8. Luna Park

Though Coney Island was a resort area since the Coney Island Hotel opened in 1829, it had its humble beginnings as an amusement center with Paul Boyton’s creation of Sea-Lion Park in 1895. In 1903, Luna Park replaced Sea-Lion Park. It was not the only amusement park on Coney Island of course, there was Steeplechase Park, Astroland, and Dreamland as well but Luna Park was quite the spectacle.

Some highlights of the Oriental-themed, over-the-top Luna Park included the Electric Tower — the centerpiece of the amusement park — a lake, and elaborate lighting schemes on all the domes, minarets, and buildings. Luna Park was also host to some less savory moments, like the electrocuting of Topsy the Elephant, the “Igorrote Village” during Luna Park’s 1905 summer season, which featured Filipino tribesmen titled “head hunting, dog eating savages,” , “A Trip to the Moon,” in which riders entered a spacecraft and embarked on a simulated ride through space, greeted by miniature moon men, and the Infant Incubators.

A 1944 fire destroyed most of Luna Park, causing its tower to start spitting out embers. Yet another fire destroyed what was left of the park a few weeks later. A new Luna Park opened up in 2010 on the former site of Astroland.