From the list on historic Coney Island.
Who am I?
I’m the author of five books, the most recent of which is The Strange Case of Dr. Couney: How a Mysterious European Showman Saved Thousands of American Babies. The “doctor” ran infant incubator sideshows for forty years at Coney Island (among other places) where the public would pay to view tiny preemies. Bizarre as it seems, and despite Martin Couney’s many fabrications, he was the rightful father of American neonatology, not only getting rich but also saving thousands of children when the medical establishment couldn’t or wouldn’t do it: Some of his patients are still alive. During my years of research, I needed to immerse myself in the history and culture of America’s trippiest, naughtiest seaside playground, with its amusement parks, freak shows, sideshows, hijinks, and hanky panky. (Sigmund Freud reportedly said that Coney Island was the only thing of interest to him in America). Along with many trips to Coney Island as it is today, including the Coney Island Museum, these were the books that really helped me feel it.
Dawn's book list on historic Coney Island
Discover why each book is one of Dawn's favorite books.
Why did Dawn love this book?
First published in 1957 (and re-issued with a welcome epilogue by historian Michael P. Onorato), the book vividly portrays the storied seaside’s heyday. McCullough was Coney Island royalty: His grandfather was one of its earliest settlers, his uncle was among its greatest showmen, and his dad owned a dozen amusement-park shooting galleries. The family’s love of the place seeps through these pages (a sub-sub title reads “the most rambunctious, scandalous, rapscallion, splendiferous, pugnacious, spectacular, illustrious, prodigious, frolicsome island on earth”—which about sums it up). Particularly moving is the heartbreaking fate of the show animals on the night of a tragic fire in 1911.
Good Old Coney Island
Why should I read it?
1 author picked Good Old Coney Island as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.
What is this book about?
Coney Island is more than a national institution: it was probably the most celebrated amusement resort in the world. This book, by a man whose family helped to build the Island's fantastic reputation, presents its lively and nostalgic history. Touched with sentiment, occasionally with acid, it is frank, outspoken, sometimes biting, but always imbued with humor.
This new edition of McCullough's book includes an introduction by Brian J. Cudahy, who has written extensively about New York's waterways and subways, and an epilogue by Michael P. Onorato, a retired history professor whose father managed Coney Island's famed Steeplechase Park from 1928…