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Pony Island: 1904

New York circa 1904. "The ponies, Coney Island." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

New York circa 1904. "The ponies, Coney Island." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Say Cheese!

With the relatively slow film, and a bunch of kids being held up for a, no doubt, publicity photo, what with the increasingly annoyed lens-man growling 'Hold still, you little buggers, and you lot, clear out of frame!', I'm surprised the photographer didn't have a stampede on his hands!

[By this time, photographic emulsions - in this case on a glass plate, not film - were sensitive enough to permit exposure times of a fraction of a second in sunlight. Note the lack of motion blur where you'd otherwise expect it, for example, the ponies' heads. - tterrace]

Goat Carts

Check out the goat-pulled wagons to the right!

I believe pony rides are long gone from Coney Island now.

That's no "Mama's Boy"

Look closely and you’ll see there is a smaller child behind the boy in the horrible, pin-striped, matching short-pant and shirt outfit.
And I'm sure he'd box your ears for calling him a mama's boy!

Edward VIII

Is that a scowling Prince of Wales standing at the extreme left?

Adventures In Coal Mining

That sounds like a fun attraction.

Mama's boy

My best guess is that the boy in stripes, holding his mother's hand, was beat up often by the ruffians riding the ponies.

A caper in the works

These two are planning something.

It would be decades

before little Timmy Dorfmann, standing front center, would benefit from the fledgling science of psychotherapy.

If you think we're having fun now

wait until we go down into the Coal Mine.

A rumble?

This seems like more than normal stoicism. Half the pony kids as well as the two older boys in back are glowering at something or someone to the left of the cameraman. And the boy in the dark suit to the very left is looking pretty angry too. A dispute or argument over something happened here right before the picture was taken.

You'd be unhappy too

If you had to go back to work in The Great Coal Mine.

Goin' down down down

I think the kids have such dour expressions because they were told that if they got out of hand they'd be forced to work in The Great Coal Mine.

Stay golden pony boy.

Maybe the pony riders were getting blown raspberries from the peanut gallery.

Work Will Set You Free?

Shorpy and his workmates look happier than these kids. The attitude of society at that time was that children were just small adults and no one was interested in children being carefree and happy. Even the ponies aren't too happy.

No grinning in public!

My old English grandmother taught me that. She thought that people who did were idiots. She was VERY English middle class. She was born in 1904.

The Good Ol' Days?

Wow! Not a smile to be seen in the whole crowd. Must be a lilliputian funeral procession.

Um, kids, do you not like ponies?

What's with the grim expressions here? Every last one of them looks like they hate being on a pony -- not what I'd expect from little kids ... Or are they just not reacting well to being photographed?

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