05-Blogdef-Wonder Wheel

In 1990s New York City, photographer Gregoire Alessandrini documented the streets of the city through his eyes as a young film student and writer. His photos of the Meatpacking District, Times Square, Celebrities, and iconic diners of the 1990s have previously been featured in our Vintage Photo column. In his newest post, he presents photos of Coney Island in the winter of 1995, giving us a glimpse into the deserted skeletal frame of Coney Island  in the winter.

Built in 1920, the Wonder Wheel has been the main attraction of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park since its inception the same year. In 1989, the wheel was designated as a historical landmark.

03-Blogdef2-Coney Island Monsters 1995

As Alessandrini writes,

“Walking in the deserted streets of Coney Island on this 1995 winter day felt like discovering a ghost town…Even if it was impossible to tell which rides were still in service, the Freak Shows, the old time roller coasters and Nathan’s hot dogs were still there as reminders of a glorious past.”




09-Blogdef-Coney Island Atlantis 1995

Distanced pictures of an empty Coney Island icon, the Thunderbolt.

14-Blogdef-Coney Island Telephones and roller coster 1995-1

13-Blogdef-Coney Island roller coster 1


17-Blogdef-Coney Island Freak Museum 1995




Photos of the original Nathan’s Famous hot dog stand. The facade has changed little since first opening in 1916.






01-blogdef-Coney island Subway car 1995

For more photos of Coney Island and the rest of New York City in the 1990s, visit Gregoire Alessandrini’s blog. See even more vintage photos of New York City in our Vintage Photo column. Read about Untapped Cities contributor Alex Wallach’s personal memoir about his family’s roots on Coney Island.

Get in touch with the author @spencercnyc

2 thoughts on “Vintage Photos: Coney Island in the 1990s by Gregoire Alessandrini

  1. Very insightful look at Coney Island as it was before the recent construction developments and Hurricane Sandy. Many people often forget how much an area can change in two decades, and I applaud the inclusion of these images in the vintage photo column. Keep up the great work!

  2. If you are representing yourself as a “New York Perspective” try to learn something about the subject you are writing about it so that you don’t sound so incredibly ignorant. Nearly every caption in this posting is wrong. The Wonder Wheel Park has absolutely nothing to do with the photos of Gregory and Paul’s Restaurant, the Atlantis, the Thunderbolt (which you misidentified), the Hell Hole and other images presented here. Deno’s Wonder Wheel is not, and has never been, a “deteriorating” and deserted skeletal frame” of Coney Island. It is and has always been, one of the bright spots of the amusement area. Most of the photos you show are of independently owned businesses and have nothing to do with the Wonder Wheel. You have misidentified nearly every location. Why don’t you try to do some research and correct this pathetic attempt to fit the captions to what you know nothing about. Ignorance is not bliss! And by the way, 19-year-old pictures are not vintage unless you are ten years old.

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