United States History Since 1865
Professor Mark Carson
Feb. 9, 2015
Coney Island and Its Mark
After reading “Amusing the Million” you realize that technology can lead to wonderful things. Coney Island has proven this to be true. From the start of Coney Island in 1895 up to it’s climax in the 1920’s technology not only improved the life of people but it also helped give a new view on life and what was going on at the time. Coney Island was comprised of many different parks and areas that people could go to get away from everyday struggles. Coney Island didn’t just arise out of nowhere though. Everything in the world seems to just be an even better idea of something else and that is what Coney Island seemed to be and still is today. There were two parks that seemed to spark the idea for Coney Island. The first park that sparked the idea of Coney Island was Central Park in New York. The second park that gave life to the idea of Coney Island was Chicago’s Columbian Exposition. Since they were the backbone for Coney Island there are many differences between the parks but there are also a couple of similarities too. Coney Island just improved everything that these two parks seemed to offer to its crowds.
The original park, which was Central Park, arose in 1858. Frederick Law Olmsted was the creator. He wanted to create a place of relaxation. But the relaxation he had in mind wasn’t just sitting around at home with friends; instead he wanted to create a place where you could relax while gaining “both physical and imaginative exercise”(Pg. 13). Not only was he trying to create a place of relaxation but also “a setting where people of all class might promenade in large groups” (Pg. 13). But to no surprise the park had been taken over by the government because the park attracted so many people. The government saw this as a way to show people what society should be like in their eyes. Soon after Central Park had been taken over and run by the social elite, Daniel H. Burnham had constructed a whole new park. The park he created constructed was no ordinary park though; it was more of a fair. His team of artists, architects, and sculptors created a new Venice, which they called the “White City”. It is also referred to as Chicago’s Columbian Exposition. The “White City” was there to show people what the city could amount to if they actually decided to take the route they took creating it. Not only did the park show that but it also showed many new cultures because they took attractions from the Midway. The Midway was a place where people experienced many new acts from different cultures and brought them to America.
When the “White City” had been created this is where the use of technology started to come into play. George W. G. Ferris had decided to create a Ferris wheel for the “White City”. This Ferris wheel had given a view of not only the park but it also gave a view “beyond the static ideal of the White City to the dynamic, urban, industrial, ethnically diverse world of the city of Chicago”(Pg. 26). The “White City” basically influenced American architecture. Coney Island had been around for a while at this point but was never really a huge attraction spot. It was comprised of many different parks in one spot. But soon new innovators begin to improve the Park. Austin Corbin seemed to be the first person to try and help improve Coney Island with his construction of a new railway. He had constructed the Beach Railway that got you around New York & Manhattan. Coney Island was basically the stopping point for people because they had been creating new places for people to relax and also enjoy their relaxation. The reason they were able to do so was because all the hotels in Coney Island were different from each other. There were hotels that were constructed with malls, food spots, or even gambling spots, which attracted many new people each day. When Coney Island had started to become popular they took...
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