Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Coney Events: Coney Themed Halloween Party in Park Slope

This is actually in Park Slope, not Coney Island, but there is a 'Coney Island Night of the Dead' party at the Brooklyn Lyceum tonight. The listing on flavor pill promises "Sexy carny zombies, Coney Island cuties, buckets of fake blood, and plenty of pasties." Not only should it be a good time, it also supports a good cause, as proceeds from the party go to benefit Planned Parenthood.

Coney Island Night of the Dead
Wed Oct 31

Brooklyn Lyceum
at 227 4th Ave in Park Slope
$20 / $15 advance

Tickets here.

- post by Ben Nadler

Architect Firm Still With Thor Equities For Coney?

According to an article by Dianna Dilworth for Architectural Record, which was found on the website of the Architect firm EEK; Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects, dated August 27th, 2007 - the same rhetoric of indoor water parks, holographic mermaids, glass towers, high rises, and even some of the cuts and scale backs due to community pressure.

Dilworth writes:
Thor has shown willingness to work with the community. After being pressured by residents who live near the development site, it scaled back its plans by 1 million square feet. The community board is also not entirely opposed to change. It supported the city’s 2003 rezoning to strengthen the amusement district’s core by allowing new jobs and residential development there. City officials have also allocated $83.2 million to area improvements, including the creation of new streets, parking, open space, and a community center. It’s also building Steeplechase Plaza, a low-to-middle-income affordable housing complex, and will renovate the New York Aquarium, located on Surf Avenue.

Though this was written just two months ago most of what was mentioned has already been dropped or not mentioned and is now awaiting city rezoning, if any. Is this simply old news or could this still be swirling around between Thor and EEK? One thing to point out is a different image (above) and angle from the ones shown before of the plans by EEK.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Coney Island History: Charles Atlas

(Click image for larger view)
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle has a fun article on the life of muscleman and 'Dynamic Tension' inventor Charles Atlas in honor of what would have been his 114th birthday. The article includes an account of Atlas's legendary Coney Island beach encounter:

Picture this: Coney Island, circa 1908, Atlas is sunning himself at the beach and trying hard to make time with a pretty girl. Up walks this gorilla and literally kicks sand in Atlas's face and walks off with the dame. After this humiliating experience, Atlas beheld the statue of Hercules at the Brooklyn Museum and vowed that he would never again have anyone kick sand in his face.

In some ways, Atlas is a classic Coney Island figure. The iconic sand-kicking incident took place at Coney when he was fifteen or so; "By age 19, he was a professional Coney Island strongman, tearing phonebooks in half and pounding nails into blocks of wood with his hands."It doesn't get much more Coney than that. At the same time, it sounds like old Charles would have been a little uptight for a lot of the Coney crowd, considering that he frequently advised young boys, "Live clean, think clean and don't go to burlesque shows."

- post by Ben Nadler

Daft Punk, Live From KeySpan Park

There is a lot of buzz going around about the newly released video from the electronica duo Daft Punk, featuring a combination of their songs 'Around The World" and "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger." The video- which can be viewed on ZME Music, (as well as below or on YouTube) - was edited together from footage shot by 250 fans who were in the audience at a show Daft Punk played at Coney Island's own KeySpan Park over the summer.

The Beastie Boys tried something similar last year with 'Awesome, I F--king Shot That,' a concert documentary compiled from footage shot by fans. However, the Daft Punk video seems to have turned out better than the BB project, which was not well received.

Daft Punk - Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (Alive 2007)


The music video for the first single from 2007's live album 'Alive 2007'. The song was recorded from their performance at Bercy in Paris from June 14, 2007. The music video features footage shot by 250 audience members at Daft Punk's Brooklyn appearance at KeySpan Park, Coney Island.

- post by Ben Nadler

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"Freaktoberfest" By Coney Island Lager

The Shmaltz Brewing Company, which makes the great Coney Island Lager beer, and are the handcrafters of He-Brew (the “Chosen Beer”) celebrates Halloween by bringing us Freaktoberst! They have just released their new Halloween brew: "Coney Island Freaktoberfest". The freaky Halloween special brew is brewed with six malts and comes in red...blood red to that is.

Coney Island Lager is produced in association with
Coney Island USA Arts Organization. .

So, feed your inner beer freak at the various locations throughout Brooklyn.
See list

Coney Island at Christie's

Lisette Model's 1940 'Coney Island Bather' photo set is on auction at Christie's. The folks at give a little bit of context:

A picture from the series Coney Island Bather, New York, was published in Harper's Bazaar in 1941 as a vivid counterpoint to the artifices of fashion.
There pictures are true classics. Seeing a woman who does not have a traditionally accepted body type so comfortable in her own skin, frolicking on the beach, truly embodies the Coney Island spirit.

The photo set is expected to for between 20,000 and 30,000 British pounds (roughly $41,000 to $61,5000). The pictures are great, but this is still an awful lot of money, considering that you can get the 'I Heart Brooklyn Girls' calendar for only fifteen bucks.

- post by Ben Nadler

Celebrate Halloween at the Ascarium

The New York Aquarium has cleverly renamed itself the 'Ascarium' for the duration of its Halloween festivities. This sounds like a great way for parents to integrate some Halloween fun into an educational trip. Most of the activities come free with general admission, and children ages 3-12 who are in costume get in free if accompanied by a paying adult.

The New York Aquarium
October 20-21, 27-28, and 31

Surf Avenue at 8th St. & S
Noon to 4pm

- post by Ben Nadler

Friday, October 26, 2007

"Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle in Coney Island Part Two

Here is part three of "Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle in Coney Island" posted on YouTube by Dutchmazz.

"Fatty" in Coney Island Part #3 (1917)

A Classic comedy featuring Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle and Buster Keaton.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Will Bloobmberg Announce Coney's Zoning Plans?

Word came in a comment to Kinetic Carnival that nycartsculture, the arts and culture blog of CUNY School of Journalism wrote about Carol Albert, of Astroland, confirming, at last night's Community Board 13 meeting, that she and her husband had reached an agreement with Thor Equities. The Alberts will lease the property and open Astroland for one more year.

Nycartsculture also wrote that according to an inside source from the city, Mayor Bloomberg will be announcing the long-awaited zoning changes for Coney Island at the Bloomberg luncheon meeting that will take place November 8th at Gargiulo's Restaurant in Coney Island.

Nycartsculture is run by a group of students and the CUNY School of Journalism. The following is the post in its entirety:

A Bit of Good News in Coney Island, for a Change…

Carol Hill-Alpert, co-owner of the
Astroland Amusement Park, confirmed rumors that have been swirling in Coney Island in recent weeks last night at a meeting of Community Board 13: she and her husband have reached an agreement with Thor Equities to open Astroland again next summer.
The Associated Press
verifies it.

Turns out all the talk about Coney Island’s “
last year” was a bit alarmist; the businesses on the boardwalk will be open again in 2008, as well. The Coney Island Cassandras did turn a nice profit for everyone, though, as it was reported at Community Board 13’s Public Safety Committee meeting on Oct. 2 that crowds were up this summer!

A source in the government told me last night that the city will be announcing its long-awaited zoning changes for Coney Island on Nov. 8, around 6 or 7 pm. This will be big news, so keep your eyes and ears peeled.

Over at the Coney Island USA bulletin board posters are already predicting. But buzz around Coney from Community Board 13 members has been that Bloomberg will be announcing plans to designate Coney Island as a historic area dedicated to amusemnts that will be protected from developers changing it's historic significance to New York City and the world.

"Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle in Coney Island Part Two

Here is part two of "Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle in Coney Island" posted on YouTube by Dutchmazz.

"Fatty" in Coney Island Part #2 (1917)

Description: A Classic comedy featuring Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle and Buster Keaton.

New CIDC Board Member

Wednesday's Brooklyn Eagle announced that:
Chamber of Commerce President Carl Hum has been named to the Coney Island Development Corporation (CIDC) Board of Directors.
It's not clear what effect-if any- Hum's appointment to the 13 member board will have on the actions of the CIDC, a government formed entity charged with planning the economic development of Coney Island. Nonetheless, it's always a good idea to keep an eye on who's involved in making decisions that effect the community.

- post by Ben Nadler

Astroland Gets Another Year!

This afternoon, several news outlets reported that Carol Albert and Thor Equities have reached a compromise that will allow Astroland to stay open for one more year.

Though it does unfortunately sounds like this year will be the last one, it's still great news that we'll at least have one last season to enjoy and say goodbye to Astroland.

Astroland Will Live to See Another Year [The Gowanus Lounge]
The Village Voice: Astroland Lives For One More Summer [The Village Voice]
Brooklyn Daily Eagle: Astroland Saved For Another Year [Brooklyn Daily Eagle]
New York Daily News: Astroland to open for one last season [New York Daily News]
Fox News: Coney Island's Astroland Lives for One More Season [My Fox New York]

- post by Ben Nadler

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Coney Events: Halloween Party at The Surf & Turf Grill

The Surf & Turf Grill throws their first Halloween Party this Saturday. With all the festivities going on for Halloween this weekend the streets of Coney Island will surely be filled with zombies and ghouls.

The Coney Island Grill Halloween Party
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Doors Open at 9pm!

$6.00 with Costume
$8.00 without
at 1315 Surf Avenue (BTW Stillwell & 15th St)

'Arbuckle & Keaton At Luna Park' Video (1917)

Dutchmazz brings us again some great videos posted on YouTube featuring the great Coney Island of yesteryear. Here in Part 1 of "Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle in Coney Island" Fatty teams up with Buster Keaton as they romp all over Luna Park of 1917.

"Fatty" in Coney Island (1917) Part 1

The video's running lenght is 10 minutes.
Parts 2 & 3 can be viewed here: (
two, three).
They will also be posted tomorrow and the following day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Watching the Moves of Bloomberg and Thor

As usual, there were some great posts on the Gowanus Lounge this morning.

Most exciting was the tip that Bloomberg will be speaking in Coney Island about Coney Island at a Brooklyn Business Luncheon on November 8th. Hopefully, he will take this opportunity to talk about the zoning issues which are currently under debate.

Also worth taking a look at it is the GL post about the ongoing Thor Equities demolition project in Red Hook. Keeping an eye on Joe Sitt's other projects might- unfortunately- be a good way of predicting what Coney Island is in for.
Image from Suburbarazzi

- post by Ben Nadler

Community Board 13 Meeting Tomorrow

Community Board #13- which serves Coney Island, as well Sea Gate, Brighton Beach, Gravesend, Bathbeach, Bensonhurst, and Homecrest- will hold its monthly meeting tomorrow evening.

Real decisions about your neighborhood are made at these meetings. Going to these meetings is a good way stay involved, and have a say in what goes on in your community. While regular people's opinions are often cut out of the national debate these days, there's no reason that they have to be cut out of the South Brooklyn debate.

Community Board 13 Meeting
October 24, 2007

7PMConey Island Hospital Auditorium
2nd Floor

History Detectives Investigate Authenticity Of Coney Steeplechase Artifact

Yesterday, the 'Coney Island Lions' episode of History Detectives was posted on You Tube in two parts. The episode originally ran on PBS in 2005, but anyone who missed it then should check it out online now. The immediate objective of the show's investigation is to determine if a collector's metal lion paws actually came from the entrance of Steeplechase Park, as he beleives. Along the way, a great history of Steeplechase Park is given. The show's climax comes when Charles Denson appears with vital photographic evidence.

Steeplechase Lions Paws 1 of 2

Steeplechase Lions Paws 2 of 2

Steeplechase Lions Paws Part I & Part II [YouTube]
Videos posted on YouTube by

- post by Ben Nadler

New Coney Charter School Seeks Board Members

Whitney Tilson's School Reform Blog has posted an email from an educator/ planner who is searching for board members for a proposed high performance public charter school in Coney Island. The project is still only in the application stages, but the plan is that 'Coney Island Prep' would open in the fall of 2009, and serve 5th through 12th grade students from the local community. The process of getting a new school started is obviously pretty involved, but if it works out, 'Coney Island Prep' sounds like it will be a great resource for families in the Coney Island Community.

- post by Ben Nadler

Monday, October 22, 2007

Boats Collide Off Coney Island Shore

Reported in the New York Times:

Two people are dead and two others have been rescued after a collision between a barge and a 24-foot yacht in the waters off Coney Island.

One person was found in the water by a fishing boat. The victim was taken to a hospital on Staten Island. None of the victims have been identified

2 Killed and 2 Rescued in Boating Collision [New York Times]
Two Die in Boating Accident Off Coney Island [Gothamist]
Two Die In Yacht Collision (includes video report) [NY1 News]

Coney Events: Thor & Astella Halloween Walk

Thor Equities and Astella Development team up for some Halloween festivities.

Trick or Treat Walk and Party
Saturday, October 27th
2 pm to 5 pm
(See ad abover for details or visit their site here.)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Coney Amusement Video by VOA News

This Coney Island video was found on YouTube and posted by Myearbot which posts various videos from Voice of America (VOA) News.

Coney Island's Amusement Park to Close - VOA Story

New York's Coney Island is one of the Big Apple's most visited attractions. Its beach, boardwalk and amusement park have been attracting visitors for more than a century. But its largest theme park -- Astroland -- is set to close at the end of the summer season to make way for a $250 million re-development project.

Coney Events: Don't Forget The Freakshow's Creepshow

The Creepshow at the Freakshow playing throughout October.
From the Coney Island USA bulletin board:
The Creepshow is Coney Island’s only Halloween extravaganza and one of the best haunted tours in all of New York City. Come see what the New York Press called "not only the best and wildest haunted house in town, but the smartest as well."

The Creepshow at the Freakshow is live entertainment at its spookarific best! Audience members are greeted by live entertainment and taken on a half-hour guided tour featuring a frightening array of ghosts and ghouls. Due to the intense nature of this event, the experience is not recommended for small children. Older children will be admitted with parental approval only! Hold onto your hats and prepare to be petrified!

Remaining shows:
October 21, and all week October 25-31, 2007

at Sideshows by the Seashore Theater
Corner of Surf Avenue and West 12th Street
Shows run continuously from 7 PM to 11 PM
$8 for Adults, $5 for kids under 12

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Coney Island's Graffiti Cleanup

Police from Patrol Borough Brooklyn South are launching an extensive graffiti cleanup tomorrow, according to an article on Brooklyn Graphic. One of the targeted areas is Coney Island, where police will be working with the local group, Kick Drugs Out of the U.S.A. to clean up sites such as Surf and Mermaid Avenues. In addition to cleaning up graffiti, police will also be promoting their $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of graffiti writers.

The city's continued emphasis on anti-graffiti programs seems misdirected. Sure, some local business owners will probably appreciate the help. For the most part, however, these initiatives are a continuation of Giuliani's 'quality of life' program, which always seemed to be primarily about putting a sanitized façade on the city, and criminalizing people's use of public space.

In Coney Island, at least, the efforts of police and volunteers might be better served patching the holes in the boardwalk- which pose an actual danger- rather than painting over harmless graffiti.

New assault against ugly graffiti - Effort to be borough-wide [Brooklyn Graphic]

- post by Ben Nadler

Rematch of Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Champions

Yesterday's Birmingham News ran a profile on Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut, the reigning champion of Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. Chestnut is currently preparing for next week's Krystal Square Off World Hamburger Eating Championship in Chattanooga. His primary objective in the contest is to beat his Japanese rival, Takeru "The Tsunami" Kobayashi. Kobayashi was the Nathan's Hot Dog champion for six years, before being toppled by Chestnut, who is quite proud of this victory:

"Whenever I'm traveling to a contest and I tell the person next to me on the plane that I'm going to an eating contest, they say, `Oh, are you going to compete against that little Japanese guy who eats all the hot dogs?'

"Now, I'm finally able to tell them that I beat him."
Chestnut is eager to prove to the world that he is superior to Kobayashi in not only hot dog eating, but hamburger eating as well. Last year, Chestnut lost to Kobayashi, 91 hamburgers to 97 hamburgers.

Competitive Eater Readies For Rematch With Biggest Foe [Yesterday's Birmingham News: Food Fight]

- post by Ben Nadler

Coney Photos on Shorpy

Some great old photos of Coney Island have been put up Shorpy, an interesting blog devoted to old photographs. The newly posted photos include:

'Surf Avenue: 1913' (above)
July 16, 1913. Surf Avenue on Coney Island, with Feltman's Clam Bake on the left.

'Luna Park: 1913' (above)
May 19, 1913. Promenaders at Luna Park, "The Heart of Coney Island

'Coney Island Bathers' (above)
On the beach at New York's Coney Island circa 1910-1915.

Shorpy posted a few good Coney shots earlier in the year too, such as this photo of Orphans going to Luna Park in 1911 (below), which includes a 1911 New York Times article on the outing.

- post by Ben Nadler

Friday, October 19, 2007

Australian Documentary On Coney Island

This wonderful piece of work brought to Kinetic Carnival's attention by the bloggers over at the Living With Legends: Hotel Chelsea Blog takes us through what was for the last few weeks considered the end of Coney as we knew it.

Australian filmmaker who dealt with gentrification in New York with a documentary on the Chelsea Hotel now confronts the fabled amusement place threatened by the wrong development.

The Hotel Chelsea blog writes:
Australian filmmaker Michael Maher, who shot a documentary about the gentrification of the Chelsea Hotel and Chelsea neighborhood for his "Postcards from New York" series, is back in action again, having set in sights on another threatened New York institution, Coney Island. In case you haven't heard, what's happening out there, is that developers are tearing down most of the seedy old amusement park so they can build condos for rich people who, apparently, don't like to have fun. (Is anyone taking bet on how long it will be before they complain about noise, drunks, etc., from the Cyclones ballpark next door.)

Michael Maher takes a nostalgic look at the colorful place once billed as the world’s greatest amusement park in "Postcards from New York: Coney Island"

Shorty at Coney Island

The classic 1939 short film, 'Shorty at Coney Island' has recently been posted on You Tube. Basically, the film follows a chimpanzee named Shorty as he runs amuck in Steeplechase Park, while the off screen narrator alternately berates his foolishness, and relays his thoughts to the audience. Any Coney Island history buff should check out the film for the footage of Steeplechase. Everyone else should check out just because it's bizarre and wonderful to watch a chimpanzee climb a Ferris wheel.

For those who want to own the film, it's still available on the Coney Island Films Collection compilation DVD [link back to your August 29, 2006 post].

Watching old films like this is great because they really capture the wonder that people once associated with Coney Island. People all across the country would see films like this and know that no matter how humdrum or hardscrabble their lives might be, there was a place in Brooklyn where beauties pranced on the beach, boys shot BB guns, women passed out on Ferris wheels, and chimps ran free.

This is part of the reason the issues surrounding the redevelopment of Coney Island hits such a chord with people. In these sanitized and skeptical times, there is little wonder left. To surrender Coney Island's amusement area completely to the development of condos would be to surrender our collective claim to a world of wonder.

Shorty at Coney Island (1936)

by dutchmazz [YouTube]

- post by
Ben Nadler

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Reminder: Secrets of Coney Island Creek Exhibit & Lecture

Secrets of Coney Island Creek, an exhibit of photographs by photographer and author Charles Denson, opens at the Brooklyn College Library on .

A reception held in the library’s first-floor Archives and Special Collections Reading Room will be followed by Charles Denson’s lecture, "
Coney Island Creek: The Future of the Past,"

Image by Charles Denson (Coney Island History Project)

Secrets of Coney Island Creek
Thursday, October 18

reception held at 6 p.m
followed by letcture at 7:15 p.m.
in the Brooklyn College Library Woody Tanger Auditorium.

2900 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY.
Library hours are Mon-Thurs, 9 am- 9 pm;
Friday, 9am -5 pm;
and Sat.-Sun. 10 am -6 pm.
Tel. 718-951-5346 (Special Collections) or 718-951-4540 (Desk)

2008 Greetings from Coney Island Calendar

Though the 'I Heart Brooklyn Girls at Coney Island' calendar is pretty fantastic, it is not too every one's taste. For those who want a slightly risqué, Coney Island themed calendar, there is Coney Island U.S.A.'s 20008 Greetings from Coney Island Calendar. The calendar features post card images from CIUSA's archives of historical sites such as Luna Park, Steeplechase Park and Dreamland. Proceeds of the sale go to benefit the ongoing work of Coney Island U.S.A.

- post by Ben Nadler

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More From The Brooklyn Historian

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle's resident historian, John B. Manbeck, has given us another fine column on Coney Island history. The new column is a concise, readable history of the Wonder Wheel, from its creation in 1920, through these current days of Thor.

Manbeck- who was the official Brooklyn Borough Historian for nine years, and is a professor emeritus at Kingsborough Community College ('K' on the Bay)- is a valuable living resource for Brooklyn history. Kinetic Carnival is, of course, particularly interested in the Brooklyn History sub-discipline of Coney Island History. Manbeck's Coney related work includes the 1991 book Coney Island Kaleidoscope (a collaboration with photographer Lynn Butler), consulting roles on several Coney Island documentaries, and 'Swept By Ocean Breezes: A History of Coney Island,' a New York Council for the humanities funded lecture which is provided free to any New York non-profit organization.

Coney Island is an amazing historical landmark, for Brooklyn, for New York, and for our whole country. One of the key issues at play in the area's redevelopment is to make sure that the area's historical legacy is protected and honored. This doesn't mean halting all development, and trying to recreate what we see in the films from 1904, but it does mean that we need to be aware of the area's history, so as not to lose it all together. People like John B. Manbeck should be applauded for helping us to learn this history.

Historically Speaking:The Big Wheel [Brooklyn Daily Eagle]

Swept by Ocean Breezes: A History of Coney Island
A lecture by John B. Manbeck
This lecture is available from 4/13/06 to 4/1/09

Can be tailored to a high school audience
Visit The New York Council For The Humanities for information

- post by Ben Nadler

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Condos In Coney...A Virtual Reality

In order to promote the upcoming Will Smith movie, 'I Am Legend' (based on Richard Matheson's classic 1954 sci-fi novel), a tie-in online multi-player game on 'Second Life' has been released. In an interview on Second Life Insider, two of the games creators explain that to simplify the game's New York setting, they focused on the key areas of Central Park, Chinatown, Columbus Circle and, of course, Coney Island. One of the creator's, Cory Edo, seems particularly excited about the Coney sim:

Coney Island is my favorite because its creepy as hell. This sim is probably the one we pulled the most from RL. We have the Coney Island subway station, the freak show, the wonder wheel... there's the Boardwalk and the beach, and that's the Grand Tour!

For those of you who want a slightly less involved way to vicariously experience Coney Island online, there is a fun video on Gowanus Lounge shot from the wonder wheel.

Neither Second Life nor a video blog can compare to the real thing, of course, but it is nice to take a few minutes now and then and pretend you're down by boardwalk (riding the Wonder Wheel, or fighting 'darkseekers,' as the case may be) and not sitting at your desk at work.

Visit the 'Second Life' official website here.
A few screenshots below:

- post by Ben Nadler

A Peak Into Yesteryear

Some delightful footage of Coney Island in 1903 and 1904 was posted today on Motion Abbey. Though it was posted sometime ago on this blog, it was good to re-post it.

The silent footage is a compilation of short films shot by the American Mutoscope & Biograph Company and Thomas A. Edison Inc., including 'Children in the Surf', and 'Shooting The Chutes, Luna Park.' This is an amazing peak into the Coney Island of a century ago, and anybody with any interest in Coney Island history should check it out immediately

- post by Ben Nadler

Monday, October 15, 2007

Kids Tour The Coney Island Lighthouse

The Coney Island Lighthouse is a local historical landmark, dating from 1890. The lighthouse is owned by the Coast Guard, and is largely inaccessible, due to its location within the gated community of Seagate

Frank Schubert was the last lighthouse's last keeper, serving from 1960 until the lighthouse became automated. His grandson, Scott Schubert, runs a Coney Island Lighthouse Website, and has been working to open up the lighthouse to the public. He had his first success last Thursday, when several fifth grade classes from PS 48 toured the lighthouse. "Hopefully," Schubert commented afterward on his website, "this will be just the first and we can organize some more tours and invite all the people that ask all the time!"

- post by Ben Nadler

Coney Island Pinups

'I Heart Brooklyn Girls' is the self described, "only queer femme swimsuit calendar in the U.S. of A."

Their first calendar- for 2007- featured a different neighborhood and decade for each month. The photos ranged from quite classy (March- Miss Ditmas Park, 1905) to delightfully trashy (September- Miss Bay Ridge, 1985), and are all a lot of fun.

2008's calendar is entirely devoted to Coney Island. The calendar can be both previewed and purchased on the 'I Heart Brooklyn Girls' website. There are several good reasons to pick up the calendar. First of all, the calendar looks good. Secondly - and unlike with most traditional pinup calendars - the project is entirely female controlled, and the women are presented in the way they want to be presented. Thirdly, 10% of the profits from the 2008 calendar go to Coney Island U.S.A.

The Brooklyn Girls are the beach! [I Heart Brooklyn Girls]

- post by Ben Nadler

Friday, October 12, 2007

Grace Nichilo Way

The intersection of Neptune Ave. and West 16th St. has been dedicated as 'Grace Nichilo Way,' according to an article in today's Bay News. Nichilo was a mother, a grandmother, and an active parishioner of Our Lady of Solace church on Mermaid Ave. She is best remembered for helping with the Coney Island Feast, and various church festivals.

Sometimes it's good to take a step back from the broad discussion of the development of Coney Island, and take the time to think about the individual people who make up the community of Coney Island.
Image by theconklins (

‘Grace Nichilo Way’ debuts in Coney island [Bay News]

-post by Ben Nadler

On The Existence of The Soul

Today's Brooklyn Eagle ran an editorial by Dennis Holt on the subject of 'Brooklyn Soul.' Basically, Holt's argument seems to be that the idea of resisting development in order to preserve 'Brooklyn's soul' is sentimental, nostalgic nonsense. The discussion mainly centers on the redevelopment of Downtown Brooklyn, but he does throw Coney Island in at the end:

So when I look at a vision of what the new Downtown Brooklyn will look like, it's hard for me to conjure up matters relating to soul. Nor, when I see the remains of the old Coney Island, and plans to build a new one, do I think of soul.

Holt's point is valid up to certain point. Change and evolution are an inevitable part of the life of a city, and to arbitrarily pinpoint a place at which evolution should stop is reactionary and unprogressive. Just because Coney Island looked a certain way in 1896 doesn't mean that Coney Island needs to look that way now. Nonetheless, Holt's blanket dismissal of the relevance of 'soul' in issues of development is callous and flawed. One of the common definitions of the term 'soul' is 'the essence of something.' Coney Island- and Downtown Brooklyn, for that matter- clearly possesses a certain essence, which is recognized in New York and throughout the world. Redevelopment should not be focused on clinging to a place's past, but it should be about preserving the place's essence, while continuing to evolve.

- post by Ben Nadler

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Coney Island is New York

New York launched its first multi nation advertising campaign today, according to an article on The "This is New York Campaign" will be promoted in a number of mediums throughout the world, in an attempt to increase the amount of tourists who visit New York each year. The Newsday article gives a preview:

Set to a contemporary remix of Ella Fitzgerald singing "Take the A Train," the TV spots merge video of a family's visit to New York with fanciful animation. Flying hot dogs pass over Coney Island's ferris wheel; a giant pair of red heels makes its way across Fifth Avenue; the Yankees' baseball diamond suddenly transforms into a slice of pizza.

Apparently, the imagery of Coney Island is a big part of how the City of New York wants to be viewed by the world. As well it should be. Let's just hope that city's affection for Coney Island is reflected in real life- specifically in regards to how redevelopment issues are handled- and not just in cartoons.

- post by Ben Nadler

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Astroland Opened For Film Crews!

The great Brooklyn blog The Gowanus Lounge reported that two productions were filming in Coney Island yesterday and will continue filming today. A TV crew was filming for the new Fox series "New Amsterdam" And so was a film called "The Code". Check out the filming details over at The Gowanus Lounge.

With all the attention from TV and film productions, documentaries and photo projects Coney Island has been receiving, perhaps Astroland will stick around for another year as a film studio back lot.

Image by
RGuskind (

Coney Island #2: Astroland Open Again...for a Film Shoot The Gowanus Lounge]