Coney Island by Paul Cadmus

FROM A Companion To 20th-Century America

Edited by Stephen Whitfield

For working people in general, commercial leisure and amusements offered a critical terrain in which to claim independence from supervision and control from either political elites or their own bosses, who often sought to control not only conditions of their work but also the rest of their lives. Amusement parks and resorts such as Coney Island or Euclid Beach offered crowds of patrons a whole series of pleasurable diversions that brought together men and women in a physical proximity that would have been embarrassing or forbidden in conventional society. Dance halls and beer gardens allowed crowds of young patrons to dance physically close and to engage in courtship, flirting, and sexual experimenting away from the watchful eyes of chaperones.

—Charles McGovern

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Published in: on April 28, 2010 at 2:36 PM  Leave a Comment  
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