13. What Was Behind Coney Island’s (Somewhat Creepy) Logo?
Image from Coney Island History Project
While we’re on the topic of sexuality, Steeplechase Park’s “Funny Face” logo, which was first used in 1897, encompassed the very same aura Freud was interested in. Tilyou was well-versed in the field of crowd psychology. Thus, he used the grinning logo shown above as a symbol of Steeplechase Park’s aura of amusement, laughter and sex. According to the Coney Island History Project, during the park’s lifetime, the logo’s expression changed; the face was “a gleeful, maniacal visage” at one point in time and “as inscrutable as Mona Lisa” at another. Charles Denson, the Executive Director of the Coney Island History Project, even said that the Funny Face’s original winking and leering design was intentional. “The face is like a Victorian relic. It’s the repressed id, and the id being released,” he said.