The April school break always reminds me of taking my kids to Coney Island. I have fond memories of the slightly seedy Luna Park and the grungy Dino’s Wonder Wheel complex- complete with carnival barkers and vintage rides. My kids, now teens, still enjoy going to Coney Island with their friends- it might not be as exciting as Six Flags, but you can get there on the F Train.
They’ve spruced up Coney a bit over the past several years, but it is still a pale shadow of what it was at the turn of the 20th Century. You can see the glorious Coney Island attractions in postcards from the early 1900s. I especially love the “tinseled” or glittered night time scenes from this period. Some of these cards were produced by the printers, while others were done at home with newly marketed glue pens and glass glitter. It is an interesting aside that the U.S. Post Office Department considered these cards hazardous as clerks often cut themselves, and began requiring that they be mailed in envelopes. It reached the point where twenty thousand tinseled cards a day were sent to the Dead Letter Office for want of a cover.
Another fun Coney Island collectible are tickets featuring Tillie. Our family occasionally rents a beach house in Ocean Grove, NJ which happens to border Asbury Park. I always wondered about the Tillie mural there and how it related to Coney Island. It turns out that Tillie — or a version of him — first appeared in the city around the turn of the 19th century, when George C. Tilyou, a showman who owned Steeplechase Park in Coney Island, expanded to Asbury Park and Atlantic City. George C. Tilyou himself was a fascinating character. You can read a bit more about him here.
We don’t have any tickets in stock at the moment, but we do have some other Coney related items- framed postcards, New Yorker and other periodical covers.
A very happy Easter and Passover to all of you who are celebrating these spring holidays. If you’re in Brooklyn, take a trip out to Coney Island and soak up some sun and some history.
***Please note that we will be CLOSED at the shop from Sunday April 21st through Friday April 26th for a short vacation.