Southern Brooklyn

Green-Wood Cemetery Historian Seeks Support For Exhibit On Coney Island Amusement Pioneer

The Mengels shooting gallery now in operation at Coney Island USA (Source: CIUSA/Facebook)
The Mangels shooting gallery now in operation at Coney Island USA (Source: CIUSA/Facebook)

Green-Wood Cemetery historian Jeff Richman is using Kickstarter to raise money for an exhibit on William F. Mangels, a German immigrant and inventor based in Coney Island who was a leading developer of America’s amusement parks at the turn of the last century. The project goal is to raise $17,500 by July 27, of which $3,291 has been donated so far.

Here’s the video for the project:

The proposed exhibit, titled “William F. Mangels: Amusing the Masses on Coney Island and Beyond” will be installed at Green-Wood’s Historic Chapel, and will feature “real pieces of Mangel’s rides and games – a carousel horse, a 22nd-foot-long shooting gallery, and actual Whip cars and original sketches, in Mangels’s hand, of The Tickler,” in addition to historic photography, video, and written correspondence.

If the Mangels name sounds familiar, it’s because we wrote about him last year when carnies unearthed a World War II-era shooting gallery behind one of their booths while cleaning up after Superstorm Sandy. The gallery has been restored and now sits next to Coney Island USA as part of their living museum. For $5, you get 100 shots at nailing metal tanks, airplanes and soldiers as they zip around the booth.

The Daily News reports that Richman spent the last 10 years collecting materials from all over the country for the exhibit—and although Green-Wood Cemetery has been curating exhibits since 1998, this would be the first ever dedicated entirely to one person.

The funds raised would offset the costs of graphics, lighting, monitors, framing, shipping, and video necessary to give Mangels his much-deserved tribute—and as is customary with Kickstarter fundraisers, backers will be rewarded with a variety of handsome prizes, including exclusive merchandise and even private tours for the most generous supporters.

– Sam Shokin

Comment policy


  1. Not quite sure this exhibit belongs in a Cemetery. I believe it should be in Coney Island and probably at the living Museum, where more people will be able to view it.. Asking people to donate funds of this amount and to have it located at a Cemetery where a lot of people will not venture to see it, is just wrong.

  2. Well, it’s not for me to decide if it’s better suited for Coney Island or Greenwood, but I don’t think it’s fair to depict Green-Wood as just a cemetery – especially one where “a lot of people will not venture to see it.”

    Green-Wood is a city treasure, an urban park and, yeah, a tourist draw. It already has a ton of cultural programming and is very much a destination.

  3. A lot of people go to Greenwood Cemetery.

    Coney Island can also have an exhibit dedicated to Mangels, they certainly have had temporary ones in the past. There are enough artifacts for both locations.

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