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posted on Dec 6th, 2020
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
I have this old photo of my great grandmother and was told it was taken at Coney Island.  I’ve been looking to find what building is in the background of the photo. Is it the old Culver Terminal building?  Any insight on the approximate year the photo was taken? 
- Vincent Andreozzi

Hello Vincent,
Your great-grandmother is sitting on a bench in the Concourse, the little park beachfront park once  located at the intersection of Ocean Parkway and Surf Avenue. The smaller building directly behind her is Lucy Venderveer's Hotel and the dome behind the hotel belongs to the Culver Terminal Building which I believe was built around 1905-1910. The trees in the background are in Seaside Park (now Asser Levy Park). The stone wall in background was part of the park that was demolished when Robert Moses moved the Boardwalk in 1940. Her beautiful hat and dress might date the photo to around 1910-1915?

posted on Jul 13th, 2020
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
I saw the movie Wonder Wheel and my son asked me if it was a true picture of the times.  I had one difference. When the shots of the ocean came on I said that it was not how it looked back then.  I remember the ropes and barrels.  I was considered a good swimmer because I could swim to the third barrel.  What year were they removed? - Cynthia Tyson

Hi Cynthia,

I also remember the barrels from my childhood! When we moved to Coney Island in 1956 they were still there, a line of colorful, striped, floating wooden barrels attached to a rope that went back to the beach. I really enjoyed playing on them. The rope was buried far up the beach and then attached to an anchor in the ocean located about halfway the length of the rock jetties. Every bay in the West End had them! You could cling to the rope or wrap yourself around the barrel. They were a lot of fun and you could prove yourself by swimming out to the last one.

I can't remember when they stopped installing them, maybe around 1960? There was talk that they gave swimmers a false sense of security and that inexperienced swimmers would swim out too far to get to the third one. Safety ropes were part of the Coney Island beach for more than a century, but the barrels seemed to have appeared sometime in the 1950s. Most likely they were discontinued to save money or maybe because of vandalism. If anyone knows the reason, please let us know.

We have very few photos of the barrels but the ones below from the 1950s give an idea of what they were like. Notice the three swimmers clinging to the rope! A sign on the lifeguard chair refers to them as "life lines," and tells swimmers not to "bathe" past the last one. They seem so much smaller than what I remember as a child. I remember missing them when they disappeared.

posted on Apr 17th, 2020
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
At the corner of Neptune Avenue and 36th Street there was Palumbo's fruit store and an apartment building, which in the 1930's had a washing machine in the basement and steam heat. The other buildings were three family cold water flats. Is there a photo of the area? -Ruth Blaustein

Hello Ruth, Here is a 1950s photo of Palumbo's Fruit Store (Fruiterer's) on West 36th Street, long since demolished. . . 

 And here is a 1950s street view looking toward 36th Street with the apartment house you mentioned, and Palumbo's at center (small), and PS 188 at right.

posted on Apr 1st, 2020
Dear Mr. Coney Island...

I love your website. What a treasure trove of memories! Could you tell me where the building in this photo is (was?) located on Coney Island? I assume that we are looking at the front of the building as it faces the beach. Do you have any info about it?
Many thanks,
Elaine Marino

Hello Elaine,

Thank you for contacting the Coney Island History Project! The building in the background was located at West 32nd Street and the Boardwalk. It was an extension of Lincoln Baths that was added when the Boardwalk was built in 1923. There were apartments on the second floor and a great restaurant at the  Boardwalk level called Sam's Knishes. Next door was Larry and Vinny's Pizza restaurant. Lincoln Baths was demolished in 1981. Looks everyone in the photo was having fun! 

posted on Mar 23rd, 2020
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
I've been searching online but have not been able to find any interior pictures of the Half Moon Hotel. Any advice? Many thanks and Best Regards, Jim Jabara

Hello Jim,

Here are some images of the hotel's interior. 


posted on Mar 25th, 2019
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
  What happened to Rose Court on 36th street between Neptune and Mermaid  Avenue?
- Darlene Concepcion

Hello Darlene,

Rose Court and most of the homes and bungalows on West 36th Street were demolished by the City in 1971 as part of urban renewal. There are now two-story row houses on the site.

posted on Apr 21st, 2018
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
This photo was in my grandmother's box of photos.
I put it on FB old images of NY. Some think it's Coney Island. Maybe it's outside a bathhouse along a subway track? Maybe that is the Williamsburg Saving Bank Tower in the distance.
Recognize anything?
Thank You!
- Gary A. Wexler


Hello Gary A. Wexler,
Your grandmother's photo was taken in Coney Island at West 5th Street next to the el in an area once known as "The Gut". The view is looking west and that’s the Luna Park tower in the far background. The beach and Municipal Bathhouse are one block away.
Here is a photo of that location today. The building in the background of the early photo was demolished to build Trump Village high-rises in the early 1960s. The Trump parking lot currently occupies the site. The red and white high-rises in the far background are called Luna Park Houses and occupy the former site of Luna Park. Hope this helps.

posted on Apr 9th, 2018
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
Hi there! I am sending images of a photo I purchased in an antique shop. I have been trying to identify where it was taken and when? I had guessed it is from late 1800's - early 1900's, east coast? I stumbled onto a story about Hotel Brighton and thought this might be a photo of it? Please at your convenience take a look and let me know what you think? The photo started as just a cool decoration for my home and brought so much interesting conversation that I thought I would like to visit there. Sadly if it is Hotel Brighton we can't go there but I have never been to Coney Island! Funny where life takes us. Thank you for your time.
- Leigh Roeger

Hello Leigh,
This is a photo of the Brighton Beach Hotel and the Brighton Beach Baths bathhouse (in the foreground at right). It was taken looking west from Brighton Beach and dates to between 1904 and 1910. It’s a beautiful photo!

posted on Aug 31st, 2017
Dear Mr. Coney Island...

Sir,  While doing family research I learned that my great aunt, Lena Dolle Petersen, and her husband, Magnus owned a hotel called the Petersen Hotel which was located (at the turn of the 20th century) at 10th Street and Surf Avenue. I believe the Petersens also were involved in some type of amusements as Lena was the sister-in-law of the famous carousel builder, Charles Looff who placed the first merry-go-round at Coney Island in 1874.  Do you have any information on this family or, in particular,  Petersen's Hotel?  Pictures would be a bonus!
Looking forward to your reply I remain
Rudolph Dolle

Hello Rudolph, 

Petersens Baths and Hotel was located on the beach side of the Feltman's Restaurant property at West 10th Street. Here are two photos. One dates to around 1910, the other was taken after the Boardwalk was built in the 1920s.

posted on Oct 25th, 2016
Dear Mr. Coney Island...
I've been doing a search to find images, pictures and films/video and audio showing the incredible Classic Three Rotating Ring Carousel that I remembered, as a young boy, that was housed in the huge indoor Steeplechase Park. As a young boy in the 1950's I had been amazed at the mechanical complexity of such an amazing machine with its 'Three Counter Rotating Ride Rings', Beautifully Hand Carved and Lovingly Painted Motion and Still Horses, and the Powerful music that came from the Huge Mechanical Full Orchestra and Organ/Calliope. I was born and raised in Brooklyn and Coney Island was a regular venue for our family entertainment. I'm hoping you'll be the one to help restore this childhood amazement to me! Regards, namaste
- David

Hello David,

That would be the El Dorado Carousel, now located at Toshimaen Amusement Park in Tokyo. This magnificent machine was carved by Hugo Hasse of Leipzig Germany in 1902. In 1910 it was moved to Coney Island and installed in a building Surf Avenue at West Fifth Street. The carousel survived the 1911 Dreamland Fire, blistered but intact. George Tilyou brought the El Dorado to Steeplechase Park in 1912 where it became the centerpiece of the Steeplechase Pavilion. It was sold after Steeplechase closed in 1964.