‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house art lovers were stirring to … get a good look at our new release, of course! Introducing Luna Park at Night, a turn-of-the-20th-century photograph of NYC’s famous Coney Island fantasyscape. Aglow with countless little lights, this festive, spellbinding scene feels fitting on the heels of winter solstice, in the week before 2020 (the longest year on Earth) finally comes to a close. It’s serendipitous that this last edition release of the year also ties back to our very first Vintage Edition ever—a bird’s eye view of the entrance to Luna Park. There’s something about that synchronicity that seems auspicious, a gleaming good omen for 2021. And we’ll take all the good omens we can get.
Speaking of 2021: Just a reminder that team 20x200 is taking some time off for a little R+R. All orders placed from 12/18 through 1/3 will get into production on 1/4. You can always reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org in the meantime.
Shot after sunset and illuminated by hundreds of thousands of individual bulbs, this 1905 photograph captures an enchanting evening view of the original Luna Park—22 acres of amusement rides, shops, circus attractions, restaurants, and more, built into a dreamland of grand towers, lakes, promenades, and stunning structures with over 1000 light-studded spires, domes and minarets. Seen at center in Luna Park at Night is the 200-foot-tall electric tower that powered it all. Functional though it may have been, it fit in with the rest of the surroundings, designed without sparing a single decorative detail, cascading fountains at its base, festooned in 20,000 fairytale-like incandescent lamps. It’s resplendency was well-deserved: At the time, electricity wasn’t widely used. The sparkling sight of the park at night would have been quite a sensation, every bulb turning on at the same time in one awe-inspiring moment—all thanks to that electric tower. The reflection of those myriad twinkling lights on the inky surface of the water makes this image all the more magical, dizzying, and pleasantly disorienting.
Luna Park was founded by architect Frederic Thompson and businessman Elmer Dundy—a great pairing who played off each other’s strengths. After meeting at the World’s Fair in 1898, the duo put together several attractions for the Buffalo World’s Fair, including a ride called A Trip to the Moon, based loosely on Jules Verne’s 1865 book From the Earth to the Moon. The cosmic ride became a huge hit, and when Thompson and Dundy took ownership of an old amusement park in Coney Island in 1902, they named it Luna Park after the airship in their Trip to the Moon ride.
The park opened in 1903, the second of Coney Island’s three original, iconic large parks—a glittering, gleeful microcosm at the edge of a bustling metropolis. Gazing at Luna Park at Night now, during some of the shortest days of the year, it’s a bright beacon in the dark, a photograph that feels hopeful without trying too hard. So we have a suggestion for the rest of your holiday season: let this scene light up your Silent Night.
With art for everyone,