A century ago, Coney Island wasn’t the only game in town for thrilling rides and carnival magic.
Opened in 1918, Starlight Park had everything Coney had bathing pavillions, a shooting gallery, a 15,000-seat stadium for the circus and other events, even a roller coaster.
“It had a big swimming pool with a sort of observation veranda alongside, a sandy ‘beach’ and lockers by the day or season,” stated a letter-writer responding to a New York Times article on the park from 1995. “It had a picnic grove.”
The park even sponsored a little culture for the masses, in the form of opera and big band shows.
Starlight Park only dazzled the Bronx for 14 years.
Closed in 1932, a fire burned down the bathing pavillions in the 1940s, after which the land became a parking lot and then a dumping ground.
Recently cleaned up, it just reopened as a traditional city park—part of the revitalized Bronx River Greenway.
[Photos: George Bain Collection, Library of Congress]