So go the opening lines of The Lovin’ Spoonful’s hit song of 1966. In the lyrics the hot, muggy character of a New York summer is wonderfully captured. For decades to escape meant to get to Coney Island and the 5 cent BMT fare it cost to ride there. Once an actual island, Coney Island had been linked to Brooklyn, and the rest of Long Island, since the 1850s. It had been a getaway from city summers since the 1820s and a variety of attractions had been “amusing million(s)” of City denizens since the 1890s. The years immediately following World War II were the amusement park’s and beach facilities’ apogee of popularity before decline and decay set in in the 1950s.
~ Rodger Birt
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