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Luna Park: 1905

Coney Island, New York, circa 1905. "Whirl of the Wind, Luna Park." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Coney Island, New York, circa 1905. "Whirl of the Wind, Luna Park." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Not Gothic

FYI, like another comment I made today, this is not Gothic. The arches are not pointed, and the building has not vaulting except some barrel vaulting. This is Romanesque, not Gothic. It does, though show some influence of Byzantine and Eastern culture [very popular in that period] much like structures in resort areas from the same period in Brighton and Eastbourne on the south coast of England, on which it was likely based.

Pocket full of quarters

The name Luna Park was here used for the first time. It went on to be used in several other fairgrounds all over the world, and eventually became (at least in Europe) a generic name for fairground attractions, or part of them.

During my childhood ('70s and '80s), where I lived in Belgium, we had a winter fair that came to our town every year. One part of it was a covered affair that presented to us youngsters the latest in arcade video games. It was called ... Luna Park.

Nobody knew where that name came from, or what it stood for. And at the time, the name "Luna Park" even became a generic name for an arcade video game place.

The arcade video games died out in the '90s, but even now, slip the name "Luna Park" to any guy from my generation, and they'll turn into a boy again, eyes gleaming, and pockets full of quarters (or their equivalent).

Just an Impression

Photos like these make that period seem impossibly elegant.


Coney Island before the subway opened was a destination of the middle class and up, hence the fashion. I learned this just today from the Bowery Boys' posts (with podcasts) on Coney Island history. (Post 1, Post 2).

It was bound to happen.

Combining the wood used to build the park, the number of light bulbs, and the period electrical wiring of the times, it's no wonder it burned. I'm just surprised it lasted until 1944 before it did so.

Though, I would have loved to have experienced the park in its heyday.

American Gothic

How does that thing even work? It's very Edward Gorey.

Not like the amusement parks we know

I still can't get over how well some people dressed in those days. I have to imagine that Luna Park attracted a more well to do customer and that the price of admission may have been the reason.

Counting lightbulbs

I started counting the lightbulbs in this photo but gave up when my vision went blurry and a migraine set in. Then I found some info on the internet that said, "By 1907, Luna Park was illuminated by 1,300,000 incandescent bulbs at a cost of $5,600 a week." It must have kept a squad of workers busy just replacing the burned out bulbs!

Later That Evening

Noting all the decorative lights makes me want a night view version of this as well. I can only imagine!

Safety First!

That ride looks perfectly safe to me!

Little Debbie is there!

Maybe she has the Cake and Cookie concession.

Meet me in Déjàvuland

Bravo Dave, for the lovely pairing of this photo with tterrace's latest post. And, down in the lower left corner, isn't that little Tootie Smith and her older sisters, visiting all the way from St. Louis?

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