Breathtaking Color Photographs Captured Everyday Life at New York’s Coney Island in the Heat of 1948

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And until World War II, Coney Island was the most successful amusement location in the United States. But the 1930s and the Great Depression were not kind to Coney, as Americans struggled to survive, let alone pay for entertainment.

In 1944, Luna Park was ravaged by a fire, and two years later shut for good.

After 1945, attendance began an inexorable decline, amplified by the Post-War boom in car ownership.

Just a year after these pictures were taken, the land along the waterfront was commandeered by Robert Moses, NYC parks commissioner, and rezoned for housing.

An African American couple on Coney Island beach.

A view of The Spinning saucer and other rides at Coney Island.

A view of the Silver Streak ride in Steeplechase Park.

A view of the Coney Island boardwalk and the famous Parachute Jump in Steeplechase Park, built as part of the 1939 New York World’s Fair and moved in 1941.

A view of Coney Island.

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