Posts Tagged ‘amusement parks’

park_1In the 1940s, Coney Island dazzled
You wouldn’t know it from the vibrancy of these pictures, showing the vast array of people enjoying the many and varied pleasures of New York’s Coney Island in the heat of 1948, but the glory years of Coney Island were over.

Forty years before, it had boasted three extraordinary pleasure parks  Luna Park, Steeplechase Park and Dreamland.

Shimmering white against the twilight, Luna Park alone was lit by a quarter of a million separate bulbs.

And until World War II, Coney Island was the most successful amusement location in the United States. But the 1930s and the Great Depression were not kind to Coney, as Americans struggled to survive, let alone pay for entertainment.

In 1944, Luna Park was ravaged by a fire, and two years later shut for good.

After 1945, attendance began an inexorable decline, amplified by the post-war boom in car ownership.

Just a year after these pictures were taken (in 1948), the land along the waterfront was commandeered by Robert Moses, NYC parks commissioner, and rezoned for housing.