5.20.2010

coney island treasure



Childs Restaurant, situated along Coney Island's boardwalk, opened its doors for business in 1924. The building was designed by Dennison & Hirons in a fanciful resort style, combining elements of the Spanish Colonial Revival (relatively rare in NYC) with numerous maritime motifs. Friezes of sailing ships and King Neptune adorn the tops of the arches; the roof is intricately decorated with carvings of fish.




I took these colorful detail shots of the Childs building last summer. Here's some more of the building's history:

The Childs building served as a firebreak during the Coney Island Fire of 1932 and saved other buildings from destruction. Originally, Childs was topped by a roof garden with a pergola above the main restaurant, and featured rooftop dancing. With the disinvestment in Coney Island by NYC during the 1940s and 50s, most of the area's businesses closed, including this Childs Restaurant.




Childs Restaurant under construction and completion, 1924 (vintage photos courtesy of NYPL Digital Collection)





In the 1950s, the vacant building was used as a candy manufacturing facility, although the building itself was not cared for and fell into disrepair in the subsequent decades. Then fate played its hand once more. In 2003, Childs was designated a New York City historic landmark. Since 2005, the building has played host to a hot pink roller rink in the summertime. Beyond that, City Planning has yet to determine just what to do with the building. One thing's for sure: This beach beauty will survive.








:217project no. 29; color images dianamuse, childs restaurant building, 2009; vintage photos courtesy of nypl digital collection

33 comments:

Terresa said...

These are gorgeous shots. I love buildings with history. I think in another life, instead of being a librarian & writer, I would have been a historical building specialist (or whatever their proper name is called).

PS: Are you on Tumblr yet with your picts? If not, you should be...you serve up such eye candy delight!

emily said...

I haven't really paid attention to this building before, although I guess I've passed by it many times. On my next visit to Coney Island I'll be more aware. Thank you for telling the building's story in words and these gorgeous pictures.
xo - em

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