Amusements and Thrills The Gilded Gentleman

How The Gilded Age Played: A Sweet Summertime Show With Esther Crain

On the latest episode of The Gilded Gentleman, returning guest Esther Crain, author and creator of Ephemeral New York, joins Carl for a look at how New Yorkers stayed cool on summer days in the Gilded Age.  As New York continued its march up the island of Manhattan, there were few places where New Yorkers that couldn’t escape… Read More

Amusements and Thrills Bowery Boys Bookshelf

The literary Coney Island

Everybody sees Coney Island a little differently. Most people know it for the amusements but not everybody has the same feeling about them. One person craves the beaches, the food. Another prefers a stroll along the boardwalk, fireworks, an evening Cyclones game. Others live nearby, too familiar with the swelling weekend crowds. And some people… Read More

Amusements and Thrills

Coney Island’s many death and destruction amusements

The entrance to the Johnstown Flood presentation (Cleaned-up photo courtesy Shorpy) On May 31, 1889, a dam near the town of Johnstown, PA, collapsed after a brutal day of torrential rain, flooding the valley with 20 million tons of water and destroying everything in its path. There was virtually no escape, and 2,209 people died… Read More

Luna Park forever? Amusement of the past — and future

The early days of Luna Park, 1905, in all its electric-lit glory. The park opened in 1903. (Pic courtesy Shorpy, click here for full-size image) Flying overhead, looking down at Luna Park, 1920 (Courtesy U.S. Army Air Forces) The last days of Luna Park, 1944. A series of fires in the park the next year… Read More


PODCAST: Coney Island – The Golden Age

The Coney Island that greeted vacationers and city folk in the years 1904 to 1911 was one of infinite imagination manifested in fantastic but cheaply built extravaganza. A world of amusement starts here in New York — Coney Island, the world’s oldest and strangest collection of amusement parks, a mishmash of sideshows, concession stands, gambling… Read More