Oriental Hotel, Coney Island
George Bradford Brainerd
On View: 5th floor H-wing Elevator Lobby
As bathing in the ocean increased in popularity during the nineteenth century, the east end of the island—farthest from the city and at some distance from the rougher sections to the west that were popular with the urban working classes—quickly became an exclusive retreat, with several lavish hotels lining the mostly privately owned beaches. Establishments such as the luxurious Oriental, for the very rich, and the Brighton Beach Hotel, for the well-to-do Brooklyn middle class, opened in 1876 and 1878, respectively, and provided their own ferry and railroad connections with Brooklyn and New York. Private detectives patrolled the grounds for security. Music and fireworks entertained thousands of guests at night, and the restaurants could accommodate up to twenty thousand diners every day in the summer season. Today this section is known as Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach, where Kingsborough Community College now stands close to the site of the former Oriental Hotel. Like George Bradford Brainerd, Edgar S. Thomson was an amateur photographer who at the turn of the twentieth century focused on Manhattan and Brooklyn landscapes.
Collodion silver glass wet plate negative
March 4, 1877
Brooklyn Museum/Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection
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George Bradford Brainerd (American, 1845-1887). Oriental Hotel, Coney Island, March 4, 1877. Collodion silver glass wet plate negative, 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 in. (8.3 x 10.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum/Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection, 1996.164.2-1522a
overall, 1996.164.2-1522a_glass_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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