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Coney Island

Coney Island and New Yorkers . An old love story .

Former island became peninsula , Coney Island is joined to the mainland , south of Brooklyn since the 19th century. Huge park very popular recreation in the early 20th century , Coney Island was very popular with New Yorkers and tourists. Yet mythical place and cherished for its unique atmosphere walkers , it fell into disuse in the 50s , before being taken by investors and reborn thanks to the presence of KeySpan Park , the stadium where the team operates Baseball Cyclones Brooklyn .

Luna Park - Astroland - Coney Island - New York


The Sunday drive of “middle -class “

After the Civil War (1861-1865) , Coney Island became a resort , connected to New York by a line of railway and tramway . New Yorkers go there to enjoy the beach and the island becomes a huge leisure center with the construction of parks , a racecourse , hotels, bars and restaurants. In 1876 moved the first carousel in what later became the Balmer Hall. In 1916 Nathan’s Famous opened and its famous hot dogs. In 1919 the arrival of Metro Coney Island makes the site even more accessible to New York . Several million visitors come each year to entertain in Luna Park , Dreamland, Steeplechase Park and other parks. A good period until the 1950s , when Coney Island begins to lose attendance, with competition from Long Island but also a bad reputation, with the attendance of street gangs . A feeling of insecurity and installs various amusement parks closed in turn.



Time of rebirth

In the 1980s and 1990s Coney Island is experiencing a new craze and the people of New York returning many on the island to take advantage of new attractions , as well as Astroland Beach Manhattan Beach. Since the early 80’s , Coney Island also hosts the headquarters of Coney Island USA , whose purpose is to “preserve American popular culture” and presents the latest gallery of monsters United States , organizes the annual Parade of Mermaids ( Mermaid Parade ) and a film festival.



The superstars of Attraction

Today, four Coney Island amusement parks are in the spotlight : the Astroland , the Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, 12th Street Entertainment and the Kiddie Park.

Among the most famous , the Wonder Wheel, attractions opened in 1920 , the Big Wheel , 45 meters high and weighing more than 2,000 tons , or the Cyclone Roller Coaster , probably the most famous Coney Island attraction. Wood, built in 1927, the Grand Huit – or roller coaster – has an impressive descent of 26 meters with an angle of 60 °. The Parachute Jump , presented for the first time at the trade fair in New York in 1939 is still part of the decor. Disassembled, cleaned , restored and repainted, it now stands as a symbolic structure. This attraction rather extreme , the customer was required to sixty meters high and then down to the ground, his suspended after a parachute cable .

This photographic project focuses on the graphics and colors of the place, which, when night falls, invites visitors to immerse themselves in a world of enchantment and fun popular . The bias of the color and graphics complement the work of the 40 press photographer Arthur Fellig ( Weegee said ) or even ” Coney Island Bather ” by Lisette Model , more focused on the popular look of the place . If there was a soundtrack associated with the images that follow, would certainly ” Coney Island Baby ” by Lou Reed. Ticket a Wonder Wheel ticket, look at the starry sky of New York and let your imagination take a trip 80 years ago …


Want to discover more ? 

  • read Dreamland by Kevin Baker !
  • Click on this link and take the free podcast of the Bowery Boys about Coney Island history ! Courtesy the Bowery Boys !