Finance 11 vintage photos of New York City's most famous beach in its glory days

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Coney Island opened with one roller coaster in 1895, but by 1904 had three amusement areas with many different rides.

Coney Island, 1945 play

Coney Island, 1945

(AP Images)
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For over a century, Coney Island has been attracting New Yorkers and tourists alike to its sandy beaches, fun carnival foods, and amusement rides.

Coney Island opened with just one roller coaster in 1895, but by 1904 had three amusement areas with many different rides: Dreamland, Luna Park, and Steeplechase Park.

When the New York subway connection to Coney Island was built in 1920, the neighborhood became a place that people of all races and social status could visit, which upset the crowd of wealthy people who were previously known to migrate to that area.

Over the years, Coney Island has undergone many changes, yet it still remains a popular place for tourists and locals. Below, see vintage photos of the popular amusement park.

Courtney Verrill contributed reporting to an earlier version of this article.

The boardwalk was built to accommodate visitors in 1926. On some days, the park was so packed that there were no places to sit — even on the sand.

July 4, 1937. play

July 4, 1937.

(AP Images)

Source: Luna Park



The Cyclone roller coaster has been operating for almost 90 years. It officially opened in 1927.

May 31, 1942. play

May 31, 1942.

(AP Images)


The amusement areas at Coney Island — Dreamland, Luna Park, and Steeplechase Park — made it the largest amusement area in the nation from the end of the 19th century through World War II.

August 13, 1954. play

August 13, 1954.

(Carl Nesensohn/AP Images)


Parts of the original Luna Park burned down in 1944, and it was officially closed in 1946.

May 27, 1945. play

May 27, 1945.

(AP Images)


None of the three original amusement areas are currently there, thanks to several fires and closures. A newer version of Luna Park opened up in 2010.

May 26, 1943. play

May 26, 1943.

(AP Images)


Many of the roller coasters that were burned down now have newer versions — such as the Thunderbolt, which was originally built in the 1920s and reinvented in 2014.

May 27, 1945. play

May 27, 1945.

(AP Images)


The beach has always been a place where people flock to during the hot summer days. Here's a scene of a particularly crowded day in August 1948.

August 28, 1948. play

August 28, 1948.

(AP Images)


The Wonder Wheel is the oldest ride in the area. It has been operating since 1918 and is now known as a National Historic Landmark.

June 30, 1953. play

June 30, 1953.

(AP Images)

Source: Luna Park



Coney Island is also home to many popular food locations, like Nathan's Famous, which opened its first location in Coney Island in 1916.

August 14, 1959. play

August 14, 1959.

(Ruben Goldberg/AP Images)


Frozen custard was invented in Coney Island when ice cream vendors Archie and Elton Kohr found a way to make ice cream stay cold for a longer period of time.

August 1, 1961. play

August 1, 1961.

(Jack Kanthal/AP Images)

Source: Frozen Kuhsterd



Today, visitors can still enjoy a number of rides, walk along the boardwalk, and take a swim in the Atlantic Ocean.

March 19, 1966. play

March 19, 1966.

(AP Images)