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Brighton Beach Hotel

Edgar S. Thomson

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.
MEDIUM Gelatin dry glass plate negative
DATES 1896
DIMENSIONS 4 x 5 in. (10.2 x 12.7 cm)
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 1996.164.7-72
CREDIT LINE Brooklyn Museum/Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection
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