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posted on Aug 31st, 2017
Dear Mr. Coney Island...

Sir,  While doing family research I learned that my great aunt, Lena Dolle Petersen, and her husband, Magnus owned a hotel called the Petersen Hotel which was located (at the turn of the 20th century) at 10th Street and Surf Avenue. I believe the Petersens also were involved in some type of amusements as Lena was the sister-in-law of the famous carousel builder, Charles Looff who placed the first merry-go-round at Coney Island in 1874.  Do you have any information on this family or, in particular,  Petersen's Hotel?  Pictures would be a bonus!
Looking forward to your reply I remain
Sincerely,
Rudolph Dolle
 
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Hello Rudolph, 

Petersens Baths and Hotel was located on the beach side of the Feltman's Restaurant property at West 10th Street. Here are two photos. One dates to around 1910, the other was taken after the Boardwalk was built in the 1920s.

posted on Oct 25th, 2016
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
I've been doing a search to find images, pictures and films/video and audio showing the incredible Classic Three Rotating Ring Carousel that I remembered, as a young boy, that was housed in the huge indoor Steeplechase Park. As a young boy in the 1950's I had been amazed at the mechanical complexity of such an amazing machine with its 'Three Counter Rotating Ride Rings', Beautifully Hand Carved and Lovingly Painted Motion and Still Horses, and the Powerful music that came from the Huge Mechanical Full Orchestra and Organ/Calliope. I was born and raised in Brooklyn and Coney Island was a regular venue for our family entertainment. I'm hoping you'll be the one to help restore this childhood amazement to me! Regards, namaste, David
-

Hello David,

That would be the El Dorado Carousel, now located at Toshimaen Amusement Park in Tokyo. This magnificent machine was carved by Hugo Hasse of Leipzig Germany in 1902. In 1910 it was moved to Coney Island and installed in a building Surf Avenue at West Fifth Street. The carousel survived the 1911 Dreamland Fire, blistered but intact. George Tilyou brought the El Dorado to Steeplechase Park in 1912 where it became the centerpiece of the Steeplchase Pavilion. It was sold after Steeplechase closed in 1964. 

posted on Sep 13th, 2015
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
Was there ever a Dante's Inferno haunted house or ride at Coney Island?  Someone has told me that there was.  If so, is there a good reference book to use in trying to track it down?  Or a good website?
- Dennis Looney

Dante's Inferno was located on the midway at Astroland Park. The ride was dismantled when Astroland closed and is currently in storage. For more dark ride information try Laff in the Dark, the ultimate website about dark rides.

http://www.laffinthedark.com/

 

Dear Mr. Coney Island...
Hello!  I found your website while looking through some old Coney Island photos. I saw a photo of Tony's Hotel on West 15th Street in Coney Island! It brought back so many memories. I spent the evening looking for a photo of the  Hotel Clement - located on the other side of the same street.   As a kid - during the late 50s and early 60s, I would accompany my grandmother to Coney Island from New Jersey.  She went to Coney Island each year for the beach and for the hot baths. The place for the baths was called Bushman, I think.We stayed each year for two weeks at the Hotel Clement. It was just down the street from Gargiulo's Restaurant and next door to a local Fire House. I didn't find any pictures of West 15th Street - other than Gargiulo's and Tony's Hotel.  Can you direct me to a site where I might find a picture of the Hotel Clement? I'd greatly appreciate it.    
- Anthony

Hello Anthony and Kevin,

Here is a photo of West 15th Street showing the Clement Hotel, Dempsey's Crown Bar, the Firehouse, and Gargiulos. All of these buildings except Gargiulo's Restaurant were demolished several decades ago. The firehouse was demolished on its 100th birthday in 1995. 

posted on May 22nd, 2015
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
I've been doing some family history research, and found some relatives who lived at 2828 Warehouse Avenue (in 1910). When was Warehouse Avenue renamed West 22nd Street? Was there a reason this street was named Warehouse Ave?
- Gary Marcus

Hello Gary,

Warehouse Avenue was a shorefront road in Bath Beach that curved along Gravesend Bay to Coney Island Creek. The piers on the bay had warehouses for the fishing fleet that operated from that location. When Coney was subdivided, Warehouse Avenue was extended into Coney Island along the bed of what became West 22nd Street. The Warehouse Avenue name was used on West 22nd until around 1929. The Belt Parkway replaced Warehouse Avenue on the Bay in 1940.

posted on Feb 18th, 2015
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
For a gift I received a Coney Island souvenir. It has an image on it of the "Palace of Joy." Could you please tell me where it was located and what years it was in operation? Thank you!
- Sarah

Hello Sarah,

The Palace of Joy was an ambitious project that was never fully realized. In 1920, promoters erected a dramatic new twin-towered structure on the plaza entrance to the old Sea Beach Palace at Surf Avenue at West 10th Street. The towers advertised an enormous salt water swimming pool called the Aquadrome that was to be located inside the Palace. At various times the project plans also called for a Pleasure Pier (that was never built) and a roller rink and boxing venue.

The pool, advertised as the largest in the world, was completed, but the Sea Beach Palace's roof was removed in 1922, turning it into an open-air attraction surrounded by remnants of the ornate columns and balconies that once graced the 1876 buiding.

The Palace of Joy attraction fell through and the property was taken over by Luna Park which used the tower building to advertise several new attractions, including the Mammoth Pit Fun House. When Luna Park closed for good, the tower building was leased to Joe Bonsignore who owned the adjacent L.A. Thompson coaster. The building was later demolished and the Jet Speedway Go-Karts operated on the site through the late 1950s.

posted on Apr 28th, 2013
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
I would like to know if you have any information about the Silver Baths in Coney Island. It would of been around give or take 1920. I don't know the exact name maybe it was Silver Salt baths. If you have any information i would love to hear from you. I do know it was visited by a big Jewish population. Looking forward to hear from you.
- Helene Ayala

Hello Helene,

Silvers Baths was Coney's fanciest bathhouse and was located on West 23rd Street at the Boardwalk from 1914 until 1968. The original complex burned in the great fire of 1932 and was replace with an ornate buff-brick building with a theater-style marquee that advertised "Russian Turkish Hot Salt Water Baths" and a "Vita Glass Solarium." The Solarium, on the Boardwalk side of the building, was a popular venue for sunbathing.

Silvers had swimming pools, steam rooms, restaurants, dormitories for overnight stays, and masseurs. The baths had a jitney that would pick up customers at the Stillwell Subway Terminal and deliver them to the front door. Silvers was operated by John Bonsignore in its final years. The clientele was mostly of Eastern European descent.

posted on Feb 22nd, 2013
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
What can you tell me about club 28 on ocean parkway and sea breeze ave?  I believe there was a fire in 1980 but there must be a colorful past. Thanks!
- Larry Hirsch

Hello Larry,

Club 28 was located in the old Reisenweber's Casino, an elegant, tile-roofed restaurant, ballroom, and nightclub that catered to the well-heeled racing crowd patronizing the adjacent Brighton Beach Race Track. Reisenweber's was built around 1900, next door to the Brighton Theater, part of a refined, upscale alternative to Coney Island's noisy midway. The structure’s top floor resembled the deck of an ocean liner and provided a sweeping view of the beach and ocean. An early advertisement promised that this upper deck offered "All the Joys of a Sail, Without the Motion!" Another ad promoted a "country style frog dinner for $2.00 as well as "dancing in the Wisteria Ballroom, a splendid orchestra, and fascinating surroundings cooled by ocean breezes."

The Casino closed during prohibition and soon reopened as Publix Baths. After the bathhouse closed in the early 1950s, Club 28 opened as a bingo parlor and event hall, also known as "The Terrace." The building was demolished after a fire around 1980, and was replaced by a high-rise apartment building.

Dear Mr. Coney Island...
I was wondering where the were located? I had done some research & have been finding conflicting information on the internet stating that both attractions were located at what is now KeySpan Park on Surf Ave & W.17th Street. I then found a map from 1906 and it looks like the Johnstown Flood was located there and the Galveston Flood was located somewhere in the vicinity of Surf Ave & W.10th Street. If you have any information on this, it would be appreciated. Thank you!
- Scott Lothrop

Hello Scott,

The Johnstown Flood (also known as The Deluge) was located on the North side of Surf Avenue on the corner of West 17th Street, later the site of the RKO Tilyou Theater. The Galveston Flood exhibit was on the South side of Surf Avenue at West 5th Street, between Dreamland and Chamber's Drug Store.

 

 

posted on Jan 9th, 2013
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
When I was small there was a storefront that had a placard in the window of an article about LIDA MEDINA, the world's youngest Mom and a lifesize display of Monkey's playing poker. Was this the wax museum? where was this located and what happened to the Monkey's? Thanks!
- Meryl V

Hello Meryl,

You are correct. The poker-playing monkeys were located in a window display at the Bowery entrance to Lillie Santangelo's World in Wax which operated in Coney Island from the 1920s until 1984. The museum also had an entire exhibit featuring Lina Medina, the world's youngest mother, a Peruvian girl who gave birth at the age of five.

The display of animated monkeys (they were actually chimpanzees) was called "Cheating Cheaters,"because all the simian players had extra cards hidden up their sleeves and under the table and were obviously cheating! After the waxworks closed, the displays were auctioned off and now reside in private collections.