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Luna Park and Surf Avenue, Coney Island

Irving Underhill

Frederic Thompson and Elmer Dundy, with experience of running concessions at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and other fairs, had brought their successful simulation of a spaceship ride, A Trip to the Moon, to Steeplechase in 1902. The following year they decided to open their own amusement venture, Luna Park, on the site of Boyton’s failing Sea Lion Park, on Surf Avenue between West Eighth and West Twelfth streets. Two hundred fifty thousand electric lights turned night into day, with an imaginary architecture of many exotic spires and domes in white, orange, and gold. Luna’s twenty-two acres were dedicated entirely to pleasure and play with concerts, fireworks, and carnivalesque performances, in addition to the many fanciful and creative rides that employed all the technical innovations of the day. The entrance on Surf Avenue with its many moon-shaped decorations, seen here, was a 1905 addition. Note the electric trolley headed west to Seagate, which had become an independent and exclusive gated community in 1896.
MEDIUM Gelatin dry glass plate negative
DATES 1912
ACCESSION NUMBER 1996.164.8-B19045
CREDIT LINE Brooklyn Museum/Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Irving Underhill (American, 1872–1960). Luna Park and Surf Avenue, Coney Island, 1912. Gelatin dry glass plate negative Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum/Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection, 1996.164.8-B19045. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1996.164.8-B19045_glass_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 1996.164.8-B19045_glass_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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RIGHTS STATEMENT © Estate of Irving Underhill
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