The rise of Coney Island in the postwar years was temporary, and from the 1950s, Coney was in steady decline. Postwar suburbanization, car culture, and the creation of parkways and public state parks such as Jones Beach offered people alternatives for day trips in the summer. Robert Moses, New York City’s powerful Parks Commissioner, objected to the kind of entertainment Coney offered with its penny arcades, shooting galleries, rides, and sideshows. In 1938 his Parks Department took control of the beach at Coney Island, with efforts to increase public access and reduce the amusements. In the 1950s and 1960s large areas were used for new housing projects built on Moses’s initiative. Widespread gang violence in the 1950s frightened some visitors, and when Steeplechase closed for good in 1964, the area dedicated to amusement was dramatically reduced. Nevertheless, Coney Island as a democratic destination for everyone subsisted, as testified here in Stephen Salmieri’s many images from the late 1960s.
- Artist: Stephen Salmieri, American, born 1945
- Medium: Gelatin silver photograph
- Dates: 1969
- Dimensions: Sheet: 11 x 14 in. (27.9 x 35.6 cm) Image: 8 x 10 in. (20.3 x 25.4 cm) (show scale)
- Signature: Signed in graphite verso "Salmieri"
- Inscriptions: Titled in graphite verso "1969 Coney Island"
- Museum Location: This item is not on view
- Accession Number: 82.201.37
- Credit Line: Gift of Edward Klein
- Rights Statement: © Stephen Salmieri
- Caption: Stephen Salmieri (American, born 1945). Coney Island, 1969. Gelatin silver photograph, Sheet: 11 x 14 in. (27.9 x 35.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Edward Klein, 82.201.37. © Stephen Salmieri
- Record Completeness: Best (84%)