KINETIC CARNIVAL - The Coney Island Blog
A space of musings, past and current as well as the future of amusements in the legendary Coney Island and Beyond!
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Reminder: Grand Opening Of The Coney Island History Project Center!
The GRAND OPENING OF THE CONEY ISLAND HISTORY PROJECT CENTER!
The new exhibition center will present a series of exhibits, events and performances and display historic artifacts from Coney Island's colorful past. The centerpiece is an authentic Steeplechase horse, part of the legendary ride that gave Steeplechase Park its name.
The grand Opening event will boast live entertainment with Bliss Blood and Al Duvall !
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
A Reading By Charles Denson Of His New Book
This Saturday Charles Denson, author of "Coney Island: Lost & Found" and executive director of the Coney Island History Project, will be doing a reading of his new book "Wilde Ride! A Coney Island Roller Coaster Family" at the St. Paul's Lutheran Church community room.
For more information call (718) 266-1831.
Kinetic Carnival book review: Charles Denson’s new book Is A “Wild Ride!” Through Coney’s Heyday!
Available through the Coney Island History Project
Saturday, June 2nd
Charles Denson Reading
St. Paul's Lutheran Church
2801 West 8th Street at Neptune Avenue
The Cyclone Exhibit Space Grand Opening!
Visit the new center for the grand inaugural exhibition and for; Land Grab! A History of Coney Island Development, which documents the development and changes in Coney Island, starting with the first pavilions and towers in the 1880's, and all the way up to today's whimsical proposals.
Thursday, May 31st 2007
Grand Opening: The CIHP Cyclone exhibit space
at the new Cyclone exhibition space
Surf Avenue - under the Cyclone
Throughout the 2007 Summer
Land Grab! A History Of Coney Island Development
at the new Cyclone exhibition space
Surf Avenue - under the Cyclone
Coney Events: Boardwalk Party
Saturday June, 2nd 2007
Coney Island Boardwalk Party
on the boardwalk
3pm til 10pm
Coney Openings: Surf & Turf Grill on Surf
The Surf & Turf Grill will include a raw bar as well as a Margarita Bar.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Thor Amusements Coming To Coney
The New York Post has reported that Thor Equities will soon be bringing the Cole Bros Circus and The Hippo - the world's largest inflatable waterslide, along with other events, to the vacant lots they recently demolished and enclosed with an unpainted plywood fencing.
Along the now-empty lots on Stillwell Avenue, The Cole Bros Circus, which has been performing its three-ring circus act for 123 years, will be doing shows two to three times a day in Coney Island from July 30 through Aug. 5. Alongside it will sit the 40-foot high long water slide called the Hippo from June 23 through Labor Day. Other events include free screenings for people of all ages with "Monday Movie Madness" from July 9 through Aug. 27.
The NY Post reports:
Thor officials said they're trying to keep the amusement district "vibrant" - a tall order considering it has been a difficult transition period for many boardwalk businesses while City Hall grapples over how best to rezone the area.Coney Island Mega-Focus #3: Circus Coming to Town? [Gowanus Lounge]
Memorial Weekend HOOPLA !
Oh, my Coney Island baby, now [Is there no sin in it?]
Goodbye my Coney Island Baby [Queens Crap]
W.F. Mangels Work Still on View at Coney [Lost City]
Coney Island Looking Like Sitt for Memorial Day [Gowanus Lounge]
Season opener [taco: birtheday cake]
Last Year For Astroland Set To Close After Labor Day [VOS IZ NEIAS: (Yiddish: "What's News"]
Endless summers no more at CI amusement park [AM New York]
CI's Trip and Fall Boardwalk is Back for Another Season [Gowanus Lounge]
Memorial Weekend 2007 Coney Island [Funky Brown Chick]
Sun may set on historic Coney Island [AM New York]
Other HOOPLA !
Astroland Set To Close After Labor Day [WNBC.com]
Come frolic in ‘NY’s Playground [Courier ife]
Disconnected in Brooklyn on Craigslist: You Were on Stilts [Gowanus Lounge]
Come hell or ‘High Water’ [Courier Life]
Coney Island: The View From Miami [Gowanus Lounge]
Coney Island is Fashionable [Gowanus Lounge]
More like coney iceland! [doshuevos]
Sun, Sand & Wind [A "Summer" at CCF]
Coney Island [hedgehog]
The Beginning Of The End, Or...? [Smart News For Smart People]
ride to the sea [Build Environment Blog]
Green Gnome Magazine's Coney premier issue [The Green Gnome] Married to the MOB Summer ‘07 Collection [hypebeast]
PARROTHEADS DESCEND [Coney Express - Daily News blog]
Cool Trash Cans in Coney Island [Gowanus Lounge]
Coney Island amusement park will be no more [The Ultimate Sports Road Trip]
Gowanus Lounge Photo Du Jour, II: Writing on the Sign [Gowanus Lounge]
Went to Coney Island this past Sunday [a sad day for sad birds II]
Coney Island in the Rain [That Was Zen, This is Tao]
Some Coney Shots & Pat Baer, Master of DDR [Shelktone]
Sideshow School - Week Four in Photos [The Coney Island Reporter]
Sideshow School Photos - Week 5 - Breathing Fire [The Coney Island Reporter]
Steeplechase Park Swimming Pool: c 1912 [Shorpy]
Coney Island NY : sun sand and fun [Gr8Buddy speaks]
Coney Island prt 2 [Live Journal - Scarpullaaa]
Coney Island Boys [Park Slope Street Photography by Lara Wechlser]
Todd Robbins accompanies Speedy [YouTube by cifilmman]
Todd Robbins accompanies Speedy Part 2 [YouTube by cifilmman]
My Coney Island Baby [medicinefilms]
Coney Island Kicks Off Summer Season [NY1]
"Peeping" prank by Edison film (first candid camera) [The Early Cinema]
Coney Events: Community Board 13 Meetings
CB13 May meeting (call to confirm) 718-266-3001
Coney Island Hospital
2601 Ocean Parkway
2nd floor auditorium
Monday, May 28, 2007
Coney On The Cusp Panel Discussion
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported:
“A panel of experts will consider how the many stakeholders can work together to safeguard the undeniable cultural heritage of this significant place.”, said MAS director,Kent Barwick.In addition to those from city government, the stakeholders include business owners, residents, artists, preservationists and developers.
People the world over have a nostalgic attraction to Coney Island. As the city and private developers embark on an extensive plan to remake “Sodom by the Sea,” the world’s playground is likely to change in unforeseen and permanent ways. Join the Municipal Art Society and Coney Island USA as a panels of experts explore the historical context, the scope of redevelopment and its impact.
Lynn Kelly, President, CIDC
Dan Pisark, President, Coney Island History Project
John Krawchuk, Dir.Hist.Presrv., NYC Dpt. Park & Rec.
Aaron Beebe, Curator, Coney Island USA
Ari Shalam, Taconic Investment Partners
Stuart Pertz - Moderator
RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-935-2075
Wednesday, June 6
at the Municipal Art Society
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Friday, May 25, 2007
"Without warning, an ear-splitting siren revved up, blasting the riders. Bright red strobes surrounded by a cone of mirrors began pulsing and then rotating, creating an illusion that the entire barrel was spinning out of control and that the train and its riders had turned upside down."
What kept amusement riders of that tail-end period - like the Bobsled, the Tornado, and L.A. Thompson’s Scenic Railway - thrilled for many years was only possible through the passion and dedication of the novel artisans and dreamers behind them, as they toiled through long hours each day to create and run the mechanics of the fascination business. One of these men was John Bonsignore, who grew up surrounded by the amusement industry of Coney and who would later give up his other aspirations to join in allegiance with his empowering and ambitious father. Both men and their families would prosper in the world of amusements and mark their place, forever, in the history of Coney Island.
In the midst of Coney’s changing face amid the fires and the rebirths, Charles Denson, allows us to relive the same passion that evoked the memories of John’s childhood while growing up in the ‘back lot’ of the amusements. On W. 8th Street sat the Bonsignore house encircled by the last turn of the L.A. Thompson roller coaster that was acquired by his father. Living on W. 8th Street, right next door to Luna Park, was more than just a unique neighborhood for John – it was a unique way of life. In the hub of Coney’s amusement manufacturing industry John spent his years inspired by the talented imagineers of that time who toiled away in their shops producing the rides, arcades, and all other mechanical contraptions for the amusement district for Coney and around the world. And John Bonsignore was in the middle of it all.
The Bonsignore house which was previously built by LaMarcus Thompson – the pioneer who built Coney’s first coaster; the Gravity Pleasure Switchback Railway – was originally built as a shop for the Thompson Scenic Railway coaster. By the time John got married and the family began to grow, the brick coaster home, which would rumble all summer long whenever the coaster cars roared by, began to get crowded. The house was also a workshop and John's wife, Louise thought the house was strange in more ways than one.
"The coaster tracks ran through the attic and connected to an elevator that lowered cars through the house to the basement shop for repairs. Scenery from the old Oriental Scenic Railway was stored upstairs, and the tin roof turned the attic into an oven like space that Louise used for drying diapers after washing. It was the perfect space for a family whose livelihood was roller coasters"The dramatic changes caused by World War II brought a bleak oddness to the usual jaunty atmosphere of Coney. For fear of being a target, the neighborhood had to dim all their lights and cover their windows. Even most of the amusement lights had to be replaced with dim purple bulbs. The boardwalk and the shore were encumbered with war-readiness machinery from gun emplacements to huge underwater submarine nets.
The end of the war brought many highs and lows for the Bonsignore’s as well as other Coney amusement families. Though John and his father were dedicated to persevere in order to keep their family businesses thriving, they could not have imagined the looming turmoil that lay ahead.
Charles Denson, at the same time, takes us up to the present and shows us that the issues facing Coney Island today are mere echoes of the past. One that enrages us and has us asking what can be done today to learn from it.
“Wild Ride” is a time machine; a rousing journey in a sometimes dissonant reality.
With eloquence and charm, Denson meticulously takes us through the nuts and bolts of John Bonsignore’s wild ride as we disembark onto that wonderful time and place and feel the hard work on our shoulders.....envision the talent in the craftsmanship.....and even smell the grease.
- review by, Omar Robau
"Wild Ride! A Coney Island Roller Coaster Family"
220 pages, 100 photographs and illustrations.
Available through the Coney Island History Project
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
The Rise Of Coney....A Vertical Theme Park?
At first it would seem insulting to that Coney spirit to think of piling up all its frolic and fun into a claustrophobic stack of floors in one lofty tower. But with the great probability of the amusement zone shrinking to developer muscle – it may be an acceptable case in a worst case scenario...or not.
Coney Island USA board poster Sandy_Dee speculated about Coney having a vertical theme park to house all its amusements. The thought which may have sounded ludicrous at first many not be the first time of such reverie and making.
A structure built exclusively for amusements may work. Vertical theme parks have already been in the works. Though their web site is still under construction, ROC International Towers have proposed The Pinnacle Tower, a vertical theme park for Birmingham, England which already boasts some new and highly unique architecture like the Selfridges building. The tower, though not an inclusive theme park will feature a complex of six rides including a parachute drop, bungee jump, seesaw, and thrill rides, some from atop the structure similar to Las Vega’s Stratosphere. At the base of the tower, there will be 5,000 square meters of commercial space, wrap-around courtyard with restaurants, coffee shops, a food court, bars, leisure and fitness facilities, and family entertainment centers. According to Skyscraper News, Roc International Towers say they are in the advance stages of the scheme and have also been in talks with Birmingham City Council over the last year.
One such place did exist back in the 1970’s. Although not the entire building, Atlanta Georgia’s Omni International a multi-use development transformed about five of its floors into The World Of Sid & Marty Krofft, creators of 70’s children TV show H.R. PufnStuf. The complex which already featured offices, six screen movie theaters, a plush hotel, upscale restaurant, and high-end retail shops - added the $14 million amusement park in the mix to be its shining pinnacle. It boasted a scenic 205-foot escalator, which was the longest in record at the time, two eighteen-foot harlequins, costumed performers, mimes, ballooned sculpted animals, and a circus sideshow; the Fantasy Fair with special effects to make up their cavalcade of freaks. Other floors of the amusement park were live themed performances, and a dazzling three-tiered Crystal Carousel which excited some guests to the point of stripping. But the World of Sid & Marty Krofft was short lived when uproar was caused by tenants and hotel guests due to all the noise and anarchy. The five-floor indoor amusement extravaganza careened into a $24 million dollar over-budget and shut its doors to the public in less than six months after the star-studded opening. The vacant World of Sid & Marty Krofft was later turned into CNN headquarters. Proving for the Omni that the mixture of hotel/residential simply can not coexist with the liveliness of amusements.
As Coney enthusiast Sandy_Dee envisions:
Since there isn't a lot of space to work with, Coney could have one big tall building. Each floor it's own theme with 30 foot or more high ceilings. One floor could be set up like It's a Small World and you ride through the history of Coney Island passing big screen film clips of the old rides and attractions set up in such a way that you feel like you are actually on the ride.
However envisioned, whether stacked, encircled, or sprawled out, amusements are meant to amuse and fancy the imagination. It dares you to dream and take your chances. A place to be pleasantly occupied. If it doesn’t do that then it’s no longer a place of attraction.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Coney Island Photo Works On Exhibit
The installation is in its last week at the Galley 14 and runs through...
HOPEWELL Gallery 14
Hours: Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m
Gallery 14, 14 Mercer Street
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Coney HOOPLA !
Big plans for little museum [The Brooklyn Paper]
Seasoned Look at Latest in Police Transport [NY Times]
Jessica Poses in Coney Island [Celebs Now]
Jessica Visits Coney, Not Only For Hot Dogs [PopSugar]
Astro Land and Coney Island [Panda Space]
Ferry for Rockaway: Include Stops In Southern B’klyn [Brooklyn Daily Eagle]
Cycle To The Cyclone [NY Observer]
Coney Island's Big Holes: Art or Not? [Gowaus Louge]
Is Digging a Coney Island Hole Art or Development? [Gowaus Louge]
Cool Thing: Coney Island Development Map [Gowaus Louge]
Segway Cops Roll into Coney [Brooklyn Record]
Greetings from Coney Island! [Live Journal]
Game [Lex's Folly]
Friday, May 18, 2007
Bullard Renews Shore Theater's Scaffolding Permit
A few weeks ago Dick Zigun of CIUSA made a comment on the CIUSA board about it.
The scaffolding originally was put up to steam clean the building but now Bullard has decided not to pay the expense... so the scaffolding is now up for no reason.A few attempts to get an answer from Mr. Bullard himself as to whether he will be having the building steam cleaned or not lead to unanswered phone ringing. As it stands with Bullard’s track record, the scaffolding will most likely languish uselessly throughout this summer.
The Shore Theater was purchased by Horace Bullard, of the Kansas Fried Chicken franchise, at a time when casinos were thought to be coming to Coney Island. Currently, the Shore theater has been nominated by Coney Island USA for landmark status and is under active consideration. If landmarked, procedures would be in place towards figuring out exactly how to 'reactivate' the building into, probably, some sort of performance venue. Most would agree the property has lots of potential and would be at least one other great fixture in Coney.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Coney Events: Saturday Night Film Series Kicks Off
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
1944 Springtime at Coney - Color Movie Clip
Coney Events: Aquatic Asia
New York Aquarium
Surf Avenue & West 8th Street
Admission is $12.00 for adults, and $8.00 for children ages 2–12 and senior citizens (65 and older). Children under 2 years of age are admitted free.
Coney Events: Burlesque At The Beach
From the CIUSA web site
Friday, May 18
Sideshows by the Seashore at Surf and West 12th Street
Monday, May 14, 2007
Musician Marc Ribot Says Real Estate Is Squandering Culture
A portion of an interview by Ribot to Jambands.com, Found and posted by Indie Rob Leddy on the CIUSA board, says:
In the post, Indie Rob Leddy writes:
JB.com: And part of the reason it's a desirable market location is because these neighborhoods have had 10 years of places like Tonic and the Mercury Lounge making it desirable.
MR: Right, everybody says, "go somewhere else and be the shock troops for real estate again." Forget it! These places should be able to stay in the neighborhoods long enough for the people in the neighborhoods and the clientele to get to know each other. The second reason involves heritage. Four or five extremely important social movements and attendant art movements were born within a 20-block radius of CBGB. That question is being ignored to a shocking degree by the city. Let me put it this way: my job is that I travel around and play music. I go a lot of places. This past weekend I was in Paris and Brussels and a few places in Holland and Belgium. Over here, I see that within the last two years, the Second Avenue Deli has shut down without landmarking, which was the last physical remainder of the Yiddish theater scene. CBGB is shut down. It's amazing that that was allowed to happen. Now they're shutting down Coney Island, and they shut down Tonic, too. I said "I've had enough!" I travel all over the world, and Paris has social problems. Vienna has social problems, plenty of immigrants, and there are developers there that would certainly like to build in desirable neighborhoods. But they don't knock down their opera houses just because the real estate value has gone up and somebody wants to put up a condo. It's simply not done. In Copenhagen, they don't knock down the famous old amusement park area because some rich guy came along and wanted to put in a hotel. It's not done! They value continuity, and they value their heritage, which is why people from all over the United States are willing to go a night without sleep so they can afford to go visit these places in the summer. Opera is not our contribution to world culture. CBGB is. Tonic is. This is our cultural capital. We should be protecting it. New York is squandering our cultural capital.
“This article pretty much sums up my feelings about what is happening to this city.“
“Funny thing... After I moved to the suburbs, I used to feel like I was missing out on the action and I'd come into the city as often as I could. But I don't really feel that way anymore.”
Friday, May 11, 2007
Coney HOOPLA !
Child's Restaurant [frogma]
Best of Coney art contest [Courier Life]
New president at helm of CIDC - Lynn B. Kelly heads city’s efforts to re-imagine CI [Bay News]
Ratner & Gehry's Coney Visit: Cheese Fries & Condos? [Gowanus Lounge]
America's Last Sideshow [The Coney Island Reporter]
Coney Island [Have Coffee, Will Travel]
Sideshow School - 2nd Class - Fire Transfers and Nails up the Nose [the Coney Island Reporter]
More Rumors About Gargiulo's Moving in Coney Island [Gowanus Lounge]
Meet the Coney Island Sleeper: Taconic Investment [Gowanus Lounge]
Preservationists hail reconstruction of iconic Brooklyn tower 1 year after rehab [Courier Life]
‘Gypsy Rose Lee’ [Courier Life]
Big, bad, beautiful [Courier Life]
Coney Salvage [callalillie]
CONEY AFTER DARK [Coney Express - Daily News Blog]
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Coney Community Center Architect Drawing
It goes on to state:
The entire project is also predicted to generate 240 construction jobs, 42 full time jobs and 125 part-time jobs for the area. Coney Island Commons LLC will be heading the project and Council member Recchia will be working to ensure that these jobs will go Coney Island residents.“This is a historic day for Coney Island and one that has been a long time coming.”, said Council Member Recchia. “I would like to thank Mayor Bloomberg and the Economic Development Corporation for working closely with the community and myself and turning out a dream into a reality. I look forward to continuing my work of ensuring a prosperous future for Coney Island.”More than 75 percent of the units will be affordable for low and middle-income families. A 40,000 square-foot community center will be located next the housing complex. Its features will include an aquatic center with a multi-lane Olympic size pool and a recreational pool, a full court gymnasium, fitness, social and multi-purpose rooms.
The YMCA of Greater New York will manage the community center and partner with local schools to create programs that will enhance students' education and growth including much needed swimming classes.
The center and housing complex will be located on West 30th Street off Surf Avenue, adjacent to P.S. 329.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Coney Island History Project's Upcoming Events!
Ratner & Gehry Eyeing Coney Again?
Whether courting, once again, the idea of dunking the Nets onto Coney, something inspired by the recent hearings for the Atlantic Yards environmental lawsuit, the arena could be a thorn to many who are trying to keep the spirit of Coney amusements alive.
Over at the CIUSA board, frequent and thorough poster; Switchback believes if this is the case and the Atlantic Yards end up arenaless, then this will end up as another failure for this administration in regards to dealing with developers. Switchback writes:
As for dropping the Nets from the Atlantic Yards project, I would have hoped that after all the trouble, rezoning, street remapping, and eminent domain the city has done for Ratner as well as the public money sunk into that project, that there was some sort of legal obligation that Ratner actually bring the Nets to that site. After all, the arena was supposed to be the centerpiece of the project. If Ratner can simply remove the arena from the project and continue on then he could also potentially sell the team to someone who would in turn either keep them in Jersey or move them to a completely different state. I have always said that the Ratner/Nets deal set up a dangerous precedent where from now on developers will see sports teams as the key to pushing through their controversial projects.Some time ago, Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn (who made the case for the Nets arena in Coney) submitted a locational analysis of the arena in Coney Island as comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Despite it probably being an obstruction for the nearby property proposed for residential buildings by Taconic Investments - amusement preservationists would also find it an obstruction that does not fit in with what they wish for in the area. It seems nobody wants the arena. Let’s hope if the Nets are being considered for Coney again – that this does not become a battle between North and South Brooklynytes.
Ratner & Gehry Go to CI (for a Hot Dog) [Gowanus Lounge]
Scouting a New Site, or Just SITTing Around? [DDDB]
Sightings [No Land Grab]
Friday, May 04, 2007
Blogfest '07 Coming Up
Thursday May 10th
The Old Stone House
5th Avenue between 3rd and 4th Streets, Brooklyn
Speakers and open mic.
Snacks and drinks.
Coney HOOPLA !
Burlesque Dancers and Sideshow Freaks by Brian Childs [The Coney Island Reporter]
Coney Island 'impeach' draws a thin crowd [Daily News]
Better Than The Cyclone [Gen Art Pulse]
Is It Still a CI Whitefish If It's In the Gowanus? [Gowanus Lounge]
Blight Me: Is "Developer Blight" a New Brooklyn Tactic? [Gowanuse Lounge]
XCrawl: Coney Island Crawl [The Coney Island Reporter]
More HOOPLA with the 'impeach at Coney' fizzle:
Beachhead for impeachment - Coney ‘human mural’ calls for Bush to get the boot [Courier Life]
Impeach Beach Coney Island [The Battering Room]
Here's the Coney Island "Beach Impeach" [Gowanus Lounge]
Report from Jacob Park [Impeach the President]
Coney montage [Rocketboom]
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Sitt Attends Lola's Reborn Celebration
The Village Voice’s Runnin’ Scared piece by Neil deMause reported:
The party featured a hot pink cake and the guitar stylings of Polar Bear Club troubadour Amos Wengler (his "Lola Staar Is Back," with its singalong chorus of "Don't mess with Lola/She's gonna react," was a particular hit). But all were upstaged when in walked Joe Sitt himself, dressed in shades and a polo shirt. As onlookers goggled, the developer grabbed a plate of sausage and onions, and greeted his erstwhile adversary Carlin like an old friend. Thor associate Digna Rodriguez-Poulton hinted that the fenced-in tire-strewn wasteland that currently occupies much of Thor's Coney holdings wouldn't remain that way all summer, with a circus a possibility in July or August. Given the remarks passed around at the Ruby's bar, Sitt still has a long way to go to win over a skeptical Coney populace. ("You're Joe Sitt?" one patron gasped on meeting him. "You don't have horns!") Even Carlin, who once again seems hopeful about the future, with a sitdown scheduled with Sitt for next week to discuss his plans, isn't deluding herself that all is now copacetic: "It's all about bargaining tactics, and if that doesn't work, he could be back to evicting us all in a few months."Many have been speculating as to what’s behind this new twist of maneuvers by Sitt. All in all, at this point, it just seems like another obvious pr tactic by Mr. Sitt to diminish the villain-image that's been created of him. And Carlin has been the hardest worker here - mustering up the courage to round up her allies and speak up, publicly, and fight – culminating in Thor to lower his hammer....for the moment, anyway.
Sitt Hits the Fans: When Coney Gets Tough, the Going Gets Weird [Runnin' Scared - the Village Voice]
Things in Coney Get Curiouser: Sitt Shows at Lola Staar Party [Gowanus Lounge]
Joe Sitt goes to Lola Starr party at Ruby's [CIUSAS board discussion]