SAFA Web Project: Coney Island Souvenir Guide

Coney Island is known as a place where families can come together and enjoy a beautiful summer day. It’s a place where families can build sand castles and go on some of the most historic roller coasters. Most importantly it’s an affordable and fun getaway for families.This has held to be true since 1906. People from all over the city would come to see Coney Island’s glory. The lights, sounds and great attractions kept families coming back for more. Nowadays when families plan vacations they usually end up going to a place quite similar to Coney Island. Unfortunately, families can end up spending hundreds to thousands of dollars. The question lies to if  families can enjoy and afford a vacation in modern day 2013 as they did in 1906.

The archival source from the Brooklyn Historical Society was a souvenir guide made in 1906.The main purpose of the guide was to show people that they can enjoy Coney Island for an affordable price.The guide itself came at an affordable price of ten cents.This may be shocking to most people because going to a theme park  today we barely get to see anything for free. Theme parks such as Dreamland, Steeplechase and Luna Park offered free attractions. Dreamland offered The Great Hippodrome which had 40 riders and horses, the illuminated Ball Room and the Great Electric Organ all for free. The free attractions offered at Steeplechase park were The Golden Stairs, Monkeys and Wild Animals, Japanese Village, The Big Main Lobby, The Ball Room and the Beach. Free attractions offered at Luna Park were The Bamboo Slide, The Great Ballroom and the Circus. (How To See Coney Island  and Save Money 1906)

To help put in better perspective how popular Coney Island was at that time we can compare it to our modern day Six Flags. Six Flags is the one place almost everyone needs to go at least once every summer. The rides, games and shows are what people look forward to the most. The Six Flags we know today isn’t much different from the Coney Island in 1906.

Admission to  each park in Coney Island was about 25 cents but most of the time it was easy to find a way to get in for free. For example,if you bought the souvenir book you would be allowed to enter Steeplechase park for free. Another way to enter for free was to purchase a combination ticket. To be eligible for free admission to Dreamland  you would have to visit Bastock the animal king’s attraction. You would also be able to enter Dreamland for free if you paid 25 cents to see the attraction Creation. (How To See Coney Island  and Save Money 1906) These deals can be compared to some recent offers to Six Flags Great Adventure. The offer valid for Six Flags in 2011 allowed you bring in a can of Coca Cola to the ticket booth that contained a coupon. The coupon allowed one person to pay admission and allow another one to enter for free. The Six Flags offer for 2013, allows you to save 20 dollars if you bring a Coca Cola can with the coupon to the ticket booth.  Other ways to save money on tickets today is to purchase them online or buy group passes. A modern day ticket to Six Flags Great Adventure costs $62.99.( Due to inflation $62.99 would be about $2.69 in 1906. (Dave Manuel Inflation Calculator) To give you an idea of how much $2.69 cents was worth in 1906, the average wage in 1906 was about 22 cents. It would take about 13 hours of labor to be able to afford a ticket to Six Flags Great Adventure in 1906 money.( Year 1906)

Going to an amusement park today isn’t much different from going to an amusement park in 1906. There are many rides today that are similar to the rides back then. In Luna Park, there was a ride called Shoot the Chutes which is much like the ride Saw Mill Log Flume in Six Flags Great adventure today. There both water rides in which you fall from a steep slope. To ride the Shoot the Chutes you would have to pay ten cents, that is about $2.30 in 2013 currency. The Aerial Swings in Luna park are similar to the Jolly Roger in Six Flags. They’re both rides that allow you to go up in the air while spinning. Almost every amusement park has a Ferris wheel as did Coney Island. Dreamland had a miniature railway ride that cost 10 cents. It’s similar to the Runway Mine Train in Six Flags. Coney Island’s Pike’s Peak Scenic Railway and Six Flag’s Parachute training center give you a great scenic view. ( ( Coney Island Map)

Although Coney Island and modern day theme parks have much in common there are something that make Coney Island unique. Coney Island had amazing productions that the audience was able to relate to. One attraction was known as the Great Train Robbery, which represented a real experience that occurred in the West. It was one of the more costly shows that went for 25 cents. Another production was known as A Trip to the Moon which cost 15 cents. One of the most popular productions was known as the End Of the World. This show cost 25 cents, it included 100 men and women playing out what a catastrophe the end of the world would be like. ( How To See Coney Island  and Save Money 1906) There were many rides that were available for display in 1906 that would not be allowed today. One of the attractions that stuck out to me the most was the Baby Incubator. A doctor known by the name of Dr. Martin A. Couney would work with these premature babies in Coney Island since it was not yet accepted in hospitals. Today we would never see someone experiment with something so openly and be able to publicly see it. (Denson, Coney Island: Lost and Found)

Coney Island has surely left an imprint on New York’s history. Although there are new theme parks being built all over New York, Coney Island’s history keeps people coming back. It can very easily be compared to Six Flags today. Both amusement parks attract families to have a fun filled day with rides and games. Till this day Brooklyn Knights show so much pride in Coney Island. It’s a place where many New Yorkers still come to enjoy an affordable getaway with their families. To keep informing tourists of how popular Coney Island was there are history tours available in Coney Island where you can see and learn about the attractions. (

Pictures From The Souvenir Guide:

1. Cover Of the Guide

Guide Cover

2.  Steeplechase Park


3. Luna Park




4. Kid’s Riding Horses at Steeplechase Park


5. Dreamland’s Ball Room



1. How to See Coney Island and Save Money: A Souvenir Guide with Magazine Supplement. New York: Greater New York Magazine Co., 1906.

 2. Denson, Charles. Coney Island: Lost and Found. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed, 2002. Print.

3. “One Hundred Years 1906-2006.” One Hundred Years 1906-2006. HopkinsTechnology, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2013. <>.

4. “Coney Island Fun Guide – Brooklyn – New York.” Coney Island Fun Guide – Brooklyn – New York. Alliance for Coney Island, Inc., n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2013. <>.

 5. “Coney Island – 1906.” Map. Westland Network, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2013. <>.

 6. “Inflation Calculator.” N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2013. <>.



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