Were Premature Babies Really Displayed in Coney Island?
The modern incubator, a glass-walled box, was brought to the US in 1898. Its popularity at American expositions persuaded Dr. Martin Couney to set up a small display of incubators in a small building on the Boardwalk of Coney Island. Since hospitals at the time lacked neo-natal wards, mothers from all over the city rushed their premature infants to Brooklyn, where they were given the chance to survive. People paid $.25 to see these remarkably tiny infants. Many lives were saved before the facility, which had also been featured at the 1939 World's Fair, was closed.