An exhibition on the wildly fun amusement park rides and games of the 1900s, and the genius mechanic who designed them. September 7 – October 26th In Green-Wood’s Historic Chapel 12:00PM to 6:00PM every day Co-sponsored by the Coney Island History Project Additional generous funding provided by: The New York City Council … Read more
Vestie Davis (1903-1978) was a folk artist best known for his spirited paintings of New York City. Coney Island Boardwalk (1964), pictured above, is exemplary of Davis’s paintings. Although untrained in the arts, Davis managed to capture the rich and diverse scenery of the city, from one-of-a-kind landmark buildings and city centers to lively parks and beaches. Originally from Baltimore, Davis moved to New York City in 1928 and was immediately fascinated by its distinct architecture and culture. His artistic vision was to preserve the City that he loved in the face of a changing world. His style emphasized harmony and civility within the city’s social hubs while making use of bright colors and simple lines. Vestie Davis had a unique artistic career and did not begin painting regularly until he was in his forties. He was never trained in art, but rather spent his early years working as a circus barker, a newsstand manager, and an undertaker.
William S. Mangels (1866-1958), inventor and entrepreneur, brought life to Brooklyn’s Coney Island with his innovative amusement ride designs. Founder of the W.F. Mangels Company in the 1880s, Mangels designed over thirty nine amusement rides and other devices over the course of his career, some of which are still in use. The postcard pictured above depicts the rotating cars of “The Whip,” a popular Coney Island ride. Mangels is also credited with introducing the now standard up-and-down “galloping” motion of carousel horses and some of the first “kiddie” rides, designed especially for children.
On the evening of December 5, 1876 a fire broke out in the popular Brooklyn Theatre of Downtown Brooklyn (located at today’s Cadman Plaza, north of the New York Supreme Court Building in a tree-covered area). The fire began backstage and spread rapidly. Within half an hour the structure collapsed. At least 278 individuals lost their lives that night. 103 unidentified victims were buried in a common grave at Green-Wood.