By Professor Solomon
As soon as well known as a funspot, Coney Island has been principally forgotten. Does it nonetheless exist? What has survived of where? And what was once it like? In his new booklet CONEY ISLAND, Professor Solomon takes us there to determine. Roaming approximately, he interviews old-timers' searches for antiquities, explores what's left of the entertainment zone. (Among his reveals: a guy who recalls seeing the 1st human cannonball, shot into the air at Coney Island; the is still of Steeplechase Park; and a experience "the ask yourself Wheel"that started as a perpetual-motion machine.) He additionally offers a background of Coney Island, from its Canarsie Indian days, to its period as a lawless, Tijuana-style hotel, to the increase and fall of its leisure parks. in this ancient travel, you will meet such personages as John Y. McKane (notorious mayor of Coney Island); George Tilyou (amusement-park pioneer); and the Wild guy of Borneo (actually, an actor from the Bronx). and you can stopover at the Pavilion of enjoyable, French Nudi! st express, Elephant resort, journey to the Moon, Insanitarium, Tunnel of affection, flea circus, Feltman's eating place (where the new puppy used to be invented), and different vanished points of interest. the result's a desirable profile of a distinct, and persevering, position.
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Extra resources for Coney Island
In years to come, his doublebladed paddle would ﬂash on a succession of American rivers. And what better place for a showman of the waves than Coney Island? It would feature Shoot theChutes (an aquatic toboggan ride); performing sea lions; and, of course, Captain Boyton himself, giving exhibitions of the inﬂatable suit. The park opened with great fanfare and was an immediate hit. Tilyou went to his drawing board, and then to his banker. Far more elaborate than Boyton’s, it was called Steeplechase.
The man was Robert Moses, the newly appointed Parks Commissioner. His uppermiddleclass tastes offended by the honkytonk at brooklyn public library–brook lyn collection–eagle collection mosphere, Moses saw it as his duty to upgrade the beach. Scandalized by the single “bad boy” under his jurisdiction, the Parks Commissioner—unable to level the place—did what he could to clean it up and tone it down. During this period a series of blazes destroyed Luna Park. Other landmarks were also vanishing.
The following year both were in operation at Steeplechase, the proceeds being split with Tilyou. They decided to strike out on their own— and to do so in a spectacular manner. They borrowed a million dollars, bought Sea Lion Park from Captain Boyton, and demolished it (except for the lagoon and ShoottheChutes). Flags and pennants ﬂew from spires and along the walkways. The facades of buildings were gaily colored and embellished with scrollwork. Even the materials—plaster and lath (a ﬂimsy stock of wood)—contributed to the dreamlike atmosphere: buildings so insubstantial could scarcely be meant for any practical purpose on this earth.