The history of Coney Island can be characterized as a succession of land grabs. Control of the island has been in contention for 350 years. The disputes began with disagreements between English and Dutch settlers over the earliest colonial patents in the mid-1600s and continued through the autocratic regimes of political boss John McKane in the 1800s, New York City Park Commissioner Robert Moses and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in the 1900s and on into this century. Behind the island's amusement curtain lies a tangled legacy of clouded titles, foreclosures, condemnations, and outright property thefts.
Although amusements have historically been the island's dominant industry, real estate has always been the driving force. The inspiration and motivation for Coney's magnificent artifice grew out of a simple formula: how to squeeze the greatest number of dollars out of the smallest plot of sand.
Successive waves of development have obscured or more often, obliterated, that which came before. Today's development efforts are no different, and much of what made Coney Island familiar to generations of visitors has already been torn down, or will be soon. This interactive Development Map seeks to preserve the memory of the Coney Island that was and to tell the story of how it arrived at the form it takes today.
The development map is being upgraded and will be available again soon.

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