"Amateur" Professor Solomon, a "findologist" and author of the fantastic book How To Find Lost Objects, also wrote a history of Coney Island. The 152-page illustrated book is available for free download from the Professor's site or in paperback from Amazon for $10. (Link) My sincere thanks to the Professor for capturing the stories of this delightful place before its last remnants are swept into the dustbin of history. I can't wait to visit the old boardwalk from my armchair. From the book description:
Roaming about, (Professor Solomon) interviews old-timers–searches for antiquities–explores what is left of the amusement area. (Among his finds: a man who remembers seeing the first human cannonball, shot into the air at Coney Island; the remains of Steeplechase Park; and a ride–the Wonder Wheel–that began as a perpetual-motion machine.)
He also provides a history of Coney Island–from its Canarsie Indian days, to its era as a lawless, Tijuana-style resort, to the rise and fall of its amusement parks. On this historical tour, you'll meet such personages as John Y. McKane (notorious mayor of Coney Island); George Tilyou (amusement-park pioneer); and the Wild Man of Borneo (actually, an actor from the Bronx). And you'll visit the Pavilion of Fun, French Nudist exhibit, Elephant Hotel, Trip to the Moon, Insanitarium, Tunnel of Love, flea circus, Feltman's restaurant (where the hot dog was invented), and other vanished attractions.
Previously on BB:
• HOWTO find lost objects Link
• Coney Island's preemie sideshow Link
• Paul Cadmus' 1934-1935 painting "Coney Island" Link