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Steeplechase Park (Colorized): 1903

Steeplechase Park (Colorized): 1903

My fifth colorized image, but instead of Atlantic City, this time it's Steeplechase Park at Coney Island. Around thirty hours of work went into this one; I swear I still can't predict with any degree of certainty how long any particular picture might take. "Longer than you expect" is probably a good rule of thumb.

The original is here. The dimensions are different, as I've cropped it to serve as computer wallpaper.

I'm pretty sure the colors on the American flag are more or less correct. And the skin tones are probably reasonably close. The boardwalk probably really was brown and the sky probably really was blue. The other colors are sourced purely from my imagination. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Absolutely beautiful

I have this as my computer wallpaper at work and people stop and gawk at it constantly. I love being able to "take a quick break" at Steeplechase during a dreary day. Wonderful job.


I can't even being to imagine how difficult this must have been, particularly the flooring with all its different hues. It's funny, until I see something like this, I tend to think that era was drab and dull. You have a great eye for color. The gold accents on the columns, the dresses that match the hats, the lady in the foreground with the red hair...very nice!


I too have this as my wallpaper.
Your eye for color is amazing. Thank you!

New colorization fan

I must confess, I'm not a big fan of colorization...until today! If it's done well [and this one certainly goes beyond that!]... I can almost taste the lemonade, and smell the hot dogs, and hear the calliope...well, you get the idea. Wish I could climb through my computer screen and into this photo. And, from one who is partial to redheads, good choice on the woman's hair.

Excellent job, Scott. Can't wait to see your next work.

Color Note

The midday sky in the Northeast is generally not robin's egg blue. More whitish-grayish. Aesthetically, though, sky-blue is definitely prettier.

Jaw Dropped

Absolutely stunning! I called my wife in to look at this, her jaw dropped, literally. (And we look at a lot of colorized pictures).

Choice of colors.

Being a professional that uses PhotoShop daily, I can appreciate the time and talent it takes to colorize a black and white print this well. Beyond that, one of the more difficult things to do is deciding what colors to use — to keep it realistic yet not repetitious. Kudos.


This may be the best colorized photo I have ever seen! I feel like I could literally walk into the picture. Great job!


This is a truly wonderful piece of work. So many of the photos on Shorpy transport the viewer into a time long ago, but none so convincingly as this. Thank you for your work, you have made a lot of people very happy with this picture.


Having spent countless hours in Photoshop trying to colorize a scan of a family photo from just after WWII (and I know the location well and most of the colors!) I must defer to your superior skills. Outstanding. I look forward to your future efforts, perhaps I'll learn something.

Color me impressed

Wow! Wow! Double Wow and Holy Cow! And allow me to reiterate -- wow! Don't know the first thing about colorization but I would bet it takes far more patience than I could muster. You are to be congratulated - and let's congratulate Shorpy's for the fine talent that it attracts.

Sure my room is a little noisy.

But hey, I live next to Steeplechase Park! Congratulations Scott on an awesome job. Really brings this scene to life! And it looks terrific as a desktop on my 23-inch screen. Keeping in mind that I wouldn't even attempt this masterpiece even if I knew how, I will tell you what I would have annoyingly said had I been looking over your shoulder: "Make the left-hand poster high above the entrance full color." But I'm sure that would have added several more hours. (I know, I'm a jerk!) Seriously, great job!


WOW!!! I've never commented on a photo here. Been lurking daily for months. One of my favorite sites. But this is fantastic. Great Work!!!

Love it!

I think what really does it for me is - and I'm not decrying your excellent work at all - that it isn't quite perfect. When I looked at it first - and again afterwards - I had to think "is it or isn't it?"

Also, a happy birthday to all of youse out in the colonies!

Ice cold


A sunny day at Steeplechase Park

Like most here, you can feel the life inn this photo. It is so lifelike that it would be fun to go back there and enjoy the Park for the day.

Love the couple just strolling down the boardwalk like they haven't a care in the world. They do have each other and I'm guessing that it may be time for a nice cold 1 cent lemonade. It does sound refreshing especially at a penny.

Well I'm off to the Steeplechase and see if it is a much fun as stated. See ya!!!

Hot Dog!

If you look closely, it seems that Mr. Lemmerman beat Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs by at least 15 years!

Thank you!

You should get the trophy for making so many so happy! Great work!

Echoing everyone else

I'm repeating what so many others have said, but seriously, that is the first colorized image I've ever seen that looks absolutely real. It's magnificent. I've seen some wonderful colorizing here on Shorpy that comes very close to the mark, but you absolutely nailed it. I'm in awe. I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future. It obviously took you a long time, but it's very much appreciated. And it's also my wallpaper now as well. Huge thumbs up.

Thank you

What a powerful image and so appropriate for celebrating our nation's birthday. California sends our sincere gratitude for your painstaking work in so masterfully bringing this scene to life.

"Boardwalk Empire" for real



(Sorry, my pun writer is on holiday).

I was thinking if you referenced picture postcards from the day you might get an idea for some of the colors, but those artists probably used the same guess work as you.

Very well done, my new screensaver. The choice of red hair for the women in front is a good one, I think, based on her features.


Very natural look to it. Great use of contrast. Excellent!

Well Done

A step back in time. Well done!


Fantastic work! Beautiful picture. Thanks for all you do!

Thanks, Everyone!

Oh my gosh, thank you all so much for your kind words! I am absolutely blown away by the positive reactions I've received, and am extremely pleased that people are enjoying what I did with this photo. You cannot imagine my surprise at seeing it placed on the front page (seriously, I did not expect that), and am doubly pleased that it was judged worthy of such an honor.

Thank you all again!


Everyone that has walked by my computer today has been impressed by this and they're not even colorization people. It is spectacular.


This photo and the colorization is simply amazing! It is now my desktop photo and when it completely filled the screen, I was immediately part of the crowd at Steeplechase. The effect is truly wonderful.

Thank you for this moment when we can all step back in time. I just know any moment, I will be speaking to the striking couple coming my way.


Keep 'em coming!



That is as previously said "awesome".
Really brings it to life.


I'm normally not that keen on colorized photos as sometimes the colours are not realistic, but this is fantastic. Looks like a still from the set of Boardwalk Empire (this is a bit earlier I know, but it looks that fresh)

Simply Amazing!

It's like stepping back in time. Awesome work!

Excellent Job

I'm impressed to see that kind of quality work after just a short time colorizing photos. And congratulations on having the first Colorized photo show up on Shorpy's Home page. Maybe we'll see more in the future.

Keep at it so we can continue to see more of your work!

[This is a great job, but not the first colorized image on our front page. - Dave]

Really beautiful!

It's amazing how a little color really brings the past alive.

It feels more like last week instead of last century.

A World in Color

What can I say except, "Bravo"! Made me want to listen to Jamey Johnson's newest song, "You should have seen it in color", and learn how to do this myself. Funny how color makes these images look not so long ago.


Such a beautiful job. I just printed it. Probably going to frame it. Thanks.

You are a talented guy

It's the best colorization I have seen. Thanks for being part of Shorpy's.


Your colorization is just crazy good and, your choice of photo is too excellent. Thank you for all the work you do. Every photo you post are jewels. Grant


This is the most breathtaking colorization I've ever beheld! Congratulations! Any chance that an even higher-res version could be posted to serve as the desktop for a 27" iMac (2560 x 1440)?

Great Job

That is a great job of colorizing. After seeing so many old black and white photos, it is amazing to realize that people really did live in color back in those days instead of different tones of grey. It's beautiful.


I am blown away by this. What fantastic work. A great present to all of us for the 4th. Bravo!


Magnificent job! That really brings it to life. Well done, Scott.

Very Nice Job

And that's from an old coot who doesn't particularly enjoy colorized photos.

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