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Steamboat Landing, Coney Island

George Bradford Brainerd

Brooklyn Bath and Coney Island Railroad was the first major rail line to reach Coney Island in the 1860s. Excursion boats and ferries were still the most convenient modes of transportation, with just about an hour’s ride from Fulton Ferry or Peck Slip in Manhattan, but the railroad soon became an efficient competitor. It facilitated day trips and contributed to the popularity of the oceanside as a site of recreation. Around the Coney Island terminus, dining and entertainment establishments, as well as many small hotels such as the Tilyou’s Surf House, opened up. By the late 1870s Coney Island was one of the most visited summer resorts in the United States; an estimated one hundred thousand people visited on the Fourth of July in 1879. It was one of the few resorts that attracted people from all different social and economic backgrounds, including the poor urban working class, which was afforded some leisure time toward the end of the nineteenth century, with a decreased number of working hours and often Saturdays as well as Sundays off.
MEDIUM Collodion silver glass wet plate negative
DATES 1870s
DIMENSIONS 3 1/4 x 6 3/4 in. (8.3 x 17.1 cm)
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 1996.164.2-701
CREDIT LINE Brooklyn Museum/Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection
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