Coney Island: The Train is The Thing

by Alex Marshall
Metropolis Magazine
August/September issue, 2001

Today’s Quiz: What magnificent hall of marble, iron and glass, built about 1900, was torn down in the mid 1960s, robbing New York of one of the best examples of Beaux-arts architecture in the city if not the world?

No, not Penn Station. The Pavilion of Fun!!!!!! Of course! That magnificent hall inside Steeplechase Park on Coney Island that sheltered park goers on a rainy day. It was our Crystal Palace. And Fred Trump, Donald Trump’s father, tore it down in 1966 to build some condos that didn’t materialize.

The Golden Flame Flickers Most Brightly In Cities


BOOK FACTS: Cities in Civilization, by Sir Peter Hall. Pantheon Books, New York, 1998. (Pantheon is a division of Random House). First published in Great Britain by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London. 1,169 pages.

Thanks to Peter Hall, I know a lot more about theater, music and the formation of democracy. I know a lot more about shipbuilding, computers, car-making, movie-making and the birth of rock and roll. I know a lot more about electronics, painting, cotton-spinning and the printing press.

I also know a lot more about cities, although at first I wasn’t sure. Was studying the fusion of blues and country music in Memphis in the 1930s studying cities? But Hall has changed my definitions.