Umbel of Umbels: Coney Island Parachute Jump

BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Brooklyn, Umbel

The structure of the Coney Island Parachute Jump—planted in Queens in 1939, and repotted in Brooklyn 2 years later—has caught my eye with curiosity many a time. Yes, it evokes to some extend the Eiffel Tower, more for its metal rete than shape.
I could imagine this elongated mushroom be created by Buckminster Fuller as the beginnings of a geodesic weeping willow, designed to build the dome from within. Construction was halted at the discovery of this umbel extraordinaire. “Flowers!” begged the World’s Fair world, “Give it flowers for crying out loud!” And so they crafted flowers: humans in gondolas as peduncles growing the rachides holding the parachute as an inflorescence. Twelve inflorescent flowers pulled from Brooklyn’s soil in a 21-second journey to complete the Jump’s own inflorescence for mere moments prior to being wilted down in a 9-second drop of blossoming thrill… How I wish I’d lived here before 1968, the year the Jump flowered last. Yet, what foudroyant joy that Leni Schwendinger almost 40 years later pumped new life into the culminant carrot crown of Brooklyn, with her incandescent artistry. Gustave and Bucky would approve.

4 thoughts on “Umbel of Umbels: Coney Island Parachute Jump”

  1. Amy again…just letting you know I loved this abecedarium post and was driven to blog about it.

    And here’s another kind of parachuter if you have an interest.

    I love the word umbel, it’s been rolling around in my head for the last couple of weeks, bolstering my optimism. Thanks so much for your beautiful cocktail of inspiration. I rarely come across anything so completely satisfying.

  2. So much fun to get your note, and the link to your Brooklynometry blog. I love your “…he botanizes Coney Island’s Parachute Jump…” I get the sense that you love language–and words in particular–in similar ways as I do. Umbel—umbella—umbrella? They look related. Just that magnificent photo that tops your blog suggests, if not proves that they should be. If they are linguistically related as well, when and where did the ‘r’ get added or dropped… how, why, by whom? To be explored…

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