These hardy fishermen at Steeplechase Pier were among the few people encountered last night by photographer Bruce Handy on his walk through snowy Coney Island. Later this month, Bruce’s photos will be on view in “A Stroll Through Coney Island Among Friends,” a photo exhibit featuring the work of five photographers and friends. The exhibit opens on February 22 at Coney Island USA’s Shooting Gallery/Arts Annex on Surf Avenue.
Throwback Thursday photo of the Wonder Wheel on May 28, 1952: NYC elevator/ride inspector Alexander “Mac” McIntyre and Freddy Garms of the Wonder Wheel “ride on top of one of the cars to check the working of the ride,” says the original caption. AP photo/Robert Kradin
A ride on the SR cost five cents. The stately dressed crowds of summers long ago would ascend a tower, be seated in bench-like cars, and pushed off to coast along at over 6 mph (9.7 km/h) along a 600 ft (183 m) track to another tower at the far end. Upon arriving at this other tower the vehicle was switched to a return track… or “switched back” (hence the name).
This track design was soon replaced with an oval complete-circuit ride designed by Charles Alcoke and called the Serpentine Railway. In 1885 Phillip Hinkle developed a lift system which appeared in his ride called Gravity Pleasure. The Gravity Pleasure also featured cars in which the passengers could face forward instead of in the awkward bench-like seats of the first two roller coasters.