Professor Solomon, author of Japan in a Nutshell featured before on Neatorama, has released another free eBook Coney Island, a neat history of the seaside resort in New York that was once America's most celebrated amusement center.
Coney Island [wiki] is now largely forgotten and the seaside amusement park may even be leveled to make luxury condos.
Here's an excerpt describing the early days of Coney Island (in the late 1800s)
Those years had seen the rise of many amusements along the shore. (No amusement park, however, was to be found there; the idea of such a place had yet to enter the mind of man.) Visitors could have subjected themselves, for example, to the Switchback Railway - a gravity-powered ride that was the first roller coaster.* The more daring could have ascended with Professor King in his balloon. The curious could have slipped into a tent advertising "The Original Turkish Harem."....
* Its inventor, LaMarchus Thompson, had gotten the idea while watching cars being joyridden into an abandoned mine.
Check out Professor Solomon's book here: Link - Thanks Prof. Solomon!