A century ago, Coney Island wasn’t the only game in town for thrilling rides and carnival magic.
Queens had Rockaways Playland, which bit the dust in 1985. Canarsie had Golden City, which closed in 1939.
And the central Bronx had Starlight Park (above, in 1920), a wonderfully named destination on the Bronx River.
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.
The stadium was home to the New York Giants soccer team, and a popular venue for amateur boxing and auto races.
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]