Monday, December 31, 2007

Two Coney Island Podcasts Coming In 2008

Not one but TWO podcasts on Coney Island are planned for the coming year!

Lola Staar's website has announced a Coney podcast to begin in March:
This March, the first episode of the Lola Staar Podcast will debut on computers across the globe!! Each podcast episode will be hosted by a different, fabulous burlesque star. It will feature Coney Island community news, arts, music, entertainment, fashion, history, sports and much more! Stay tuned for the launch of our first captivating episode!!!

And what's interesting is that, by coincidence and already in the works has been a Coney podcast by this blog Kinetic Carnival that will launch in January of '08.

The podcast will feature general news, stories, interviews, music, and other tidbits by the people of Coney Island. What's great about podcasts is that they allow us to get deeper into the stories and issues.

Coming up in the first few podcasts by Kinetic Carnival are various people who have a lot to say about Coney Island, like one particular actor who has more than rubbed shoulders with some eccentric tough characters during the Coney mob heydays of the 1950's. We'll also be talking with one of the last Red Hot Mommas who has a great passion to have her rant on what's happening in Coney Island heard. She'll also expound on her wonderful experiences in the Coney of her youth and how sadly she's witnessed the area's decay. They'll also be interviews conducted by students of P.S.1 in Brooklyn with Coney Islanders like Major Meat's Jim Prince, and former sideshow performer Jennifer Miller and others. Plus much more!

Stay tuned further announcements and exact launch date.

Lola Staar New Boutique and Roller Skating Rink For '08

Lola Staar was thrilled to announce her new second boutique that will be opening up inside the Stillwell Subway terminal. Also in the announcement are plans for a roller skating rink for Coney Island:

The announcement read:

Lola Staar is thrilled to announce that we will be opening a new boutique in Coney Island this spring! Our second Coney Island shop will be located inside the sparkling new, fabulously renovated Stillwell Avenue Subway station!

Another, even more exciting dream is in the works for 2008. A preliminary manifestation of Lola's dream to build a Roller Rink in Coney Island may take place this summer! We will keep you updated as Lola's exciting dream unfolds!

Where the skating rink will be located still has to be announced. Some are already speculating whether the city is in on the rink project with Staar or if Dianna Carlin, owner and founder of Lola Staar is in fact working with Joe Sitt and Thor Equities. Much has still to be mentioned in the next coming weeks or perhaps months.

You can follow the discussion on the CIUSA board

Kruger Strikes Again

State Senator Carl Kruger held a press conference on Friday to announce that the city's plan for Coney Island should not go proceed until an environmental review is completed.

In order to designate key amusement area land (which is currently owned by Thor Equities) as 'parkland,' the city plans to swap Thor for nearby land, which is adjacent to KeySpan Park. Kruger's objection (which he has threatened to back up with a lawsuit) does not challenge the swap directly, but would throw a monkey wrench into the preliminary step of declassifying the land by KeySpan Park as parkland.

Out of context, it might seem like a reasonable request that an environmental review be put into effect before the city removes a park's protected status. Considering, however, that this process would take a year, that the land in question is (as The Gowanus Lounge points out) mainly just parking lot, and that this is the second time in two months Kruger has found a way to get his name in the headlines while at the same time doing a favor for Thor, it starts to seem a lot less reasonable.

Once again, Kruger has managed to frame shilling for Thor as doing his duty for the people of Brooklyn.

State Senator Calls for Review of Coney Island Project [The New York Times]
Coney Plan's Twist & Turn [New York Post]
Environmental review could stall Coney Island plan [Newsday]
Coney News: Lola Staar's New Shop and Roller Rink (?) + Carl Kruger's Parking Lot Fight [The Gowanus Lounge]

- post by Ben Nadler

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Stephon Marbury Sideshow Poster

Coney Island's hometown hero, Stephon 'Starbury' Marbury, has had a rough year. He lost both his mentor, Robert Williams, and his father, Don, and is now on indefinite leave from the Knicks.

Brooklyn based illustrator Joel Kimmel has captured this moment in Marbury's personal history in this picture, which is done in the style of a classic Coney Island poster. Kimmel explained his motivation on his blog:

I wanted to portray him back in Coney Island on an old sideshow-style poster. The poster advertises Starbury as Coney Island's finest (he has a tattoo stating the same), but the boardwalk is completely empty, and maybe the curtain is closing - as if the once popular attraction is shutting down. A lot of his supporters have turned away, and people are speculating when he will play again.

NBA Friday: Stephon Marbury [Joel Kimmel]
Is Stephon Ever Coming Back? [Gothamist]

- post by Ben Nadler

Lieber on Coney Island

Back in November, The New York Observer did an interview with Economic Development Corporation President Robert Lieber, on the subjects of his professional experience and his plans for the city. Now that Lieber has been appointed to take over Daniel Doctoroff's position as Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, The New York Observer has reposted the portion of the interview pertaining to the redevelopment of Coney Island. Naturally, Lieber's comments don't diverge radically from anything other city representatives have been saying.

- post by Ben Nadler

Friday, December 28, 2007

Reminder: 'Save Coney Island' Video Release at Surf & Turf Grill

Video release party for Amos Wengler's "Save Coney Island" song will be held at the Coney Island Surf & Turf Grill next Friday. The song is written and preformed by Amos Wengler and produced and engineered by John D'Aquino.

Save Coney Island Video Release Party
at the Coney Island Surf & Turf Grill
Friday, December 28, 2007

1315 Surf Avenue (btw Stillwell & W. 15th)
directly across from Nathan's(718) 513-6491

New Coney Island History Website

Students at The College of William & Mary created a website about the history of Coney Island as a requirement for part of their major: "Coney Island And The Modernization Of America". In an email to Kinetic Carnival, student Ryan Lintelman wrote:

I'm a student at the College of William & Mary majoring in American Studies, and one of the requirements of the major is to create a website on a topic in American History. My group and I explored Coney Island's influence on society around the turn of the 20th century. We researched, wrote, and designed the site using all the sources we could find relating to the subject.

The website is a great source for those interested in leaning about the history of Coney Island. Their sources page is probably the only Internet site where one can find most books and articles written on Coney's future in one place.

The image below from the site shows a busy Surf Avenue.

Below is a photo of Sea Lion Park 1895-1902

The site also has a video clip from the film "The Crowd" King Vidor (1928), which at 05:29 shows a few images from Luna Park including the inside of a tunnel of love.

The Crowd

Posted by jewofmalta [YouTube]

Coney Counterpoint in The Brooklyn Paper

The Brooklyn Paper has run a feature on the redevelopment of Coney Island which includes opinion pieces by both Coney Island 'Mayor' Dick Zigun, and Thor Equities' community development director, Digna Rodriguez. The tone of the two pieces is very different. Rodriguez's is classic public relations gloss, featuring phrases such as, "eye popping, jaw dropping year-round amusements and experiences, a place to make memories." Zigun's piece, on the otherhand, is casual, conversational, and at times funny. Furthermore, since Zigun is speaking as an individual, he is able to offer an opinion that doesn't follow an official line.

The Brooklyn Paper did the right thing, fulfilling its journalistic obligation to objectivity by providing equal space to both points of view. As a blog, however, we have no such obligation, and are free to share some of Dick's piece, without giving any space to Thor:

Thor's plan is a disaster for the amusement park and the mayor's plan, while flawed, is fascinating. […]

The mayor boldly confronts Thor's ownership of the core by creating a permanent ride zone — in perpetuity — by designating the area as parkland. Mayor Bloomberg's plan imagines a forever-protected, Tivoli Gardens–like Coney Island for the 21st century. […]

Amusement park advocates should stand and applaud this a bold and innovative city plan. Hell, man, this is Brooklyn; bring your 300 loudest friends in matching tie-dye hats to our next public meeting on Jan. 7.

Coney Island's Wild Ride [The Brooklyn Paper]

- post by Ben Nadler

Markowitz's Vision for Coney

As in past years, Brooklyn Paper editor Gersh Kuntzman conducted a 'year in review' interview with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

The general focus of the interview was the possibility of Markowitz running for mayor, but many of the more pressing issues facing Brooklyn were discussed as well. Naturally, the redevelopment of Coney Island was one of these issues.

"I want to make sure that the amusement area grows and is preserved — you can't mix that with residential. That's what makes Coney Island unique and urban; it's the only family amusement area. The [Six] Flags, the Dorney Parks, even Disney — it all began at Coney Island."

The BP's comments make even more sense when considered in the context of other comments he made earlier in the interview.

"Lonely Planet naming Brooklyn as a must-see tourist spot with New Orleans and Hawaii, certainly was an exciting thing for Brooklyn. … tourism is off the charts this year. It's a result, very directly, of this office being involved. We go to all the tourism conventions, all year long. We're bringing in bus operators and hotel concierges, travel writers. We very aggressively go after that market. It's good for Brooklyn."

The state of his borough: Marty sits down for his annual chat with The Brooklyn Paper [Brooklyn Paper]

Image courtesy of David Shankbone

- post by Ben Nadler

Doctoroff's Successor Named

The city has named a successor to outgoing Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, Daniel Doctoroff. Robert Lieber, who has been president of the city's Economic Development Corp. for the past year, will take over Doctoroff's position on Jan. 8th.

Doctoroff was instrumental in designing the city's plan for the redevelopment of Coney Island. In the coming year, we'll see how Lieber goes about trying to make this plan a reality.

EDC president to succeed Doctoroff [Crain's New York Business]

Image courtesy of the EDC website

- post by Ben Nadler

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest Footage

Some videos of this past summer's Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest have been posted on you tube by 'njcheetah.' The videos include introductions to six time hot dog eating champion Takeru Kobayashi and current champion Joey Chestnut, as well as footage of Chestnut's dramatic victory and the subsequent awarding of his Mustard belt.

It seems like competitive eating is really taking off as a sport these days, thanks in no small part to the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest, the sport's World Cup. With fan footage flooding the net, can trading cards and clothing merchandising be far behind?

- post by Ben Nadler

Wonder Wheel In Brooklyn Daily Eagle

This little item appeared in today's in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, under the headline 'The Big Wheel Keeps On Turning':

The year 2007 brought a lot of changes to Brooklyn, many of them centered on the Coney Island area. Whatever redevelopment plan finally takes place, the Wonder Wheel, a city landmark, is sure to still be a major oceanfront attraction.
Read the rest of the article here
- post by Ben Nadler

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

New Coney Island USA's Expansion Design

Coming soon to the Coney Island amusement area is the new architectural design by Philip Tusa and rendering by William Ranwell.

The expansion to Surf Avenue will be year round offering a new and improved Freak Bar and CIUSA gift shop! You'll also enjoy their vintage jukebox and Coney Lager on tab. The US Army recruiter office and the Dreamland Artist Club will make way for the new project and will hopefully open in April of 2008.

Coney Video: CI Memory Drops

This Coney Island video features Joe Guarino and Banjo with photos by Joanna Tully.

Coney Island Memory Drops

60 seconds of sights and sounds of Coney Island as it is today featuring Joe Guarino and Banjo.
Posted by JoannaTully [YouTube]
Can also be viewed on YouTube here.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Are The Polar Bears Sellouts?

A fierce debate has raging on the Coney Island message board under the thread heading, "Coney Island Polar Bear Club are sellouts!!!!!," apparently inspired by the following announcement on the Freezin' for a Reason website:

Thor Equities will be hosting a "warming-up gathering" after the event which will be free to all pledged swimmers. Guests will receive a free beach towel as well as hot soups, snacks, and beverages.

The thread was started by user 'fixconey,' with the following posting:

Nice cause but sad to see that you've aligned yourselves with Thor Equities. Never thought that I'd see the day when this club would be involved in an event with Thor. Makes your speeches at the save Coney rally deemed meaningless. Shame on the Polar Bear Club.

Other posters quickly jumped in on both sides of the issue. User 'adriahna' posted a letter by the president of the CI Polar Bears explaining the club's actions, and also defended the club's position in her own words:

If Thor wants to sponsor an event with a donation that includes financial, as well as physical, gifts - an event whose focus is a camp for terminally ill children - I say, let 'em. This event does not benefit the Polar Bear Club - the money goes to Camp Sunshine. So, if anyone wants to bitch, then bitch to the children's camp.

Considering that the money is going to benefit Camp Sunshine, not the Polar Bears themselves, it seems a little unfair to call them 'sellouts.' However, this still leaves us with the age old ethical dilemma of whether or not good work can be done with dirty money.
- post by Ben Nadler

Yonah Schimmel's Coney Origins

Yonah Schimmel's is considered one of the Lower East Side's last remaining classic Jewish eateries, and rightly so. According to New York First (a company which sells Schimme;'s Knishes, among other New York products), Yonah Schimmel didn't originate on the LES, but down on Coney Island:

Yonah Schimmel began by selling his products (just potato and kasha first) on the beach. Schimmel's territory was Coney Island. But Schimmel also sold his wife's homemade products from a pushcart on the Lower East Side before opening the store on Houston Street in 1910.

- post by Ben Nadler

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Coney Events: Video Premier Of Amos Wengler At Surf & Turf

Video release party for Amos Wengler's "Save Coney Island" song will be held at the Coney Island Surf & Turf Grill next Friday. The song is written and preformed by Amos Wengler and produced and engineered by John D'Aquino.

Save Coney Island Video Release Party
at the Coney Island Surf & Turf Grill
Friday, December 28, 2007
1315 Surf Avenue (btw Stillwell & W. 15th) directly across from Nathan's
(718) 513-6491

Friday, December 21, 2007

Coney Events: The Coney Island Break Up Letters TONIGHT

Found via The Gowanus Lounge, tonight Artezn presents 'The World Famous Coney Island Break Up Letters' featuring Heartbreaker Blueman Robert Moss, Mermaid Hawley, the Notorious Sailor C, Opera Diva Jasmine Joseph-Perez.

The World Famous Coney Island Break Up Letters
TONIGHT: Friday, December 21. 2007
at Artezn
444 Atlantic Avenue (btw Bonds & Niven)

Coney Island in the 19th Century

The Brooklyn Museum's official blog has posted some great information about Coney Island history, along with some accompanying pictures. The history of 20th century Coney Island is pretty well documented in other places on the web, but the Brooklyn Museum focuses on the less well known history of pre-amusement park 19th century Coney Island. Interesting bits of trivia include the facts that the West side of Coney Island (now Coney Island) was known as 'Sodom by the Sea' in the mid-1800s due to it's large number of prostitutes and gangs, and that the amusement parks were preceded by attractions such as the 'Midget's Palace,' and the 'Convention of Curiosities.'

Coney Island & Entertainment [Brooklyn Museum]

- post by Ben Nadler

Going to Coney in Style

In his 'What I've Learned' column for Esquire Magazine, Cal Fussman has captured a classic Coney Island memory from Mel Brooks.
My mother raised four boys without a husband. Well, she had this one guy. We couldn't talk about him because we lived in a Jewish neighborhood and he was Italian. His name was Tony, so we called him T. T drove a garbage truck. We'd all get in the front of the garbage truck and go to Coney Island. You know what the great thing about going to Coney Island in a garbage truck was? In the twenties and thirties, the garbage trucks were big. People got out of the way. So you were sitting up there like a king.

What I've Learned: Mel Brooks [Esquire]

- post by Ben Nadler

Nathan's Hot Dog Champion to Tackle Wings

The sports blog Hugging Harold Reynold's has reported that Nathan's Hot Dog eating champ Joey Chestnutt is preparing to contest buffalo wing eating champion Bill 'El Wingador' Simmons in February 8th's Wing Bowl 16 in Philadelphia. HHR holds the Philadelphia event in the same regard as the Coney Island event.
Wing Bowl seems to bring out the best eaters each and every year, and in all likelihood is as responsible for "legitimizing" the mainstream "appeal" of competitive eating as much as the famed Coney Island 4th of July Nathan's Hog Dog eating contest.
Unfortunately, Wing Bowl 16 is rumored to be the last wing bowl ever. The Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, however, is not going anywhere.

The REAL Bill Simmons [Hugging Harold Reynolds]

- post by Ben Nadler

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Coney Leads In Curbed Cup Race

Coney Island has surpassed Williamsburg in the Curbe Cub race. Here are a few comments on Coney Island from a few angry souls:

- Be careful people. The Coney Island message board is instructing their residents how to cheat and submit more than a single vote. We all know that Williamsburg is a much better neighborhood than that trash hole. At least we got our shit together that new buldings are going up all the time and new viberant people are moving in. We deserve to win this one.

- well i live in williamsburg. i could have stayed home all last night voting, but i was actually out enjoying what my neighborhood has
to offer. Coney island residents were inside voting, hoping not to get hit by a stray bullet.

- It is all fixed. Thor Equities, the corp. curently developing Coney island, is outsourcing votes. They are fixing this race.
Wha-- did you expect residents of Coney island to even know this website exists?
HELLO!!! THIS IS CURBED!!! It is not the P Diddy Gangsta site. It is a site devoted to upscale real estate they can only dream of getting to clean. Why would the brothas down in Coney island be voting on this website. The wouldnt not. This is all Thor Equities who are paying some company in India or somewhere else that has a lot of IP addrs. to vote on this site. Who else in that dump would think their neighborhood is the best?


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Coney Island USA To Receive Grant Money

Business Wire reported today that Deutsche Bank's philanthropic wing has committed $1.2 million to local New York City cultural organizations as part of its 'Arts and Enterprise' program. One of these organizations is Coney Island USA! CIUSA will be sharing the money with eight other organizations, including Bronx Council for the Arts, Asian American Arts Alliance, and Lincoln Center.

- post by Ben Nadler

New Version of "Save Coney Island" Song by Amos Wengler

Have a listen of the new and revamped official 'Save Coney' song that's been heard all around Coney Island this summer. Amos Wengler has recorded a plushier version for his new record. "Save Coney Island" lays the soundtrack for our inspiration and hopes for the future of Coney Island.

The video of the song is due out shortly and cast, crew, and friends of the project will soon be having a screening and song party at the Surf & Turf Grill.

Visit Amos Wengler's MySpace to hear the song.

For those who want to sing along - here are the lyrics:

Save Coney Island
Save Coney Island
Save Coney Island
Don’t Let them take it away

Save Coney Island
Save Coney Island
Save Coney Island
The Whole world wants it to stay

We don’t need no condos here
don’t need no hi-rises
Let them build them somewhere else
we like it the way it is

Save Coney Island
Save Coney Island
Save Coney Island
Don’t Let them take it away

Save Coney Island
Save Coney Island
Save Coney Island
The Whole world wants it to stay

We have our zoning laws and they out to remain
Mr. Mayor help us out, keep things the same

Save Coney Island
Save Coney Island
Save Coney Island
Don’t let them take it away

Save Coney Island
Save Coney Island
Save Coney Island
The Whole world wants it to stay

Coney island always was the playground of the world
amusement parks where dreams are made
for lots of boys and girls

Save Coney Island
Save Coney Island
Save Coney Island
Don’t let them take it away

Save Coney Island
Save Coney Island
Save Coney Island
The Whole world wants it to stay

Vote For Coney- Round Two

Curbed's annual competition for the best New York neighborhood, the Curbed Cup, is still going on. In last week's first round match up, Coney Island narrowly beat out the Upper West Side, 544 to 510. This week, Coney Island is pitted against Williamsburg. As of this posting, the two neighborhoods are neck and neck. Head over to Curbed and show your support for Coney Island!

Curbed Cup Second Round: (3) Williamsburg vs. (11) Coney Island [Curbed]

- post by Ben Nadler

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Bigger Threat Than Thor?

Image courtesy of randhirsingh (

The always alarmist New York Post has picked up on a soon to be published scientific study which suggests, "Global warming could raise the world's ocean levels twice as high this century as previously predicted." The post goes on to conjecture: "That would put the areas of the city - from lower Manhattan to Coney Island - most at risk of coastal flooding in serious jeopardy."


City May Lose Turf To Surf [New York Post]

- post by Ben Nadler

The Year's Top Story

Image courtesy of Gotham Gazzette

The redevelopment of Coney Island (and other New York City areas) was included on The Gotham Gazette's list of the top ten New York news stories of 2007, under the umbrella headline of, 'Despite Economic Jitters, Development Continues':
With Wall Street going through what is at best a period of "volatility" and low-income New Yorkers losing their homes because of mortgage foreclosures, development continues in New York.
In addition to Coney Island, The Gazette mentioned Atlantic Yards, Hudson Yards, the High Line park, Columbia's expansion into West Harlem, and Jamaica, Queens as part of the same general development story.

Other stories on the Gotham Gazette list included Spitzer taking office, the crime rate continuing to fall, and the City's issuing of report cards for public schools. At Kinetic Carnival, however, there was only one top story of 2007: the redevelopment of Coney Island.

Top Stories of 2007 [Gotham Gazette]

- post by Ben Nadler

Monday, December 17, 2007

The 2012 Olympics, Ground Zero… Coney Island?

Last week's Village Voice ran an article by Tom Robbins appraising the accomplishments of outgoing Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff during his six years as head of development for the city. Robbins' stance is pretty well summed up in the article's subtitle: "Doctoroff's legacy: no Olympic Medal, no Ground Zero mettle." Robbins argues throughout the article that Doctoroff did nothing but promise grandiose projects which he failed to deliver on, then ends with this quip:
Like his friend the mayor, he took just a dollar a year in salary, being so wealthy he didn't need our grubby money.

He was overpaid.
Village Voice rival New York Press ran their own Doctoroff legacy article, as a cover story no less. The Press's article is less harshly worded than the Voice article, and generally more sympathetic to Doctoroff, but it still focuses on Doctoroff's failure to win the Olympic bid, or make significant progress on the rebuilding of Ground Zero.

Neither article makes any direct mention of Coney Island. However, the city's plan to rezone and redevelop Coney Island is Doctoroff's last major initiative as Deputy Mayor. It would do wonders for Doctoroff's legacy (not to mention for Coney Island) is this was one plan that actually came to fruition.

Photo by Richard B. Levine (Village Voice)

A Fool's Gold- Doctoroff's Legacy: no Olympic Medal, no Ground Zero mettle [The Village Voice]
Development Hell [New York Press]

- post by Ben Nadler

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Legacies of Gerald Carey and Bernard Haber

The Brooklyn Historian, John Manbeck, has once again written a fascinating article for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle this time on the subject of the naming of city housing projects. The article sheds some light on their (often obscure) namesakes. A couple Coney Island locations are mentioned, including Carey Gardens on W. 23rd St., and Haber Houses on W. 24th St.:

A 30-year chairman of the Housing Authority, Gerald Carey, received the distinction of having Brooklyn's Carey Gardens named after him. [...]

Haber Houses, a senior development, was named for Bernard Haber, a State Assemblyman from Coney Island, which seems logical.

Historically Speaking: naming City Housing- 1 [Brooklyn Daily Eagle]

- post by Ben Nadler

Coney Events: TODAY - Holidays Around the World at the Aquarium

This weekend, the Aquarium is holding another great holiday themed children's event:

Enjoy holiday traditions from around the world during this festive event celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Chanukah. Watch our Pacific walruses and sea otters unwrap and devour holiday treats during daily feedings, and enjoy storytelling and craft activities.

The New York Aquarium
December 15 -16

Surf Ave. & W. 8th Street
Noon to 4:00 p.m.

- post by Ben Nadler

Friday, December 14, 2007

Recchia Watch

The name of City Councilman Domenic Recchia- who played sidekick to State Senator Carl Kruger at last month's CIDC meeting protest has seen his name pop up in a few recent articles on the subject of City Council ethics.

The first reference was in a Dec. 10th Gotham Gazette article on the subject of the City Council's 2006 vote to raise their own salaries from from $90,000 to $112,500. The Gazette pointed out that Recchia, like many other councilmen, receives large sums on top of his salary:

Councilmember Domenic Recchia also has a significant amount of outside income from his private law practice - between $100,000 and $250,000.

Recchia's name popped up again in a Dec. 13th New York Sun article about some questionable Queen's Library fliers:

Thousands of glossy fliers packed with color photographs of elected officials that were paid for by the Queens Library are drawing criticism from those who say the public library system should be using its limited resources to buy books and pay librarians, not to promote politicians.
In addition to Mayor Bloomberg, and every single Queens council member, the fliers also featured the two chairmen of the council committees overseeing libraries, Vincent Gentile and Councilman Recchia.

Getting Paid: Debating the Council's Outside Income and Salaries [Gotham Gazette]
Library's Fliers Criticized as Promoting Politicians [New York Sun]

- post by Ben Nadler

Coney Island at Night

The 'brave new photography' magazine JPG has posted some new photos of Coney by Keith Knauer. While the photos are of pretty standard subjects (ie., Nathan's), they do a good job of capturing that bittersweet 'Coney Island, off season, at night' feeling.'

Photo courtesy of JPG

Coney Island In December [JPG]

- post by Ben Nadler

Wyclef's Coney Memories

Hip Hop superstar Wyclef Jean is most often associated geographically with New Jersey and Haiti (for which he is now an official roving ambassador).

In a recent Brooklyn Paper interview, however, Wyclef reveals that he spent some formative years down in Coney Island:

"Brooklyn gave me my swagger," said the singer, who grew up in Coney Island's Marlboro Projects and Flatbush. […]

GO Brooklyn sat down with the star between slices to ask about his experience moving to Brooklyn from Haiti at age 9. He told us some of his earliest memories were of riding the Cyclone after his family first moved, and before they relocated to New Jersey, where he joined forces with the other two young rappers, Lauryn and Pras, who would go on to form the Fugees.

'Clef's palate [Brooklyn Paper]

- post by Ben Nadler

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Behind The Scenes at The Coney Island Overhaul Shop

The New York City Transit Museum has sent out a preview list of behind the scenes transit tours being offered this winter. While the Transit Museum's own site has not yet been updated for the winter, the preview list can be read online on the New York City travel site Newyorkology.

The most hyped tour is "The Jewel in the Crown: Old City Hall Station," a tour of the city's long closed original subway station. Arguably more interesting, however, is the January 29th tour of the Coney Island subway overhaul shop and repair yard.

The overhaul shop and repair yard are part of the The New York City Transit Complex at Coney Island, one of the continent's largest transportation facilities. The complex dates back to 1926, and handles the repair and overhaul of thousands of subway cars.

Transit Museum adds tours of repair yards, old City Hall [New Yorkology]

- post by Ben Nadler

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Reminder: Coney's Past, Present & Future Talk with Charles Denson

Director The Coney Island History Project, Charles Denson Presents a discussion of the city's new parkland plans to revive Coney Island along with exclusive images never seen before!

Charles Denson, executive director of the Coney Island History Project, will talk about the city's new proposal to revive and preserve the amusement area by making it into parkland. He will also explore the fascinating changes Coney Island has undergone, from its extraordinary amusement park identity to its decline and to its survival, using never-before-seen photos.

Denson is a Coney Island native and the author of the award-winning book "Coney Island: Lost andFound".

CIHP Director Charles Denson Presents:
Coney Island Past, Present & Future
TONIGHT: December 12, 2007
at 6.30pm
at the American Folk Art Museum
located at 45 West 53rd Street
New York, NY. 10019
Tel. (212) 265-1040
$10 Admission
$5 for members, seniors, and students

Activists Brave the Cold Atlantic Waters

Image courtesy of the CI Polar Bear Club website

The Coney Island Polar Bear Club is generally considered to be a unique breed. Namely, they are the only ones willing - or interested - in braving the ice cold waters at Coney Island this time of year. According to The Columbia Spectator, however, some other brave souls have ventured into the water this past weekend, to raise awareness of their cause:

The event was organized by JK Canepa of the New York Climate Action Group and Tim Keating of Rainforest Relief to raise awareness about climate change and the use of a rare Brazilian rainforest wood called ipê to build New York City boardwalks, including the one at Coney Island. The groups are advocating a switch from ipê to recycled plastic lumber.

Saturday marked a national day of action on climate change called "Keep Winter Warm."

It should be pointed out that while the Polar Bear club is primarily interested in their 104-year-old tradition of 'winter bathing,' they also work for a good cause. The club uses their annual New Year's Day dip as an opportunity to raise money for Camp Sunshine, a program which aids children with life threatening illnesses, and their families.

Club Jumps Into Ocean for Climate Change Awareness [Columbia Spectator]

- post by Ben Nadler