This was the most successful amusement park before WWII

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You wouldn’t know it from the vibrancy of these pictures, showing the vast array of people enjoying the many and varied pleasures of New York’s Coney Island in the heat of 1948, but the glory years of Coney Island were over.

Forty years before, it had boasted three extraordinary pleasure parks – Luna Park, Steeplechase Park, and Dreamland.

Shimmering white against the twilight, Luna Park alone was lit by a quarter of a million separate bulbs.

And until World War II, Coney Island was the most successful amusement location in the United States. But the 1930s and the Great Depression were not kind to Coney, as Americans struggled to survive, let alone pay for entertainment.

In 1944, Luna Park was ravaged by a fire, and two years later shut for good.

After 1945, attendance began an inexorable decline, amplified by the Post-War boom in car ownership.

Just a year after these pictures were taken (in 1948), the land along the waterfront was commandeered by Robert Moses, NYC parks commissioner, and rezoned for housing.

Image Credit: Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images.

An African American couple on Coney Island beach.

This was the most successful amusement park before WWII

Image Credit: Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images.

A view of The Spinning saucer and other rides at Coney Island.

This was the most successful amusement park before WWII

Image Credit: Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images.

A view of the Coney Island boardwalk and the famous Parachute Jump in Steeplechase Park, built as part of the 1939 New York World’s Fair and moved in 1941.

This was the most successful amusement park before WWII

Image Credit: Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images.

A view of Coney Island.

This was the most successful amusement park before WWII

Image Credit: Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images.

A view of the Silver Streak ride in Steeplechase Park.

This was the most successful amusement park before WWII

Image Credit: Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images.

Sunbathers on Coney Island beach.

This was the most successful amusement park before WWII

Image Credit: Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images.

A view of the famous Parachute Jump in Steeplechase Park.

This was the most successful amusement park before WWII

Image Credit: Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images.

The Parachute Jump, Steeplechase Park.

This was the most successful amusement park before WWII

Image Credit: Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images.

A woman sunbathes on Coney Island beach.

This was the most successful amusement park before WWII

Image Credit: Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images.

A view of sunbathers on Coney Island beach.

This was the most successful amusement park before WWII

Image Credit: Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images.

A view of the Coney Island Boardwalk and the beach.

This was the most successful amusement park before WWII

Image Credit: Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images.

Sunbathers and swimmers on the beach while a blimp with the word Flamingo on the side glides above.

This was the most successful amusement park before WWII

This article originally appeared on Considerable.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Image Credit: Sherman Oaks Antique Mall / Getty Images.

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