The 75-foot finback whale washed up in 1954 and was hauled to the alley behind Nathan's and displayed at 50 cents a peek. The carnies who hauled the whale from the beach pumped preservatives into it but the chemicals only added to the horrific smell of decomposition. The attraction was not well received and the admission dropped to 25 cents before it went out of business. The whale display went up in flames in August and the smell of formaldehyde and smoldering blubber drove Nathan’s customers away in droves.
An insurance company paid to have the scorched whale towed away and dumped at sea but the stench remained for months after. This was not the first beached whale to be exhibited in Coney Island. Here is a picture of the 1930s "Moby Dick" that was displayed on the Boardwalk.