Surf Avenue, Coney Island
Disaster spectacles—both independently operated on Surf Avenue, and at Luna Park and Dreamland—were common at Coney Island. Reenactments of war battles, from Gettysburg to the more contemporary Boer wars, competed for attention with scenes of natural catastrophes such as the Galveston Flood of 1900. Luna Park’s “Fire and Flames,” advertised in this image, was a popular disaster spectacle in which firemen rescued several hundred actors from a burning six-story hotel. Dreamland had its own fire-fighting display, “Fighting the Flames,” with even more firemen and actors.
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H.S. Lewis. Surf Avenue, Coney Island, 1904. negative Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum/Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection, 1996.164.5-3 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1996.164.5-3_bw_SL1.jpg)
overall, 1996.164.5-3_bw_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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