Ask Mr. Coney Island

Answers from the expert

Do you have a question for Mr. Coney Island?  Email it to

posted on Aug 30th, 2023
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
I am going to Coney Island tomorrow and have been combing through various videos on YouTube the past few days.  In one video of The Cyclone from some time in the 1930's I could clearly see that there was a second Coaster right next to The Cyclone!!  This has triggered an obsession to try and find out whatever I can about this mysterious second Coaster!  I can only find a few scant mentions of this Coaster that appears to have been torn down in the mid-40s. The spot is now the parking lot for the Aquarium.  I am hoping you can fill me in with some fun info...   
Thank you so much!   
Eldo Ray Estes 

Hello Eldo,
That would be the Comet Coaster also known as the Wildcat and Big Dipper. It opened in 1921.
It operated side by side with the Cyclone until 1945 when it was replaced with McCullough’s Kiddie Park.
The Tilyou family owned the property until it was sold to the Aquarium in the 1960s.


posted on Apr 11th, 2023
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
My grandparents used to live on a small road that was kind of like an alleyway on West 20th street in the mid 1960s. It was called Railroad Road but I cannot find any trace of it as the area has been redone. Would you know whereabouts it might have been?

> Thanks, Chris

Hello Chris, 

Railroad Avenue was the right-of-way for a railroad line that was once located between Surf Avenue and Mermaid Avenue. The Norton's Point trolley ran on this line from the Stillwell Avenue Terminal to Sea Gate until 1948. It was closed off and built over in the 1960s-1970s. There's no longer any trace of this old road. Here's a photo of the old trolley line when it was in operation.



posted on Apr 11th, 2023
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
Do you have any information about a restaurant/bar named Gallaghers.  The owners were Tom and Daisy Gallagher.  I know they were open for the 1917  Coney Island season. 
Thank you.
Jane B.

Hello Jane,

Here is a 1914 photo of Gallaghers Inn at 25th street and Surf Avenue.

posted on Jul 10th, 2021
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
I pass this neon sign every week and see in one hand he has a tray with a hot dog, fries and a soda…but what is in the other hand? It looks like an old camera. Thanks.
- Don Loggins

Hi Don,
The hot dog on the sign is holding an old-style Nathan's take out box with a handle! 


posted on Jun 12th, 2021
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
I have a picture of my mom and my oldest brother who are both now deceased.  Before my brother died he told me that this picture was taken on Coney Island Beach.   I plan to visit one day soon and find the exact spot they were sitting at on the beach.  I notice that the tower behind the Ferris wheel is no longer there.  I believe this picture was taken in the mid 1940's.   Just wondering how far was she from the Ferris wheel?
- Linda Brown-Terrell

Hello Linda Brown-Terrell,
This photo was taken on the beach at West 10th Street in Coney Island. The dark tower is the old Feltman’s Restaurant powerhouse chimney, demolished in 1962. The Wonder Wheel is behind it and still exists today, celebrating its 100th anniversary last year! If you go to the beach at West 10th, behind the Cyclone Roller Coaster,  facing the Wonder Wheel you will be in the exact spot that this photo was taken! Let us know when you get here, and if we’re open, we’ll guide you. . .
Charles Denson

posted on May 12th, 2021
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
When I was a student in NYC in 2007, I spent a lot of my time photographing a wonderful group of people who tended to a garden  and I forget where that garden used to stand. It was off of Mermaid Ave. and I wanna say 21st St. Any help would be greatly appreciated
- Jason

Hello Jason,
The garden was on West 20th Street on Mermaid. Unfortunately, the garden and building in the photo have been demolished and are being replaced with a high rise residential building. Here’s the site during construction. So many of the wonderful community gardens in Coney Island have been destroyed by development.


posted on Apr 30th, 2021
Dear Mr. Coney Island...

I got this photo off the 1940’s NYC site. My dad and his friends rented what I believe would have been the bungalow on the left in this photo. My recollection is we went there in early to mid 70’s. What I remember most was being able to walk under the boardwalk to the beach or go up a staircase to the boardwalk. The staircase would’ve been added later but you can see how it would work. My brother seems to think that the bungalows were more likely on W35th, but agrees that they looked like this. I remember being very close to Seagate and what I think would’ve been remnants of the Ocean Tide. If this pic is where we would’ve stayed then to the right would’ve been a small hotel and a pizzeria (Marios?). Any thoughts, info or photos would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you

- Tom Baker

Hello Tom,
The bungalows were between 32nd and 33rd, Right next to Larry and Vinny’s pizza.
I have documented them for many years. Not much left now, just ruins at ground level where there’s a cat colony. Would like to hear more about your Dad and the bungalows! Let’s talk.
Here’ s a photo I took of the bungalows twenty years ago.
Charles Denson



posted on Mar 15th, 2021
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
My uncle was Jack Ward. It's hard to believe it's been ten years since he passed, way too early in life. I'm reaching out just say hello and wondering if anyone could share some stories about him. Jackie was a favorite uncle and great man. He was close with Charles Denson but I can't find an email address for him anywhere. Take care. God Bless. Stay well.
All the best,
- Ward McGuiness

Hello Ward,
Jack was the heart and soul of Coney Island and he is missed. It’s just not the same without him. 
Please listen to Jack’s oral history on our web site. We’ll send the names of some of his surviving Coney Island friends for you to contact.

Jack Ward

posted on Mar 2nd, 2021
Dear Mr. Coney Island...

I grew up in Brooklyn during the forties and fifties.  My folks would take me to Coney Island many times.  It was always fabulous!
There was a waffle shop on the boardwalk for many years.  The waffles were an oval shape but stretched out to be able to hold three balls of ice cream.  The waffle irons were unique.  They were curved so that when the waffle was being made the waffle would have two identical oval sides connected by a batter strip built into the iron itself. I have never seen anything like them since then. The man running the shop had a dozen or so of these waffle irons right at the counter.  He'd keep making the waffles and when done he'd ask the customer what flavors of ice cream they would want in the waffle.  They could have three scoops of either one, two or three flavors; vanilla, chocolate or strawberry.  The scoops nestled inside the waffle and then he folded over the top part of the waffle to enclose the three ice cream balls inside.  I believe a waffle with ice cream was fifteen cents.  I have never forgotten the taste of that particular waffle and ice cream.
I was wondering if there is anything historically registered about that shop or any other people's memories of this particular vendor?
Thank you,
- Coney Fan

Hello Coney Fan,
That waffle shop was Maxie’s Waffles located on the Boardwalk at West 15th Street inside the Sodamat building.
 “Three Scoops for a Quarter!” The store burned down in 1974.

Maxies Waffles

posted on Feb 27th, 2021
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
Wonderful site for us Coney Island natives.
I grew up at 2953 West 35th Street near the corner of Surf Avenue.
There was a bar owned by the Dalton family just across from McCabe's bar.
My father remembered seeing his first motion pictures there in the beer garden.
Eddie and Patricia Dalton were childhood playmates of mine.
Do you have any photos of the bar and beer garden?
Thanks and keep up the great work.
- Ted Shaine

Hello Ted,
Here’s a photograph of Dalton’s Bar, now the site of the O’Dwyer Gardens housing project.

Daltons Surf