Posts Tagged ‘Brighton Beach Race Track’

A Fulton Street motorman—and his trolley

September 1, 2010

I wonder what it felt like to travel in one of these rickety-looking trolley cars over the Brooklyn Bridge to Park Row—the destination suggested by the sign at the top of the car.

It looks like a potentially bumpy ride. Must have had a nice breeze though.

Check out the ad on the front right of the trolley, for “Auto Races” at the Brighton Beach Race Track.

That gives a clue to about when this photo was taken. The Brighton Beach track was converted from a horse track to auto racing in 1908. They were torn down by the 1920s.

Watching the races at the Brighton Beach track

July 16, 2009

Brighton Beach was developed as a swanky summer resort in the 1860s; impressive hotels were built at the water’s edge. And after Ocean Parkway was extended and the Brighton Beach Railroad completed, the crowds really started coming.

One major attraction: The Brighton Beach Race Course, opened in 1879. It featured thoroughbred horse racing and later harness racing (on sand, oddly enough), soon attracting wealthy New Yorkers who liked betting on the ponies.

Brightonbeachracetrack

But in 1908, New York State severely restricted gambling, and that put a serious dent in the horse racing business. Course owners came up with a novel idea: converting the track into a “motordrome” for auto racing. 

The crowds loved it; tens of thousands sat in the grandstand to watch races.