New York City's Coney Island became hugely popular at the turn of the 20th century.
Its beach, amusement parks, and annual events all contribute to its longstanding popularity.
Here's what the iconic tourist attraction looked like 100 years ago.
In the late 19th century, Coney Island began its rapid development into what is now an iconic tourist destination in New York City. By 1868 — just a few years after the end of the Civil War — a guidebook listed Coney Island as the "best beach on the Atlantic coast," and the popular waterfront brought in up to 30,000 visitors every weekend.
By the turn of the 20th century, Coney Island reached its peak in popularity. Visitors flocked to both Coney Island's beaches and newly built amusement parks, which "offered magical wonders for people of every socio-economic class to enjoy," according to Seton Hall University's History of New York.
Today, the destination attracts 5 million visitors annually, and it is popular among New Yorkers and out-of-towners alike. Annual events like Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest and the Mermaid Parade keep people coming back for more.
Here's what Coney Island looked like 100 years ago, in the early 1900s.
Coney Island started to flourish as a resort town in the 1860s, and by the 1890s — pictured — its first amusement park opened, drawing even more visitors to its sandy beaches and boardwalk.
Source: Seton Hall University
A photo taken just before the turn of the century shows hundreds of beachgoers swimming in the water and gathering on the sand.
A photo from Coney Island's heyday in 1900 shows a group of modestly dressed young women sharing a meal on the sand.
Source: Heart of Coney Island
These women stopped for some frozen custard while strolling along the boardwalk.
In 1920, these happy beachgoers went for a swim to beat the summer heat.
Some visitors chose to spend their time at Coney Island dancing on the beach.
Others enjoyed playing ball games on the sand, like this group of friends in 1923.
These visitors relaxed and socialized by the ocean in the summer of 1925.
Crowds swarmed the waterfront on hot summer days, while other visitors enjoyed the rides at the amusement park behind them.
Coney Island was filled with rides and attractions by the early 20th century.
This image from 1905 captures the magic of Luna Park, one of Coney Island's amusement parks.
In 1903, four onlookers watched riders on the Shoot the Chutes water ride.
From the top of the Ferris wheel, these women caught a scenic view of a packed Coney Island on a summer day.
A man greases the chain on the Cyclone, the amusement park's best-known roller coaster, which opened in 1927.
Source: NYC Parks
A century ago, Coney Island was home to an annual "Bathing Beauty" contest. In 1923, these contestants posed for a photo at Steeplechase Park.
These competitors lined up while participating in 1928's beauty contest.
Coney Island was home to a variety of performers, like the one pictured below. Today, the Coney Island Circus Sideshow still exists, and features acts such as sword swallowers and fire eaters.
Advertisements for cold beverages like Sunkist and Tally-Ho Beer lined the boardwalk.
In 1922, the boardwalk was packed with people in their bathing suits.
Having been one of the city's most popular tourist attractions, it wasn't uncommon for the boardwalk to be tightly packed.
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