Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Good Old Coney Island

Reading “Good Old Coney Island” by Edo McCullough. Interesting stuff on prizefighting and horse racing in the late 1800s, but the remarkable chapter is the one detailing the Dreamland Fire of 1911, which ended Coney as a high-rolling Saratoga-style resort. All of the circus animals kept there were killed. McCullough also recounts the story of the Brooklyn cops tracking a Nubian lion, Black Prince, down Surf Avenue, when it escaped, singed, from its holding area. They had to put over two dozen bullets in the lion to kill it, and the next day exhibited the carcass for a dime a look. It’s an amazing story. 5.2 million dollars worth of damage in 1911 dollars.

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