Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York, USA

Burned 1911

The Disappointed Tourist: Dreamland (Coney Island), Ellen Harvey, 2024. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 24 x 18″ (61 x 46 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

Dreamland was a famous Coney Island amusement park which operated briefly from 1904 to 1911. The park was founded by William H. Reynolds and while it was intended to provide “refined” competition to the recently opened raucous Luna Park, it also contained attractions such as the “Lilliputan Village” with three hundred dwarf inhabitants; a strikingly inaccurate “Filipino” village; and a demonstration of firefighting in which two thousand people pretended to put out a blazing six-story building fire every half-hour. As part of the renovation of the park in 1911, an attraction called Hell’s Gate caught fire, engulfing the park in flames, killing 60 of the park’s big cats. It was not rebuilt. The painting is based on an uncredited photograph.

Requested by Anon.