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
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.
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 →
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.
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.
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 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 →
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.