Posts Tagged ‘Coney Island in the 1920s’

This amusing tune recorded eighty years ago by the Mills Brothers is about a Coney Island gal who plays washboard music on the Boardwalk and “could rag a tune right through the knees of a brand new suit of easy breezes.” The suit is updated to Levi jeans in some recent recordings of “Coney Island Washboard.” The Victrola and 78 prm record are from the very impressive collection of victrolaman, who says: “For those not familiar with the Mills Brothers, the only instrument heard on the record is a guitar, all other instrumental sounds are made by the Brothers themselves. The Victrola is an early two door Victor Credenza from 1925. The Credenza was the flagship model of Victor’s new Orthophonic Victrola’s which were introduced to the general public on ‘Victor Day’ in late 1925.”

What else was new in 1925? Coney Island’s Thunderbolt roller coaster (demolished in 2000) and Shore Theatre (currently vacant, proposed for NYC landmark designation) were built. The Coney Island Chamber of Commerce announced the construction of the Half-Moon Hotel, a 16-story, 400-room hotel as “an important step in the program of rehabilitating Coney Island” and attracting ”a high class of patronage, similar to that which must now resort to Atlantic City.” The $3 million hotel at West 29th Street and the Boardwalk opened in 1927 and was demolished in 1983 to make way for a new Metropolitan Jewish Geriatric Center. Also built in 1927: the Cyclone Roller coaster, one of four City landmarks in Coney Island.

Cranky DJ

On June 26, the Coney Island History Project invited Michael W. Haar aka "The Cranky DJ" to help celebrate the Cyclone’s 82nd birthday. He brought his 1923 Brunswick phonograph and 1921 Victor Victrola to the party. Both are original talking machines powered entirely by manual hand-crank. No electricity whatsoever! Mike has a weekly show on East Village Radio called The Ragged Phonograph. Photo © Coney Island History Project


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