Posts Tagged ‘Amusing the Million’

The title of my new blog takes its inspiration from John Kasson’s Book Amusing the Million: Coney Island at the Turn of the Century. The author was referring to the turn of the 19th century, when as many as 200,000 people a day came to Coney. Kasson’s title comes from a 1908 quote by Fredric Thompson, manager of Luna Park, who claimed 5 million paid admissions in a season and said Coney Island was in the business of “amusing the million.”

One hundred years later, I’d wager that Coney Island along with other amusement parks, theme parks and fairs have amused not merely millions but zillions of people. How many people will visit the new Coney Island that’s being planned? That depends on the size of the open-air amusement district.

The Municipal Art Society recommends “25 acres of amusements, excluding retail and hotel uses, to support a minimum of 3.4 million annual visitors. The refined vision should include a signature, iconic ride that re-establishes Coney Island as world-class destination and enough rides to support up to 15,000 visitors at any one time.”

The stats are David Malmuth’s of the real estate advisory firm RCLCO, which was commissioned by MAS to identify the characteristics that would ensure a successful new amusement area in Coney Island. I agree with his assessment. In order for Coney Island to continue to amuse the zillion, the area devoted exclusively to outdoor amusement uses must be expanded from the 12 acres in the City’s current plan.


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