It was the first figure to take shape, hulking in the mist. Between 1885 and 1896, before the tired and poor even glimpsed Lady Liberty, a 122-foot elephant was gatekeeper to the promised land. Huge and fat with opulence, the Coney Island Elephant Hotel and brothel greeted those weary sea-locked immigrants.Wiki:
In 1885, the Elephant Hotel, also known as the Elephantine Colossus, was built by James V. Lafferty and was 122 feet high with seven floors and had 31 rooms.
The hotel became associated with prostitution and in 1896 it burnt down in one of the Island's many fires.
Lafferty also designed Lucy the Elephant.