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!
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.
Palace of Joy entrance in front of the Sea Beach Palace, c. 1920
“Palace of Joy” swimming pool at Luna, c. 1940