A space of musings, past and current as well as the future of amusements in the legendary Coney Island and Beyond!
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Beyond Coney: Video Compilation Of Superstorm Sandy
New York is only beginning to assess the damage, the clean up, and all the repair work ahead. This was one of the worst storms in our recent history. Here is a compilation of videos that were posted on YouTube in the last couple of days titled or tagged with Sandy hurricane and storm. Granted, some posters uploaded videos that may not actually be from Sandy but some were hard to tell for sure. It seems like palm trees are in the background in one clip, but we took the liberty to let one pass for creative expression. All YouTube posters have been credited at the end of video.
Hurricane Sandy - the superstorm! A YouTube Compilation
28 -30, 2012, the North Eastern United States experienced one of the
worst storms in history. This is a compilation of YouTube videos about
the storm that wreaked havoc on the north eastern United States.
Posted by: Omar Robau [YouTube] A KinetOscope presentation
In the aftermath of monster storm Hurricane Sandy, some brave individuals headed out to help and observe the destruction. Coney Island photographer, Jim McDonnell, took these devastating images (facebook) of the destruction left by this Frankenstorm. Jim McDonnell's photos of the Sandy aftermath can be seen on his facebook photo album entitled The Morning after Sandy in Coney Island.
The Shore Theater signage (above) is destroyed and most likely never to be replaced since the future of the theater is still unsure. And like the image in the "Planet of the Apes" of the Statue of Liberty's head broken off and stranded far from its perch, this giant hamburger (below) will spark the same feeling to anyone who knows Coney Island well.
And the new Grimaldi's pizza restaurant (below) is in shambles. It was bashed in by Hurricane Sandy pulling down the massive spider webs that were intricately placed to decorate the restaruant for Halloween.
it Halloween already, because there is a creep in the air. Is that patriotism I smell or are they
rubbing wax on this election because one candidate has the look of latex while
the other is doing a good impersonation of a Disney animatronic president. Yet, I feel the ghosts of dead presidents are awakening
only to wreak havoc on the holiday before the election – or perhaps the
election itself. Which
brings me to what I’m really referring to.
hopeful or not, a demented tour of the old Presidential Wax Works could prove
quite rewarding or simply quite creepy. Don’t
take it from me, take it from the work's 70’s
old night watchman. But be warned: Please leave your sanity at the door.
The last leg of Dirty Works At The Wax Works starts tomorrow, Wednesday, 24th 2012!
Photos by Laure
As the Coney Island USA’s Creepshow at the Freakshow puts it:
DIRTY WORK AT THE WAX WORKS is a demented story told by the 1970's Night
Watchman of Coney Island's infamous Presidential Wax Works. If you take his
after hours, crackpipe smoking, hallucinated tour though the Hall of
Presidents, don't be too shocked oroffended, if you hear excessive swearing
and encounter excessive graphic violence including:
A Shooting Gallery
Re-Enactment of the Kennedy assassination. Zombies eating
Richard Nixon's brain and a Funeral interrupted by a Booger hanging off of
George Washington's nose. DIRTY WORK AT THE WAX
WORKS is October's perfect mash-up of Halloween Horror & Horrifying
Presidents! Vote for our
Creepiest Carny Ever! Or Vote for our
League of Zombie Fighting Creepshow Commanders in Chief! Vote for the Worst
Presidents and Best Halloween Ever! Come see what the New York Press called "not only the best and wildest
haunted house in town, but the smartest as well." Dates and Times: Show starts on the
hour. Click date, to buy tickets in advance. All tickets are $10 in advance
or at the door. Advance purchase recommended. Wednesday, October 24,
6pm - Midnight
(last ticket sold at 11pm) Thursday, October 25,
6pm - Midnight
(last ticket sold at 11pm) Friday, October 26, 6pm - Midnight (last ticket sold at 11pm) Saturday, October 27,
6pm - Midnight (last
ticket sold at 11pm) Sunday, October 28, 6pm - Midnight (last ticket sold at 11pm) Monday, October 29, 6pm - Midnight (last ticket sold at 11pm) Tuesday, October 30, 6pm - Midnight (last ticket sold at 11pm) Wednesday, October 31,
Halloween!, 6pm -
Midnight (last ticket sold at 11pm)
Under 16 must be accompanied by
parent. No one under 10 will be admitted!
See a Fox News NY
piece, of the 2008 version of this script, by clicking here.
At The Freakshow!
Dirty Work At The Wax Works
October 24-31, All Tickets $10 In Advance Or At The Door Coney Island USA 1208 Surf Ave. Sideshows By The
Seashore(between Stillwell Ave. and
West 12th Street) Brooklyn, NY 11224 Phone: 718-372-5159 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org By Subway - D, N, F,
Q to Stillwell Ave. - Coney Island www.coneyisland.com
five years since the Zipper ride in Coney Island was dismantled, strapped on a tuck
bed and whizzed along Surf Avenue, passing in front of me while I was staring
out from the bar at the old Surf & Turf Grill. The ride was leaving Coney Island for good and on its way to Honduras. The story behind the dizzying carnival ride is
finally told. It’s a 77 minute
documentary which will premiere at Doc NYC: New York's Documentary Festival. The film goes behind the scenes of the greedy battle to grab Coney Island’s
fun and merriment right from under it.
And in the heart of this story is the Zipper, a carnival contraption
that is almost forty years old and, at the time, run by operator Eddie
Miranda. As a result of his rented lot
being swiped away by a gluttonous real estate tycoon, Miranda is forced to zip up and sell. Though the doc at
one point follows the ride to its final destination at a seaside town in Honduras,
the film candidly examines the cast of characters from the developer to the
city officials who together create a power struggle over the future of the
world-famous amusement destination.
“The Zipper: Coney Island’s Last Wild Ride”, with its log line; ‘A
small-time ride operator and his beloved carnival contraption become casualties
in the battle over the future of Coney Island’, is directed by Amy
Nicholson. Despite the digital age, the
filmmaker chose to shoot in 16mm. The
film’s press kit describes the reason for film.
“…shooting on film was essential in
reproducing the analogue feeling of a place like Coney Island. In early production meetings, the discussion
always centered around capturing the essence of Coney Island’s assault on the
senses. We used the opening of Dog
Day Afternoon as our inspiration. Everyone has seen Coney Island in
pictures and on film; we wanted the audience to have the experience.” In addition, some of the time lapse segments in
the film were shot with the Canon 5D.
The film’s main cinematographer was Jerry Risius. ["Zipper: Coney Island's Last Wild Ride" Trailer]
Coney Island as an amusement destination seems saved, for now, the film takes us
back to a point where its future was in limbo.
It helps to remind us that, like the Zipper, it can suddenly teeter back
to something we didn’t expect.
The biggest part of Coney’s saving grace has been the shiny new Luna Park by Zamperla, but as Amusing the Zillion blog points out, the lease for Luna Park is up in 2020. and at that point
the City plans to issue an RFP for a permanent amusement operator. And with talks resurfacing of casinos coming
to New York by Assembly
Speaker Sheldon Silver, who mentioned in an article, when referring to a possible
casino at the redevelopment of Willets Point,
the possibility of even casinos in Coney Island, Brooklyn. That could have gambling overshadow the amusements. Do we really want another Atlantic City here? So, this film’s fortunate existence helps to keep
us reminded of how things could’ve gone or could still go.
We hope the Zipper is being kept up to par down in Central America. Though it is accompanied by its old Coney
mate, The Spider ride, the Zipper has been seen
breaking down, according to the YouTube video below. Riders are seen getting out and climbing down off the ride.
But as Amy Nicholson tells Kinetic Carnival in an email, the people who now
own it are the nicest people ever. “I
have checked with one of the sons who I keep in touch with on Facebook and he
says the Zipper is still going strong”, she writes. The folks down in Honduras are happy to have such relics from Coney Island. They told Nicholson that the rides draw huge crowds every time.
The film’s trailer projects a fascinating experience, whether
you are enamored with Coney Island or not.
It feels, to me, that the music and the way it observes its characters, strikes
the very chord of what Coney Island is now, has been, and will always be; a
place where you can’t get too serious because at the heart, it’s all fun and
“Zipper: Coney Island’s Last Wild Ride”, will be celebrating
its world premiere at 9:30 PM, Saturday. Nov. 10, 2012 - SVA –
(Buy Tickets) and
at 3:00 PM, Thursday. Nov. 15, 2012 - IFC Center – (Buy Tickets)
On my recent trip to New York I met up with my Coney Island
friend Mr. Amos Wengler, who told me he was excited about his new song for the
new Coney Island. With not much
preparation I got my field recorder and Amos played his song with heart and
soul. I found it very catchy. For the rest of my stay and on my way back home I couldn't get it out of my head. But I was pleased. He asked if I could videotape
it. I wasn’t much prepared but taped
him and thought I’d figure it out when I get back. I didn’t quite know exactly what to do with the
little footage and field recorded song that I now had with me of Wengler’s new
pride and joy, but a promise is a
Amos is sort of a Coney Island Santa Clause in a lifeguard uniform. Though his usual attire is more the shorts and sandals garb with a guitar strapped over his shoulder, I asked Amos how he comes up with a song and he told me that the title usually pops in his head first, then he plays around with it for a while until
'it' happens. “I grab the guitar and it
just sort of comes out”, he said. “And I’m
kind of surprised myself and I say ‘hey!’ how did I do that”, he adds with wonder and a proud grin under his cotton candy beard. He says that's the way it usually works for
him. He gets inspired by the title. He
keeps a recorder nearby for when it happens.
Amos Wengler has been writing songs since he was sixteen,
about the time that he was a lifeguard on Bay 12 in 1965 at Coney Island.
When I asked him what keeps in Coney Island, he chuckles and
says he’s stuck here. But he does find
himself in Coney because he loves the atmosphere and the ocean, including the many people he knows here. They’re his friends. He feels if he goes someplace else, he’d be
Amos Wengler takes part in many Coney Island events
including the famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.
He is a Coney Island Polar Bear and has sort of been the music backdrop
creator for many Coney Island popular festivities. He has songs for the Mermaid Parade, The Hot
Dog Eating Contest, The Polar Bears, and now for the New Coney Island. He hopes this one will catch on. He also hopes to record the song in a studio with accompaniment and arrangements.
Like many denizens of Coney Island, Amos also feared the
impending doom for Coney’s amusement district.
But the fear is over and amusements are here to stay, proving that Coney
Island is a rare survivor in the face of gentrification. Though its make up seems gentrified it has always stood up for its principals. Wengler gives a sigh of relief, for if it were for condos to rise at the
footprints of the amusements, he would probably have no more songs in him to write about Coney
Island. “That would be a
bummer, if it was all condos here, I would probably write an anti-condo song. But for sure that would spoil it", he says.
He’s excited about the new boardwalk with the new
restaurants, the big new rides, the Scream Zone, Grimaldi’sPizza,
tattoo shops, and all the re-vamped stores. “So, people
are watching”, he adds. Which will only
make things grow further. He said you
see a lot more people here on the weekends...a lot more.
It would be interesting to see how this winter will look like.
I thanked Mr. Wengler for sharing his song with me and though
it comes here in the form of a modest little music video in autumn, we both
agree it will be catchy enough to be heard to next summer and beyond. The New Coney Island needed a song and this
"Welcome To Coney Island" by Amos Wengler [Acoustic Version]
Posted by Omar Robau (ConeyHOP) [Youtube]
Disclaimer: This acoustic version of this song was recorded live with a high quality H4 Zoom Recorder, but still can not compare to a full studio recording.