In 1905, when Coney Island had a trio of three grand amusement parks–Steeplechase, Luna and Dreamland–popular attractions included a scenic railway that transported visitors to the North Pole, Africa, the Grand Canyon and Hades, and live shows such as a Midget City and Dr. Couney’s Infant Incubators. “None of this season’s novelties at Coney Island is better worth seeing than the Igorrote Village in Luna Park,” wrote a Brooklyn Eagle reporter of a brand-new attraction where nearly naked, tattooed tribespeople from the Philippines entertained the masses by performing dances and rituals. “For obvious reasons the surroundings of the Filipino headhunter are not so realistic as at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition last summer, but otherwise the exhibition has the same impression in its sheer contrast of savages with civilized people,” said the reporter.
Journalist Claire Prentice scoured innumerable archives to piece together and vividly bring to life this fascinating, long-forgotten episode of amusement park history in her new book The Lost Tribe of Coney Island. Touted as “headhunting, dog-eating savages” by the press, the Igorrotes were a show biz sensation and a gold mine for their increasingly unscrupulous manager Truman K. Hunt, the former lieutenant governor of Bontoc. He obtained permission from the U.S. government to bring the group to America after having managed the government’s own Igorrote Village at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. The exhibits were “used to push the case that America had a duty to protect, educate and civilize such savage beings, and later, when the treatment they experienced became a national scandal, they were used to argue that America had no place in the Philippines at all,” writes Prentice.
“Uncle Sam” and the Igorrotes at Luna Park, June 1905. The New York Tribune
Upon arrival at Luna Park in May, the Igorrotes energetically built and rebuilt the thatched huts of their Village and presented “an amusement park version of their daily lives.” Hunt staged sham romances and weddings and a fake dog-napping as publicity stunts. At home, the Igorrotes feasted on dog meat for special occasions but were forced to eat it daily in Coney Island Continue Reading »
Posted in Books, Reading & Writing | Tagged Bontoc, book review, Claire Prentice, Coney Island, Dreamland, Igorot, Igorrote, Igorrotes, Luna Park, Philippines, The Lost Tribe of Coney Island | Leave a Comment »
Coney Island Signage in Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. Photo © Tricia Vita
Now that Coney’s amusement parks are closed for the season and temps are in the 40s, we’re starting to see depressing comments on social media:
Went to an abandoned Coney Island to help a friend out on a shoot
Coney Island (amusement park) looks like a ghost town
Missing the summer and the rides on the “Wheel”…
Don’t remind me
Hey, Coney’s Opening Day is only 140 days away! Palm Sunday is early next year, on March 29th.
Also, check out our post from last fall “Coney Island Always: Visiting the Big CI Year-Round” for things to do until then.
Related posts on ATZ…
November 7, 2014: Photo Album: Deno’s Carousel Horses Put to Bed for Winter
November 3, 2014: Summertime Has Gone Away, Polar Bears Are Here to Stay
January 2, 2014: Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge’s Best Dressed of 2014
December 23, 2013: Coney’s Parachute Jump & Wonder Wheel Lit for Christmas
Posted in amusement park, Photo of the Day | Tagged Coney Island, Coney Island's opening day, OPening Day, sign, signage | 2 Comments »
Amusements of America at the Coastal Carolina Fair in Ladson, South Carolina. October 30-November 9, 2014. Photo via Coastal Carolina Fair Facebook
Fair season is in full swing in the Southeast with the 11-day Coastal Carolina Fair in South Carolina’s Charleston County wrapping up this weekend. Amusements of America has played the fair for over 50 years and this year’s midway boasts 65 rides including such thrillers as the Crazy Mouse, Banzai, Space Roller and Tornado.
Check out the new fair foods reviewed by Hanna Raskin, food critic for the Post & Courier, who liked the deep-fried barbecue on a stick enough to consider ordering it for an off-fairgrounds lunch. Concessionaire Derek Porter’s Eastern Carolina whole hog barbecue is saturated with vinegar, a flavor that stands out in the Coastal Carolina Fair’s sea of sugar and salt, Raskin writes. “The barbecue is encased in sweet hushpuppy batter, which fries up impressively free of grease.”
Also on the new foods menu at the fair–Netterfield’s Frosted Flake chicken tenders-on-a-stick and Prowant’s Specialties’ deep-fried Sugar Daddy and pumpkin funnel cake with cream cheese icing.
Next week, A of A heads to the November 11-16 Okefenokee Fair in Waycross, Georgia.
Photo via Coastal Carolina Fair Facebook
Related posts on ATZ…
December 22, 2013: Traveler: Christmas Holidays at Parks in Northern Climes
August 22, 2013: Traveler: New York State Fair and Minnesota State Fair
August 9, 2012: Traveler: Skywheel at the Wisconsin State Fair 2012
October 8, 2010: Traveler: Most Beautiful Video of the State Fair of Texas
Posted in Events, fair, Food, Travel | Tagged Amusements of America, Coastal Carolina Fair, deep-fried barbecue on a stick, Derek Porter, fair food, food on a stick, Hanna Raskin, South Carolina | Leave a Comment »
Deno’s Carousel being dismantled for the winter, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. October 29, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita
After closing for the season on October 26th, the carousel at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park was partially disassembled and the horses were put to bed for the winter. Luckily, ATZ happened to be there to snap a few shots. Who knew that the ponies spend the off-season hibernating inside the dark ride Spook-A-Rama?! Continue Reading »
Posted in amusement park, Amusement ride, Photo Album, Photography | Tagged carousel, Coney Island, Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, Spook-A-Rama, winter, winter storage | Leave a Comment »
Chairs for Sale. Inquire Inside. Ruby’s Bar & Grill, Coney Island Boardwalk. October 18, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita
Whether you’re a regular at Ruby’s Bar & Grill or a fan who drops by on Mermaid Day, here’s your chance to own an original chair from the legendary watering hole on the Coney Island Boardwalk. Ruby’s co-owner Michael Sarrel told ATZ the chairs are up for sale because they are getting new seating. The price is right — only ten bucks–marked down from $18. On a snowy day at home, you can tip back on your souvenir chair and imagine you’re back at Ruby’s in Coney Island and it’s summer.
Last week, Ruby’s November and December schedule was posted on the bar’s website: “From now until Jan. 1, we will be closed, BUT our bar will be open on weekends (weather permitting). For updates, please check our Facebook page. As is our tradition, we WILL be open for the Polar Bear Club’s annual plunge on New Year’s Day. Ruby’s is looking forward to seeing you again in 2015!”
Related posts on ATZ...
April 5, 2014: Photo Album: A Solitary Evening Stroll in Coney Island
October 3, 2012: Photo of the Day: The Weekday View from Ruby’s Bar
May 22, 2012: Photo Album: Welcome Back, Paul’s Daughter & Ruby’s Bar!
January 7, 2011: Photo of the Day: Greetings from Ruby’s Snow Mountain Resort!
Posted in Food & Drink, history, Photo of the Day | Tagged Coney Island, Coney Island Boardwalk, Ruby's Bar, Ruby's Bar & Grill, souvenir | Leave a Comment »
Thor Equities vacant lot on Coney Island’s Bowery at West 12th Street. November 2, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita
It’s not surprising that the Coney Island Rumor Mill’s latest rumor is virtually the same one we hear every year–that amusement rides are coming to one of Thor Equities CEO Joe Sitt’s vacant lots next season.
The woeful looking lot on the Bowery is adjacent to Luna Park’s Scream Zone and within sight of the new Thunderbolt roller coaster. One corner of the lot was occupied by McCullough’s Kiddie Park until October 2012, when the 50-year-old park’s long-term lease expired. The rest of the lot was part of Batting Cage and Go Kart City, which also featured bumper boats and a miniature golf course, and was evicted by Thor Equities in 2006. The last time a carnival came to this lot was 2012. The platform of the abandoned MegaWhirl ride remains.
According to the Rumor Mill, the construction of underground utilities are expected to get underway in preparation for a new amusement park to open in the spring. The Coney Island amusement area’s Palm Sunday opener– March 29th– is in 145 days. Despite various amusement operators efforts to negotiate lease deals with Thor Equities in the past, the lots remained vacant this year as well as in 2010 and 2013, when the City issued a stop-work order on a permit for “temporary parking for the amusement district.” We’ll tag this story #HopeSpringsEternal.
Thor’s Coney Island: Aerial view of vacant lots on south side of the Bowery between W 12th and W 15th where amusements once thrived. July 7, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita
Related posts on ATZ…
August 22, 2013: In Memoriam: Carousel & Amusement Park Operator Jimmy McCullough
September 4, 2012: Exclusive: McCullough’s Kiddie Park Closing After 50 Years in Coney Island
June 14, 2011: Coney Island Kiddie Park Getting Squeezed by Thor Equities
March 3, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: What Stillwell Looked Like Before Joe Sitt
Posted in amusement park, Amusement ride | Tagged Coney Island, Coney Island 2015, Coney Island Rumor Mill, Thor Equities | 6 Comments »