Coney Island started out as an American dream, thousands of people visited everyday. It attracted all sorts of people, middle class, working class and high class. Coney was one of the first parks in America designed to bring amusement to the public. The thesis of this book states, "The new amusement parks and their patrons attracted the attention of a variety of critics, artists, and reformers (9)." This book was successful in showing its readers this particular time frame. It does a good job showing how these parks attracted a new mass culture into amusement.
In latter 19th century there were two forms of amusement that Kasson discusses in the book, Central Park and the White City. Central Park was designed Frederick Law Olmsted and was the first major public park in U.S. The park was intended to be a rural retreat. Even though the park was not far from the middle of the city it was designed to be a place where it visitors could go and relax. The park had lots of things to do, a person go boating in the summer or ice-skating in the winter, horseback riding, and there was even amusement for the children. The park was very popular it attracted about 30,000 visitors a day. The White City was located in Chicago and its purpose was to amuse its visitors. This place had a Ferris Wheel, sideshows, and theatres to entertain its guests.
Coney Island popularity declined because everybody wanted to get a taste of what it was like. In the end, the same things that made it famous ruined its reputation. The island became too accessible to the public; it was too easy to get there when the trains started going there. "Once upon a time Coney Island was the greatest amusement resort in the world. The radio and the movies killed it. The movies killed illusions (112)." In the 1920's is when it's popularity started to dwindle. People still came to see the different places but the expectations were so high people left disappointed.