- Historic Sites
The City of Churches and Henry Ward Beecher, of Walt Whitman, Coney Island, and a famously departed baseball team is ready for its next act—as a world-class tourist destination
August/September 2005 | Volume 56, Issue 4
The new baseball team is named for the classic roller coaster that’s visible from most of its stadium’s seats, the Cyclone, which still threatens to heave riders into the Atlantic on the first drop of the clattering route it has run since the year of Lindbergh’s solo flight to France. (The Cyclone’s power to scare remains even in a loop-the-loop era.) The ballpark occupies another plot of land steeped in Brooklyn history, sitting where George C. Tilyou’s long-vanished Steeplechase Park blared and shone for decades. There is no finer marriage of the old and new Brooklyns than to sit in these stands on a summer day, the LifeSaver-red parachute-jump tower (built for the 1939 World’s Fair) above right field as a reminder of the Coney empires that rose and later burned along this shore—Luna Park, Dreamland, Steeplechase. Beyond the young pitcher fiddling on the mound you see the boardwalk clam bars and the slowly turning 1920 Wonder Wheel, hear distant, tiny screams from the dipping coaster, and see the broken surf where Brooklyn ends.