Thursday, January 31, 2008

Coney Island Big Hits And Little People

Time Out New York has compiled an extensive list of 'New York stories.' While the comprehensive list includes many categories- such as 'history,' 'enterprise' and 'arts and culture'- none of it as exciting as the crime stories. Two notorious Coney Island gangland hits made the list: the 1931 set up of Giuseppe Masseria by Lucky Luciano on W 15th St., and the 1941 defenestration of Murder, Inc. snitch Abe Reles on W. 29th St. The latter incident led to Reles being called "the canary who could sing but could not fly."

Coney Island also merited a mention in the
history section for the establishment of Liliputia, an event which arguably beats out the 'rocking-chair riot' as most bizarre story on the list:

Lilliputia, an experimental attraction of little people on Coney Island, was built in 1904. Located at the Dreamland amusement park (now the New York Aquarium), the 80' x 175' "Midget City" was built in proportion to its citizens: 300 dwarves lured away from sideshows. As paying customers gaped, the diminutive denizens milled about their cardboard utopia, visiting a tiny theater and pocket-sized parliament. Eventually, Lilliputians were told to engage in promiscuous sexual behavior. By the time Dreamland went up in flames in 1911, Lilliputia had devolved into a hotbed of sexual anarchy, with 80 percent of newborns conceived out of wedlock. Surf Ave and W 8th St

It Happened Here [Time Out New York]

Top photo courtesy of Beth Levendis for Time Out NY

- post by Ben Nadler

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