Coney Island - Timeline
The material is copyrighted © 1997 by Jeffrey Stanton.
- A fire broke out in an unoccupied pizza restaurant east of Steeplechase on
August 28th at 8 P.M. and was fought by 35 fire companies with 75 pieces of
equipment. Before it was contained at 9:45 P.M. six amusement places
including the Ravenhall and Washington Baths were burned in the area between
W. 19th and W 21st. Steeplechase's roller coaster and other buildings were
hosed down by its employees to prevent its spread.
- Astroland amusement park opens on the old Feltman property at W. 10th Avenue
between Surf Avenue and the Boardwalk.
- Coney Island experiences the worst season in a quarter of a century. Fear,
not the World's Fair, was cited as the reason by concessionaires who reported
business drops of 30-90% from the previous year. They attributed the decline
in the following order.
- 1) Influx of Negroes who made up half of the visitors, but discourage the
attendance of white people.
- 2) Unsafe subways.
- 3) Teenage hoodlums. It was home turf for the city's teenage gangs.
- 4) Bad weather - rainy weekends (it snowed Easter weekend).
- 5) Inadequate parking.
- 6) World's Fair.
- Steeplechase Park closes permanently on September 20th.
- Steeplechase Park , a 12.5 acre site, sold to Fred C. Trump, a real estate
developer, for more than $2,500,000.
- When 4000 teenage youths riot on Memorial Day, many concessionaires were
forced to close before midnight. Many of the teens, who came by bus from
Trenton, Baltimore and Philadelphia, were drunk.
- New York City buys the Steeplechase Park acreage for $4,000,000 for a possible
- NYC puts the Parachute ride up for sale, but there are no bidders.
- Estimate Board enacts zoning change barring further residential development
in an attempt to revive beachfront as a prime amusement and recreation area.
- The Landmarks Commission on July 10th voted to make the Parachute Jump tower
a historic landmark.
- Fire damages the Tornado roller coaster on December 10th.
- Fourteen people were injured and hospitalized while riding the Hell Hole on
Saturday night July 29, 1995. The rotor ride, where the floor drops out as
people are stuck to the spinning walls by centrifugal force, experienced metal
fatigue and a section of the ride collapsed. Passengers inside suddenly heard
a woman outside scream, "Stop the ride!" as chaos ensured around them. One
woman, Lourdes Gonzolas, nearly lost her leg after it was cut open to the
bone. The ride was permanently closed.