Swept by Ocean Breezes: A History of Coney Island. A lecture by John B. Manbeck.
Coney Island, originally a useless peninsula south of Kings County, materialized into an attraction as a result of the machinations of a political boss, John Y. McKane. By selling off the public lands of the independent Town of Gravesend to concessionaires, he encouraged popular attractions to build on the desolate coast. Mass transportation crossed Brooklyn to bring the daring and the curious. First, fishermen, then racing enthusiasts, finally the masses who flooded the beaches, amusement rides and the boardwalk. In an age that was limited by finances and in its mobility, summer at Coney Island became a utopia, only diminished by modern inventions and a more worldly view. The slides document this transformation from a desolate wasteland to a dreamland for the common populace.
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