Will She Throw Her Arms around Your Neck? Well, I Guess, Yes!

Andreas Feininger, [Ferris wheel], 1949

Andreas Feininger, The Gyro Globe Coney Island, New York, 1949

GYRO GLOBE, a metal monster which simultaneously spins and tilts its victims, looks weird enough by day, becomes a fantastic skein of light threads at night. Billed as the only one of its kind in the world, it is known as a “laughing ride.”
Life, August 22, 1949, p. 54

Andreas Feininger, The Hurricane, Coney Island, New York, 1949

HURRICANE, one of the most frightening and popular rides anywhere, is a favorite with the ladies. “Time after time,” says operator of octopuslike steel contraption, “I see them stumbling out, still screaming. Ten minutes later they’re back for more.”
Life, August 22, 1949, p. 54

Its stomach-curdling rides make beautiful light patterns at night.
In 1884 at New York’s Coney Island a grocer from Elkhart, Ind. named Lamarcus A. Thompson [LaMarcus Adna Thompson (1848-1919), inventor of the Thompson Scenic Railway and founder of the L. A. Thompson Scenic Railway Company, 220 West 42nd St. – now the world’s largest McDonalds] built the world’s first amusement railway–a train of small cars which rolled down an undulating track. Having built this forerunner of all roller coasters, Thompson shortly discovered that roller-coaster turns which hurled ladies into their escorts’ laps were a great boon to romance and the cash register. Coney Island soon broke out in a rash of daring rides bearing names like Channel Chute, Drop the Dip, Double Whirl, the celebrated $400,000 Loop the Loop, which failed because it looked too scary, and the Cannon Coaster of 1901, which advertised, “WILL SHE THROW HER ARMS AROUND YOUR NECK? WELL, I GUESS, YES!”
Since then the ride has become a fixture of the American scene. By day Coney Island’s grotesque jumble of rides are a blot on the landscape. But at night, their lights whirling, they become patterns of singular beauty… Photographers Andreas Feininger and Jerry Cooke spent several uncomfortable evenings at Coney Island… both men came away with far more eloquent testimonials to Builder Thompson than the inscription which for years hung over the entrance to one of Coney’s roller coasters: “This Ride is a Memorial to Lamarcus A. Thompson, Inventor of Gravity.”
Life, August 22, 1949, p. 53

An (illustrated) article, “A Combined Gravity and Cable System for the Operation of Elevated Railways in Cities,” The Manufacturer and Builder, Vol. 20, Issue 10, October 1888, pp. 234-35, about Thompson’s railway system and how it can used used to improve urban rapid transit, can be read here.

Read more about the history of Coney Island here, here, and here.

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3 Responses to Will She Throw Her Arms around Your Neck? Well, I Guess, Yes!

  1. Pingback: Art Source » Blog Archive » https://fansinaflashbulb.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/will-she-throw-her-arms-around-your-neck-well-i-guess-yes/

  2. Pingback: Andreas Feininger « — W210 blog —

  3. Pingback: Harold Feinstein Photographer - Available light: Coney Island at Night

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