Coney Island by Professor Solomon

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 used to be it like? In his new ebook CONEY ISLAND, Professor Solomon takes us there to determine. Roaming approximately, he interviews old-timers' searches for antiquities, explores what's left of the enjoyment sector. (Among his unearths: a guy who recalls seeing the 1st human cannonball, shot into the air at Coney Island; the is still of Steeplechase Park; and a journey "the ask yourself Wheel"that begun as a perpetual-motion machine.) He additionally presents 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 entertainment parks. in this historic journey, 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 may stopover at the Pavilion of enjoyable, French Nudi! st show, 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 different, and persevering, position.

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Sample text

Disneyland has a pleasant, genial air. * Finally, despite the firm hand with which the Brooklyn parks were run, employees were not required to suppress their personalities. Moreover, just outside the walls were independent enterprises. The Disney operations, in con­ trast, are monoliths of control and calculation.  The parks at Coney Island were guided by individual rather than corporate dictates, with both Tilyou and Thompson residing on the premises.  The admission fees at Disneyland can set Dad back a week’s salary.

Tilyou seems to have been a straitlaced fellow (employees caught using profane lan­ guage were dismissed), who nonetheless enjoyed a practical joke, even if it was slightly suggestive. His park was respectable and orderly; yet it encouraged pagan high spir­ its.  You could share in the merriment through mere prox­ imity to those doing the actual whirling, shrieking, and wearing of clown suits.  There was even a dish­breaking booth: for a dime you got to throw baseballs at cheap china! Finally, the park was gaily be­ decked—with flags, pennants, and bunting—as if for a holiday.

There were rides—Bump the Bumps, the Tickler, the Tunnel of Love—and slides. There were acrobats and trained bears. Oriental processions. Roving brass bands. ) And everywhere flags flapped in the wind.  That * The show was changed eventually to The Eruption of Mt. Pelée (with the same extras fleeing from simulated lava), and then to The Johnstown Flood. † A friend tells me his grandfather used the expression “lit up like Luna Park,” to refer to an intoxicated person. 62 insubstantial fantasy of plaster and lath was producing hard currency.

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