sun-filled, hot day Continue reading

A Photographic Trip To Green-Wood Cemetery Part 2

Do You Know That Name?

Continuing the journey through historic Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn the next set of photographs concentrates on some names from history, some remembered today, others forgotten.

DeWitt Clinton

DeWitt Clinton has many things named after him in New York including a town, a high school, and a park. Known as the father of the Erie Canal, Clinton was a ten term mayor of New York City. Under his stewardship in 1811 the grid plan for the streets of New York City were instituted. He was also a United States Senator and Governor of New York State. Clinton lost the Presidential election of 1812 to James Madison by less than 10,000 votes and 29 electoral votes.

Clinton was moved to Green-Wood in 1844, sixteen years after his death. Continue reading

The Coney Island of Yesteryear – The Original Coney Island, Luna Park and Steeplechase Park In A Vintage Film

Coney Island in the Late 1930’s Early 40’s

Coney Island Luna Park entrance 1942On so many levels this is extraordinary. The time is somewhere between 1937 & 1941 based upon the rides shown at Luna Park at Coney Island. The original Luna Park closed in 1944.

When I first saw this film I re-watched it three times. What would it be like to experience the original Luna Park? This film gives you an idea.

Where is the time machine?

Old New York in Photos #9

Hit Bell, Win Prize

Coney Island July 5, 1946.

Before the mall-ification of New York, Coney Island had lots of things to do besides the rides. One was this common amusement which was found at lots of carnivals and amusement parks. To test your strength you would swing a large mallet, hitting a levered board with a weight attached to a pole. Hitting it as hard as you could would drive the weight up the pole. If you hit it hard enough, the weight would go the top, anywhere from 10-15 feet from the ground and strike a bell. Doing so would entitle you to a prize.

It was a great way to impress a date, Continue reading