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In Photos: Coney Island's Eccentric History as ‘the Poor Man’s Riviera'

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As the Brooklyn beach prepares for opening weekend, look back at its colorful past

Despite the fact that it's due to be cold and snowy this weekend, Coney Island will still be open for business. The seaside retreat has been a destination for New Yorkers of all stripes for more than a century, and while plenty has changed—there's no more Dreamland, Steeplechase Park, Thunderbolt (in its original incarnation), or Shoot the Freak—there's still plenty to keep people amused.

And what better way is there to celebrate the return of the Poor Man's Riviera for the season than to look back at its colorful, delightfully odd history? Behold, more than a dozen vintage photos (thanks to the Museum of the City of New York's digital archives, as well as the AP) of the beach and its various and sundry amusements, from the Cyclone to the "human pool table" (yes, that's a thing) to the Wonder Wheel and beyond.