Coney Island Historical Photography – Examination Part 2

This is our second article featuring the examination of several different historical photographs of Coney Island. The photographs featured below will display amusement park rides, businesses, bathers and much more. Under each photograph we will write a detailed synopsis focusing on several characteristics that make the photograph special. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave them below.

Above is a photograph of a ride at Coney Island Luna Park titled “Loop The Loop”. In the photograph we see a rollercoaster type ride with dual loops right next to each other. If we look at one of the loop specifically we can see a cart with people in side upside down. Upon zooming in on the cart I can see a distinct motion blur. I also see that the cart houses 2 rows of people for which a man and a woman are in the front and 2 men are in the back of the cart. If we look at the base of the roller coaster, where the entrance is, we see a crowd of onlookings viewing the roller coaster in motion. Upon zooming in on at the base of the roller coaster, on the fence, I located a sign that reads “Beware! of Pickpockets”. Seeing this sign is interesting in that an amusement park ride like this one at the time, must’ve drawn people’s attention so much that pickpocketors were able to steal freely and easily.

A very interesting photograph that we found in our collection. The photograph displays 4 boys attempting to play Automobile Polo. In the photograph you see 2 of the boys fly off of the automobile with a slight motion blur. What I can assume from this photograph is that the boys that are airborne must’ve collided with the other car as they were trying to hit the ball with their mallets. There are a few billboard advertisements in the background one of them I can partially read is for a certain type of whiskey. I’m not 100% sure of automobile polo was a sport played by young men at Coney Island. It seems though that they are playing on a sports field of somekind (probably baseball), I only assume this because the stands in the background are angled and that baseball was predominantly at popular past-time of that generation.

This is another photograph of an amusement park ride at Coney Island New York. The ride is labeled at the bottom in white text as “The Chutes” and has a printed copyright of 1900. As you can see in the photograph the ride shows a slide the propels a boat downward towards a pool of water for which the boat then splashes and moves forward over the water. In the foreground of the photograph to the right you see about 9 people in a boat. I’m not 100% sure if this is the boat that is used on the ride, or if they are just cruising around in the same area. My guess is that this is the vessel that is used, mainly because the body of water that they are floating in is quarantined off from the rest of the water areas. Also if you look at the boat in motion in the background, you can see similarities in the ways the boats look.

A really interesting photograph that we’ve unveiled here in our collection. If we look at the titling and description at the bottom of the photograph we see “Young America in the Surf, Coney Island USA”. Obviously looking at the photograph we see young children as well as adults bathing in the surf at Coney Island. What I find interesting about this photograph is that the children are holding onto the ropes that are attached to wooden poles that extend out to the ocean. I believe these ropes and poles were made accessible largely because people at the time had never learned how to swim. Because of this, the ropes and poles provided adults as well as children a way to hold themselves up, balance their bodies while they enjoyed the bathing and crashing waters of the surf. A very interesting and Iconic photograph of the time period.

Another interesting photograph showing bathers at the Coney Island beach in 1905. Again we see the ropes that extend out to the surf for people who can’t balance themselves in the surf and or haven’t learned to swim yet. Another interesting aspect about this photograph is that on the right hand side of the photograph you see these tall wooden poles with what appears to be bells connected with string. Looking at this makes me realize that this was probably used as an alarm system for lifeguards if someone was drowning in the surf. Upon zooming in and examining the flag that peaks on the balcony to the building on the left, it reads “Above All Bostocks”. This is an advertisement I believe for Bostock Arena which was a circus like area in Coney Island. Looking at the bathing suits of the time period is also pretty interesting to see. Womens bathing suits typically were dress-like. Mens bathing suits were typical tight shorts and a tank top-like shirt.

We will be providing more of these historical photography examination articles in the future. If you haven’t yet seen our previous article of Coney Island Historical Photography, please click HERE and check out a few more photographs. If you have any questions please leave them below! Also feel free to Subscribe to us by inputting your email to the right.


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