Coney Island connoisseur and historian Charles Denson honors one of Coney Island's oldest buildings that no longer exists that will soon be demolished. The building is currently in the state of being demolished by Thor Equities. They, along with the city, was not interested in preserving a few of these old buildings in Coney Island to create a historic district. The other buildings that were of historic significance; the Shore Hotel and the Coney Island Bank Building are gone.
In this video, Charles Denson gives us a brief yet detailed account of the Henderson building and what it meant for Coney Island. The building was originally established by Fred Henderson in 1899 as the Henderson Music Hall. It featured top vaudeville and musical acts of its era. In the 30's Stillwell Avenue was extended to the boardwalk cutting through half the Henderson building. Parts of the stage area remained unused for over seventy years until it was rediscovered and brought up to current codes and opened as a nightclub called Velocity. In the video Denson shows wonderful images of the space inside shortly before its impending doom. Denson describes that the renovated space would've been a great performance space if the building was saved. But unfortunately, Coney Island has recently been desecrated by a greedy developer in cohoots with the city to, once again, do what right for business and not what's right for the community, the city, or the world.
Update: This post was rewritten to clarify that the building still stands though it faces a certain demolition. Only a miracle, at this point, could help save it.
The shows continue right into the new year at the Highline Ballroom withDONNY VOMIT, Human Blockhead, MC, ANGELICA, Fire Eater, HEATHER HOLLIDAY, Sword Swallower, SERPENTINA, Snake Charmer, SCOTT BAKER, Twisted Shockmeister!
Catch the sideshow off season and witness a stage full of Coneyesque craziness as Coney Island USA presents: “The Coney Island All Stars” On stage performing live will be: THE GREAT FREDINI, Sword Swallower, Mc and Magic, JENNIFER MILLER, The Bearded Lady, THE AMAZING AMY, Contortionist, PRINCESS PAT, Nigerian Hotsie Totsie, and ADAM RINN, The First Real Man
Coney Island All-Stars Live at BB King Blues Club
located at 237 west 42 St, New York, NY Thursday, December 30th
2 pm matinee (all ages) $10 in advance, $12 day of Tickets and further info, click here
The Coney Island website by Jason Sferlazza, aka Elephant Man; "Gotta Love Coney Island" is back in full color and plentiful display. Jason launched his site a couple of years ago and for some reason took it down. But it's back with full of Coney Island treats. It's slogan says it all: "Celebrating the past, present and future of the people's playground, Coney Island" After you pass the opening flash page that sets you up in the mood for nostalgia, the home page features some video clips that highlight Coney's eccentric past. It's Luna Park page takes you into the history of the what we can now call the first and original Luna Park and ending up at today's Zamperla's Luna Park. The Roller Coaster page, which is still in the works will feature the great roller coasters of Coney Island's past and present. Which will more than likely follow the process as the new roller coaster coming for today's Coney Island emerges from an empty lot of the fertile kind. (One not owned by Thor Equities). The links page will have all your connections to all things Coney. We're glad 'Gotta Love Coney Island' is back again and we'll be looking forward to more of its content.
During the last three years I've been having dreams of what I would feel like when I get to see Coney Island again. Upon my one-day business trip to New York this week, I had to make it over to Coney Island to see, in person, all that I've been missing out on over the last three years. Yes, I'm embarrassed to say that I have been away for so long from this beloved place, which I claim to love so much. Through the rigid winds of southern Brooklyn, I hopped off the F train and jumped onto Surf Avenue and...there it was. "Finally, I'm here", I said.
My favorite little place in the world. And there it was...in person; the fabulous grand gates of Luna Park. And there they were...a few henchmen working on the destruction of the Shore Hotel and Henderson buildings. I cringed and jogged down Surf Avenue while my hands and ears were hurting with the nipping of the winds and hoping that the bank building was still there. I was hoping that all those picture of its demise that I've been seeing on the internet were not accurate. I was hoping it was just a nightmare. But as I neared the Coney Island USA building I heard the bulldozer. I thought on, one hand I should have been here to make "Thorasick Park 2" (a sequel to my little short back in '07 about Thor's destruction on Stillwell Avenue). But on the other I got mad at the city for not stepping in to stop this madness. All they've done is once again give greedy developers the freedom to destroy what's best for Coney Island. So, there it was...or wasn't. The Coney Island Bank Building's remains lay there resting on its own pile of rubble. I was sad and angry. I got closer to take a picture of the shame as two demo henchman gave me a look. I was not going to let them stop me and I walked onto the lot and aimed my camera. As I gave my condolences I walked around through the frigid air which occasionally blew my hood off and slapped my ears with a brisk painful frost. I wasn't used to this cold since being in Florida for the three years.
As I walked out of the Coney Island Beach Shop on Stillwell Avenue I bumped into Coney connoisseur and author of "Coney Island Lost and Found" Charlie Denson. He was videotaping the Henderson building as more demo henchman were viciously at work. I was glad to see him again after so long. He expressed a similar sympathy with losing the historic buildings and the long-standing businesses along the boardwalk. We departed and I gave my goodbye to Coney Island...for now. I know it won't be long before I head back up. And when I do I hope to see a better place. I hope I don't see empty lots. I hope to find Ruby's open to grab a beer. I hope to see the gates of Paul's Daughter open to gorge on a funnel cake as a I look up and take another snapshot of that Astro burger boy. And I hope that time it will be to stay!
Tomorrow, Tuesday December 13th 2010, The Landmarks Preservation Commission is set to landmark the long standing Shore Theater located on Surf and Stilwell Avenues in Coney Island. The structure was built in 1925 and houses a 2,400-seat theater. It was first used for vaudeville theater then used as a movie house for popular films until it ended up a porn theater in the seventies. The structure also contains six floors of office space above it. It's been sitting vacant for over thirty years and is currently owned by Horace Bullard, who operated the Kansas Chicken fast food chain, of which sits at the corner in the building. The land-marking will ensure that the Shore Theater will have a place in the future of Coney Island.
More film culture in Brooklyn the second Sire Screen Series. Presented by the Save Coney Island group's. The Siren Series Deaux, Electrique Boogaleux will be taking place this Thursday, December 9th 2010 at the Black Horse Pub in Park Slope. Of the many short films screened, "Avenue X" by Leslie McCleave, which was shot in late 1992 and early 1993 and played at the Sundance Film Festival in 1994 will also be seen. It features a scene that was shot at Ruby's Bar & Grill on the Coney Island boardwalk.
The series, designed by Save Coney Island's John Salvatore, to promote local filmmakers and to raise money for a cause.