Bicycles may be the thing here in 21st century Brooklyn, but all of the borough’s current bike venues have nothing on Coney Island’s former bicycling stadium.
Opened in the 1920s, the Coney Island Velodrome was a wooden oval bike track that seated 10,000 people and hosted everything from bicycle racing and boxing to outboard midgets (a type of small racing car). The drome was located on Neptune Avenue and West 12th Street, where there is currently a highrise housing development, across the street from auto shops.
Popular among city residents and tourists alike, it hosted a spat of state and local championship bicycle races and boxing matches during its heyday.
The 1930s were bad news for both sport and arena, however. With the Great Depression, bicycling took a huge hit, and then on August 3, 1930, a fire burnt the drome to a crisp.
The drome was rebuilt, and held a second life of hosting races for another two decades, before being torn down in 1950.
Recent plans to build a new velodrome in Brooklyn Bridge Park came to nothing and today the last remaining velodrome in the City is in Queens.
For footage of bicyclers on the track, watch this fantastic YouTube clip.