9. Elephant Colossus

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A sideview of Coney Island’s Elephant Hotel. Image via Wikimedia Commons

Another unfortunate victim of Coney Island’s raging fires was the Elephant Colossus. From 1885 until 1896, Coney Island had the most fantastical of hotels: the Elephant Hotel (also called the “Elephantine Colossus” or “Elephant Colossus”). It was 200-feet tall with a gilded crescent and stood proudly and prominently on Surf Avenue and West 12th street. James Lafferty designed the 12-story building with 31 rooms, even calling it the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”

Although containing grand spaces like a concert hall, an observatory, and an events bazaar, it eventually became a hotspot for prostitutes, but even the gimmick there didn’t last long. The Elephant Colossus was pretty empty by the time a fire destroyed it in 1896. A cousin of the Colossus, Lucy, still stands in New Jersey, however and this month, will host some guests from Airbnb.