When Steeplechase Park thrilled Coney Island

From 1897 to 1964, Steeplechase Park blew away the seaside crowds.

Twenty-five cents got you admission to the park’s 25 rides, including the ferris wheel, steeplechase race, “trip to the moon,” and later, the parachute jump.

Added to the park in 1939 by legendary founder George Tilyou, the parachute jump is the only remnant of Steeplechase that still exists. Today, the Brooklyn Cyclones minor league stadium occupies the site.

It could have been worse. Donald Trump’s father bought the dilapidated park in the 1960s intending to raze it and build high-rises.

Unable to change the zoning, he knocked it down and then sold the land to the city.

The above 1898 painting, expansive and enchanting, is part of the collection at the Museum of the City of New York. So who painted it? It’s a mystery:

“The artist McKay (his first name is uncertain) was probably employed as a scenic painter at Steeplechase Park sometime between 1898 and 1906,” states Painting the Town: Cityscapes of New York. “Nothing further is known about him.”

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7 Responses to “When Steeplechase Park thrilled Coney Island”

  1. mars tokyo Says:

    I wonder if it could have been an early work by cartoonist Windsor McKay?

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Great connection. The timing is about right. Could it be?

  3. 1905 Steeplechase Park postcard Says:

    […] These were the halcyon days of the Steeplechase Park. […]

  4. Patty Ryan Says:

    Never recovered from the scare of being chased by the clowns across the stage after riding the Steeplechase and before you left you could climb a few stairs up to an enclosed cage, to see a couple of “red bats”.

  5. Explaining Coney Island to the rest of the world | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] had become Sodom by the Sea—a tawdry playground of hotels, pavilions, dime museums, freak shows, amusement parks, exotic animals, and more, all bathed in thousands of colored […]

  6. A teen swims from Manhattan to Coney Island | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] On September 19, 1910, Pitonof attempted to swim the 17 miles from East 23rd Street in Manhattan to Coney Island’s Steeplechase Pier. […]

  7. A teen swims from Manhattan to Coney Island ⋆ New York city blog Says:

    […] On September 19, 1910, Pitonof attempted to swim the 17 miles from East 23rd Street in Manhattan to Coney Island’s Steeplechase Pier. […]

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