Skip Navigation

Coney Island Beach

Irving Underhill

The Coney Island beach was made public in 1915 after a long legal battle, and the boardwalk was finally constructed in 1923. Municipal baths replaced the private establishments, and the city added sand to fight erosion and create more beachfront. At this point the exclusive Seagate had long since separated from the main part of Coney, while the eastern end had gone out of fashion, with the last remaining resorts quickly disappearing. The Oriental Hotel closed in 1916, and Brighton Beach Hotel was razed a few years later. In the 1920s, many Eastern European Jews and Italian and Greek immigrants took up residence in the neighborhood adjoining the amusement district. Dreamland was long gone, and Luna somewhat declining, but Steeplechase was still a popular destination. In the background of this image, note the roller coaster and the Ferris wheel, the colorful Wonder Wheel from 1920 with its double ring of cars.
MEDIUM Gelatin dry glass plate negative
DATES 1924
DIMENSIONS 8 x 10 in. (20.3 x 25.4 cm)  (show scale)
ACCESSION NUMBER 1996.164.8-B43615
CREDIT LINE Brooklyn Museum/Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Irving Underhill (American, 1872–1960). Coney Island Beach, 1924. Gelatin dry glass plate negative, 8 x 10 in. (20.3 x 25.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum/Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection, 1996.164.8-B43615. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1996.164.8-B43615_glass_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 1996.164.8-B43615_glass_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
RIGHTS STATEMENT © Estate of Irving Underhill
The Brooklyn Museum holds a non-exclusive license to reproduce images of this work of art from the rights holder named here. The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act. For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact If you wish to contact the rights holder for this work, please email and we will assist if we can.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.