Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn in 1910’

Color and confetti at the Coney Island Mardi Gras

October 15, 2010

“Coney Island’s week of fun, the Coney Island Mardi Gras, which has become an established custom and brings to an end to each Coney season, began last night in a blaze of color and with much music and confetti,” wrote The New York Times on September 10, 1912.

It must have been crazy fun: thousands of spectators cheering dozens of parade floats along Surf Avenue on a late September night.

Revelers in costume marching along the floats, and a king and a queen were crowned every year.

The Mardi Gras started in 1903 as a fund-raising vehicle for the Coney Island Rescue Mission, which served “wayward” young women, according to John H. Kasson’s Amusing the Million.

[Photos: Bain News Service, 1910 or 1915 (top) and 1908]

It lasted until 1953—just about when Coney Island began losing its appeal as the city’s summer playground.

In its place we have the fabulous Mermaid Parade—itself inspired by the anything-goes craziness of the early 20th century Coney carnival.

Frontier town—or Flatbush, Brooklyn?

September 8, 2010

This gorgeous postcard, stamped 1913, claims to be the “business section” of Flatbush.

The trolley tracks seem very Brooklyn, but otherwise, it could be any town or small city in the country circa 1900.

So what stretch of Flatbush is this? A search of the Brooklyn Eagle archives turned up a “to let” listing for a Kodaks (see store sign at left) at 202 Flatbush Avenue.

That would put this image at about Flatbush and Bergen Streets.

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.