Parachute Jump and Beach Scene, Coney Island, ca. 1965
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Built by former U.S. Naval Commander James H. Strong as a tower from which to train military paratroopers, the original structure patented as a parachute drop was later modified as a 262-foot-high amusement ride, opening to the daring public during the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, Queens. As part of its modifications, the tower was fitted with lights and each of the parachutes now accommodated two seats, allowing for a truly romantic descent during the 15-to-20-second drop. It was a wild success, and George C. Tilyou, founder of former Coney Island amusement park Steeplechase, purchased the Parachute Jump amusement ride for a reported $150,000, making the steel structure a stalwart part of the Coney Island shoreline from 1941 onward.
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