2. Sulzer’s Harlem River Park (1885-1917)

Bopp Carousel Sulzer's
Sulzer’s Harlem River Park carousel from the 1890s

The prominent German-American Sulzer family opened one of New York City’s most popular beer gardens called Sulzer’s Harlem River Park and Casino. At the time, the Harlem River was the site of commercial shipping, leisure boating, and competitive rowing. Sulzer’s featured a carousel designed by Louis Bopp, a rifle range, dance halls, and ball courts, yet a 1907 fire destroyed much of the park’s property and cost an estimated $200,000 in repairs.

Although the park attracted immigrants from many different backgrounds, many activities took place over the now-forgotten Harlem African Burial Ground. Little is known about a nearby Harlem amusement park called Happyland Park, which opened in 1921 and was supposedly Blacks only.