Green-Wood Chapel to house exhibit on Coney amusements

The early days of Coney Island will come to life in an exhibit in an unexpected place – the historic chapel at Green-Wood Cemetery.

The exhibit – co-sponsored by the Coney Island History Project and the Green-Wood Historic Fund — will highlight the rides and celebrate the life of William F. Mangels, one of the earliest ride-makers and a “permanent resident” of the cemetery.

Emigrating from Germany in 1883, Mangels established himself in Coney Island, one of that era’s most renowned amusement areas. His focus on the engineering and entertainment aspects allowed him to design rides such as the Whip, the Tickler, the Wave Pool, and the Human Roulette Wheel.

In fact, Mangels’ invention of the jumping horse suspension on carousels is still in use today, as are some of his original rides (including Coney’s famed B & B Carousell and two rides at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park).

Among the artifacts that will be on display are original sketches, the Whip car, a Pony cart, paintings and Mangels’ fire engines.

In addition, large ink drawings by award-winning Brooklyn artist Tim Clifford, inspired by Mangels’ shooting targets, will also be on display. A special video of Mangels’ rides, shooting galleries and carousels, and an interview with his great granddaughter, Lisa Mangels Schaefer, will be featured as well.

William F. Mangels: Amusing the Masses on Coney Island and Beyond will be open from September 7 through October 26 every day from noon to 6 p.m. inside Green-Wood’s Historic Chapel on 25th Street at Fifth Avenue. Admission is $5 (free to members of the Green-Wood Historic Fund and The Brooklyn Historic Society).

For more information, visit or call 718-210-3080.

Photos courtesy of Green-Wood Historic Fun
Photos courtesy of Green-Wood Historic Fun

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