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Starlight Park

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Starlight Park

Starlight Park
Bathers at the Cascade in Starlight Park, 1921.
Location Bronx, New York, United States
Coordinates
Theme Amusement park
Opened 1918 (1918)
Closed 1932 (1932)
Previous names Exposition Park (during the 1918 Bronx International Exposition of Science, Arts and Industries)


Starlight Park was an American amusement park, near West Farms Square east of the Bronx River in the New York City borough of The Bronx, New York, from 1918 to 1932.[1][2] It was first called Exposition Park, as the grounds were originally laid out from 1917 to 1918 for the Bronx International Exposition of Science, Arts and Industries in 1918.[3] It was renamed shortly after the exposition's close.[1]

The park featured fireworks displays, a roller coaster, a swimming pool, and carnival games of skill and chance.[3] It also contained a stadium which was the home field of the New York Giants soccer team, but which also featured circuses, boxing and professional wrestling matches, and "midget auto racing". The 15,000-seat stadium came to be called the New York Coliseum (no relation to the building with that name in Columbus Circle of New York City's Manhattan borough). The stadium was originally built for the 1926 Sesquicentennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was transported to 177th Street and Devoe Avenue in the Bronx in 1928.[4]

The park was also home of the studios of radio station WBNX until the park's closure forced the station to find a new home.[5]

Starting in 1926, the park offered free programs of opera music in the summer, in an attempt to give the masses access to high culture at no cost. The shows were given in the open air until the Starlight Park Stadium was erected in 1928, and occurred in the stadium afterwards.[4] On Saturday nights, big-band jazz played for dancers on an outdoor dance floor. In its time, it was considered something of a "blue collar country club".[6]

For many years, one of the park's most popular attractions was the submarine Holland. After being constructed by Irish-American inventor John Philip Holland in 1888, the Holland became the first submarine commissioned by the United States Navy. She had been maintained by the navy at Norfolk, Virginia, for training purposes until 1914, when she became a museum ship in Philadelphia and Atlantic City, New Jersey. The submarine then moved to Starlight Park in 1918 and remained there until 1932, when she was disassembled for scrap as part of the entire park's demolition.[3]

In 1922, a roller-coaster accident killed one rider.[7] In 1947, the stucco and wood bathing pavilion was destroyed by a fire.[8]

Pedestrian bridge in (unopened) public park
Boat dock on opening day

The northeastern part of the site became a bus parking lot. In 2013 the New York City Parks Department developed a public park on land west and south of the site, along both banks of the river, with the same name.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Futrell, Jim (2006). Amusement Parks of New York (via  
  2. ^  
  3. ^ a b c McNamara, John (1984). History in Asphalt – The Origin of Bronx Street and Place Names, Borough of the Bronx, New York City (via  
  4. ^ a b Twomey, Bill (2007). The Bronx – In Bits and Pieces (via  
  5. ^ Ultan, Lloyd ; written in collaboration with the Bronx County Historical Society (1979). The Beautiful Bronx (1920-1950) (print). New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House Publishers. p. 34.  
  6. ^ Dunford, Judith (August 13, 1995). "Remembrances of a War's End – The Real Starlight Park" (letter to editor).  
  7. ^ Staff (May 23, 1922). "Sifts Coaster Accident – District Attorney Seeks Two Workers at Starlight Park" ( 
  8. ^ "2-Alarm Fire in Starlight Park" (headline abstract only).  
  • Gottlock, Barbara and Wesley. Lost Amusement Parks of New York City. History Press (2013). Pp. 91-106.
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