Nellie Bly Park

Nellie Bly

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This Parks property honors Nellie Bly (1867-1922), the pioneering female reporter who went undercover to investigate injustice, corruption, and crime. In 1889, she achieved international fame by circumnavigating the earth in 72 days.

Born Elizabeth Cochrane near Ford City, Pennsylvania, the young woman ventured into journalism in 1885 at Dispatch, a Pittsburgh newspaper. By the late 1880s, she secured a position writing for New York World. There, under the by-line Nellie Bly, she innovated the practice of investigative reporting. Throwing herself into the matters she investigated, this new approach to journalism brought her on an early diving expedition, a hot air balloon journey, an undercover mission in a mental asylum, and a whirlwind trip around the world.

In 1888, Nellie Bly got herself committed to the mental hospital on Blackwell's Island (now Roosevelt Island), to investigate and report on the conditions at the facility. The next year, she made a frantic trip around the world, with the aim of beating the record set by Jules Verne’s fictional character Phileas Fogg in Around the World in Eighty Days. Bly’s steamboat trip churned out worldwide publicity, and made her an American heroine. In 1890, she wrote a book chronicling her 72 day, 6 hour, and 11 minute journey, Around the World in Seventy-two Days.

Nellie Bly had no time for romance until 1895, when she fell in love with and married an attractive millionaire, Robert Seaman. Bly put her career on hold for the handsome industrialist and did not return to journalism until her husband died in 1915. Nellie Bly remained on the staff of the New York Journal until her death in 1922.

Located on the south side of Shore Parkway between 25th Avenue and Bay 41st Street Nellie Bly came under Parks jurisdiction on April 9, 1956. This property was created concurrently with the adjacent, now defunct, Southwest Brooklyn Sanitation Center. The construction required the modification of the lines and grades of the street system in the territory bounded by Bay 38th Streets, Bay 43rd Streets, Shore Parkway, and U.S. Bulkhead Line in Gravesend Bay.

Opened in 1966, Nellie Bly is a family run amusement park. The concessionaire named the fun park for Nellie Bly because of her reputation as an adventurer. The park features more than a dozen kiddie rides, including a miniature roller coaster, ferris wheel, carousel, and train. Although most of its amusements appeal to younger children, Nellie Bly also sports an 18-hole miniature golf course, batting cages, and go-carts.

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