14. Freud’s Visits to Dreamland

“The only thing about America that interests me is Coney Island,” the famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud once said. Thus, on August 28, 1909, he paid a visit to Dreamland. A century after his visit, The Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society and Its Circle  was published based on his trip. Of course, Freud didn’t go to see Dreamland’s fun and games, but rather, to explore its reputation as a site of “hedonism and sexuality.” With all the gambling, drinking and “getting as close as possible to the opposite sex” that Coney Island encouraged among its visitors, it quickly became a symbol of sexuality during a time when the topic was somewhat taboo. Freud felt that its outlandish attractions reflected humans’ instinctual, bodily desires, making it the ideal place to explore the id.