Armbruster Book - Page 10
the various families until 1734, when Thomas Stiliwell obtained possession of the entire island. High sand dunes were along the shore and the rear was well wooded. Piney Inlet covered the ground from West 5th to about West 8th Streets. Here the rising ground formed the eastern line of Piney Island. This island extended then several miles out into the sea and there were high sand dunes near the shore, similar to those on Gysbert's Island, the rear was also well-wooded and fertile. One Brown had a house on Piney Island, the site of which is now a great ways out at sea.
The phenomenal storm of the New Year's day of 1839 washed half of Coney Island away. The high sand ridges, which the winds had piled up, were levelled, the inlets were closed up and a straight beach was left, which in course of years has been gradually reduced by the work of the waves. There are records extant, which show that two centuries ago cedar posts were cut at a point, which is two miles out from the present shore line. Coney Island has undergone many changes, in shape as well as in size. The various parts or divisions have been altered in extent and names have been applied to them, which have been superseded by others. In 1780 Coney Island is called "the Sands or Commons of Gravesend"; in 1800 "the Sedgebank and Broken Land"; in 1803 "the once Plum Island Beach." About 1820 Coney Island consisted of two parts, an inlet separating the beaches of Manhattan and Brighton. The island was then generally called Schreyer's Island and the west end Schreyer's Hook. These names appear on some of the old maps, but the name Coney Island, when used, covered both. When the Pavilion was erected in 1844 on the west end, the name Coney Island Point was applied to that part, but when Ex-Senator Michael Norton opened the Point Comfort Hotel there, the Westend became known as Norton's Point. In the late 70's the large hotels were erected and the lines of division became thereafter very distinct. There were four divisions, viz: Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, West Brighton, alias Cable's and the West End, alias Norton's Point. On the last named portion the Sea Gate settlement was started in 1894.