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c. 1948

Coney Island in color

Collection of vintage color photos of people enjoying Coney Island, though its heyday had already passed

NEW YORK - CIRCA 1948: A view of the Silver Streak ride in Steeplechase Park circa 1948 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York. (Photo by Sherman Oaks Antique Mall/Getty Images)

You wouldn’t know it from the vibrancy of these pictures, showing the vast array of people enjoying the many and varied pleasures of New York’s Coney Island in the heat of 1948, but the glory years of Coney Island were over.

Forty years before, it had boasted three extraordinary pleasure parks – Luna Park, Steeplechase Park, and Dreamland.

Shimmering white against the twilight, Luna Park alone was lit by a quarter of a million separate bulbs.

Until World War II, Coney Island was the most successful amusement location in the United States

And until World War II, Coney Island was the most successful amusement location in the United States. But the 1930s and the Great Depression were not kind to Coney, as Americans struggled to survive, let alone pay for entertainment.

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In 1944, Luna Park was ravaged by a fire, and two years later shut for good.

After 1945, attendance began an inexorable decline, amplified by the Post-War boom in car ownership.

Just a year after these pictures were taken, the land along the waterfront was commandeered by Robert Moses, NYC parks commissioner, and rezoned for housing.

1948
An African American couple on Coney Island beach
Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images
1948
A view of The Spinning saucer and other rides at Coney Island
Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images
1948
A view of the Coney Island boardwalk and the famous Parachute Jump in Steeplechase Park, built as part of the 1939 New York World’s Fair and moved in 1941
Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images
1948
A view of Coney Island
Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images
1948
A view of the Silver Streak ride in Steeplechase Park
Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images
1948
Sunbathers on Coney Island beach
Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images
1948
A view of the famous Parachute Jump in Steeplechase Park
Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images
1948
The Parachute Jump, Steeplechase Park
Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images
1948
A woman sunbathes on Coney Island beach
Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images
1948
A view of sunbathers on Coney Island beach
Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images
1948
A view of the Coney Island Boardwalk and the beach
Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images
1948
Sunbathers and swimmers on the beach while a blimp with the word Flamingo on the side glides above
Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images

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