Greenwood reaches funding for special exhibit on William F. Mangels

Green-Wood invites you this fall to its wonderful exhibition on amusement park genius William F. Mangels.

Greenwood reaches funding for special exhibit on William F. Mangels

Park Slope
Beyond South Brooklyn

You did it! After Green-Wood Cemetery's 30-day fundraising campaign on Kickstarter, more than a few emails, and some real nail-biting, Green-Wood reached its goal! As of last Friday at noon, Green-Wood officially raised $17,500 toward the exhibition. Green-Wood invites you this fall to its wonderful exhibition on amusement park genius William F. Mangels.

If you were one of Green-Wood's contributors, you now join their partners at the Coney Island History Project; design partners Archigrafika; Luna Park in Coney Island; and the New York City Council through our wonderful new City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, as official sponsors of the exhibition. In the meantime, Green-Wood will be working hard to design and mount this fabulous exhibition. We'll be sure to keep you updated on all the exciting happenings!


Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, aims to build an exhibition to celebrate the life of William F. Mangels (one of their most fascinating permanent residents), the man who, from his Coney Island factory a century ago, designed and built more amusement park rides, carousels, and shooting galleries than any one else. If you are a lover of Coney Island history, this is your chance to help the exhibit become a reality and receive a piece of memorabilia for your kickstarter donation.

A German immigrant who came to New York City as a teenager, Mangels was immediately drawn to the magnetic energy and adventure of Coney Island. He was an insatiable tinkerer and idea man, and his energetic and imaginative mind quickly absorbed the frenetic buzz of the entertainment mecca. In no time, Mangels began churning out designs for rides and games the likes of which the world had never seen before. From his turn-of-the-century workshop in the middle of the Coney Island madness, Mangels designed and built some of the most innovative and exciting amusement rides in existence. His mechanics were top-notch, his designs were state-of-the-art, and his workshop was known for being able to build and repair absolutely any ride or game on Coney Island.

His original rides are legendary – The Whip, The Tickler, The Wave Pool. Even a ride called, amazingly, The Human Roulette Wheel? Mangels’ imagination was unmatched, and he had the mechanical prowess to not only dream these amusements up, but make them a reality, too. And his tweaks of existing rides – like the carousel horse – which he transformed from a static carving into a galloping horse--were marked by genius. He soon became the king of Coney Island, “The Wizard of Eighth Street, and the amusement park industry today owes a great deal to the legend that is William Mangels. In recognition of his great accomplishments, he has been elected a member of the Coney Island History Project Hall of Fame and the Hall of Fame of the International Association of Amusement Park and Attractions.

The beautiful Historic Chapel at Green-Wood will be the home of an exhibition befitting the sensational William F. Mangels and historic Coney Island.

“William F. Mangels: Amusing the Masses on Coney Island and Beyond” will be a celebration of Mangels groundbreaking life and work – featuring real pieces of Mangels rides and games – a carousel horse, a 22nd-foot-long shooting gallery, actual Whip cars and original sketches, in Mangels’s hand, of The Tickler. Also on display will be historic photographs, videos on Mangels rides in action, personal correspondence and documents of Mangels', even an original signs from Mangels’ Coney Island workshop. In short, the 1911 Historic Chapel, where the exhibition will be held, will be transformed into a Coney Island carnival.

But Greenwood needs your help to do it! Their kickstarter campaign is now underway and it is your opportunity to become a supporter of this unique project.

They have been collecting Mangels material for years now, and have reached out to Mangels collectors all over the country to convince them to loan their pieces, many one-of-a-kind, for this exhibition.

But they need the funds to ship those items. They also need to pay for installing, lighting and displaying the pieces in the chapel for this unique exhibition. If able to raise more money, the exhibit hopes to borrow even more pieces of Mangels memorabilia, including framed and matted illustrations and blueprints drawn by Mangels himself – from Columbia University’s archives.

Greenwood wants to tell the story of this remarkable mechanic who changed the face of Coney Island and brought delight (and a bit of chaos) to Americans (and Canadians and Parisians and the English) for decades. Mangels made it his life’s work to amuse and surprise.