A look at Coney Island’s NYC Landmarks

The Parachute Jump was designated as a New York City landmark in 1989. Photo by Matt Tracy/Coney Island News

Mayor de Blasio recently threw his support behind the push to landmark the iconic Riegelmann Boardwalk, an initiative that has been supported by many locals in an area that still possesses decades-old charm.

If landmarked, the boardwalk would add to a healthy list of places already landmarked in Coney Island. As locals await the LPC’s next move, let’s take a look back at the spots that have already obtained landmarked status.

The Cyclone

This age-old rollercoaster just enjoyed its 90th birthday over the summer — and it’s still as popular as ever. How does anybody dare to go an entire calendar year without riding on this wooden beauty at least once? It’s an annual bucket list for New Yorkers and tourists alike, even if its sharp, neck-breaking turns leave you feeling a little banged up. It’s all part of the fun.

The Cyclone was deemed a New York City landmark in 1988 and became a National Historic Landmark three years later.

The Wonder Wheel

Just when you thought The Wonder Wheel was just another ferris wheel, you went for a ride on the swinging cars — and the rest was history. The Wonder Wheel is a Coney Island classic featuring stunning views and a rich history. Look no further than the upcoming film, “Wonder Wheel,” to see just how much this ride is embedded into the historical fabric of Coney Island.

Since opening in 1920, The Wonder Wheel has amazingly boasted a spotless track record on safety, according to the ride’s website. The only time it ever stopped operating was during the 1977 NYC Blackout.

It was designated an NYC landmark in 1989.

Child’s Restaurant & Former Site of Child’s Restaurant

The Former Child’s Restaurant Building — which now is occupied by Kitchen 21 and the Ford Amphitheater — became a city landmark in 2003, while another Child’s Restaurant Building, at 1208 Surf Ave., was designated in January of 2011.

The first existence of Child’s Restaurant emerged in 1917 at the Surf Ave. location, and that one would pave the way for another Child’s on the Boardwalk. The original spot on Surf Ave. lasted until 1943 and is now owned by Coney Island USA.

According to Dick Zigun, the older Child’s location will be the subject of a 100-year birthday celebration on Nov. 11.

The Parachute Jump

The way the parachute jump lights up is a reminder of Coney Island’s historic reputation for its heavy lighting. Even during the day, the jump’s red color and unique structure is visible from miles away.

Nevermind that the Parachute Jump stopped operating as an amusement ride more than five decades ago — it’s now forever a part of Coney Island’s unique skyline. The jump once served as an actual parachute jump; it would carry people to the top before dropping them as they floated down via parachutes.

It first appeared in 1939 at New York Word’s Fair in Flushing, but was moved to Coney Island in 1941. The LPC designated it as an official landmark in 1989.

Coney Island Theater Building (later known as Shore Theater)

Built to be fireproof, this seven-story building was constructed in 1925 as part of a redevelopment period in Coney Island. Live shows and movie screenings highlighted the entertainment aspect of a building that stood out as significantly larger than the ones near it at the time, according to the LPC. Stores, a theater, and offices were included in this stone and terra-cotta-based building.

It was designated by the LPC as an NYC Landmark in 2010.

Other nearby landmarks:

  • Ocean Parkway was designated as a Scenic Landmark in 1975
  • In 1997, the city designated historic street lamp posts at the south side of the pedestrian bridge at exit 5/6 of the Belt Parkway passing by Calvert Vaux Park
About Matt Tracy 159 Articles
Matt is a reporter with experience covering neighborhood news, politics, sports, and more. Send news tips to matt@coneyislandnews.com.

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