Coney Island (Amusement Park)

I suppose with all the hype I expected Coney Island to be more than just a tawdry little theme park. Walking through the park gave me flashbacks to county fairs and high school homecoming events. Despite its carnival color palette, the overall experience was gloomy and rather scuzzy. Perhaps the saving grace to Coney Island is that it offers freak shows, burlesque and vaudeville acts, and the eccentric mermaid parade. Due to poverty - no money for subway fare and entrance fees - I did not attend any of these events, so I cannot vouch for their quality.

I think that the history of Coney Island and its influence on American popular culture is what fascinates people, which is why I am saddened to discover that there was a small museum dedicated to it that I somehow overlooked. In the late 1800s Coney Island hosted a collection of theme parks, including Luna Park, Dreamland and Steeplechase Park. It was an incredible destination resort that grew in popularity as railroads and street car lines created access to it. The island hosted horse racing, amusement parks and beaches. However, after World War II its popularity declined and it fell into neglect. Structures were demolished, parks closed and development covered the forgotten amusements.

So at this point I am not taking back my opinion of what I experienced as the Coney Island Amusement Park, but I should correct myself by stating that what I visited was the last standing park, Astroland, which still operates the Cyclone roller coaster built in 1927. The rest were generic, overpriced theme park rides. Adjacent to Astroland is the Wonder Wheel and the Parachute Jump from the 1939 New York World's Fair, now inactive. I think I mostly appreciated the signage, screaming for attention in bubbly fonts, loud colors and blinking lights.

No comments:

Post a Comment