Every firehouse is necessary to the community it serves. But Bloomberg’s proposal to close Ladder Company 161 in Coney Island, which is as old as the Cyclone, seems like a particularly bad idea. One of Coney Island’s many nicknames was “City of Fire,” both for its plethora of electric lights but also for the many conflagrations that would periodically decimate one amusement park or another.
The first Steeplechase Park burned down in 1907, the blog Amusing the Zillion explains, and Dreamland followed four years later. “It’s tragic and ironic that the city is cutting a vital Coney Island ladder company on the 100th anniversary of the Dreamland fire, one of the worst disasters to strike a community known for deadly fires,” historian Charles Denson told the blog.
And fires are not just a part of the amusement area’s past: last spring, a blaze destroyed the Coney Island Arcade on the Bowery.
Locals and politicians rallied on Sunday to save the W. 8th Street ladder company, but the event was upstaged, in the Post‘s reporting if not in real life, by several counter-protestors, there to criticize the present borough president for his plans to build an ampitheater in Asser Levy Park. We have our disagreements with the borough president, too, but we don’t co-opt fire house rallies to make our points.