Last week, the City’s Economic Development Corporation issued a Request for Proposals to develop and operate amusements on a long vacant lot at West 15th Street in Coney Island. The Coney Island History Project has received several queries about the history of the site. The narrow city-owned lot up for bid was formerly owned by the Tilyou family since the 1880s and has a long amusement history. When West 15th Street was cut through from Surf Avenue to the Boardwalk in 1922 it replaced the narrow Bushman’s Walk and forced the relocation of the Drop the Dip roller coaster which overlapped the bed of the street. Irving Baths bathhouse was located on the Boardwalk end of the new street and a Mangels Whip ride sat at the Bowery end. Between the Bowery and Surf was Morgan’s Cabaret, replaced in the 1950s by the Magic Carpet Fun House, Donkey Ball Game, and Shatzkins Knishes. The Whip ride was later replaced by numerous McCullough attractions and then a Wild Mouse Coaster and Go-Kart track, both of which closed and sat abandoned until the early 1980s. The lot was later let go for back taxes, became city property, and was cleared of decaying rides. The late Andy Badalamenti built a corral at the Surf Avenue end of the property for the use of Police horses assigned to patrol Coney Island. In recent times, the property has reverted to a natural state providing a green, park-like environment from Surf Avenue to the Boardwalk. The site is adjacent to the privately owned property where the Thunderbolt Roller Coaster stood until its demolition in 2000.
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