Thursday, January 31, 2008

Coney Island Big Hits And Little People

Time Out New York has compiled an extensive list of 'New York stories.' While the comprehensive list includes many categories- such as 'history,' 'enterprise' and 'arts and culture'- none of it as exciting as the crime stories. Two notorious Coney Island gangland hits made the list: the 1931 set up of Giuseppe Masseria by Lucky Luciano on W 15th St., and the 1941 defenestration of Murder, Inc. snitch Abe Reles on W. 29th St. The latter incident led to Reles being called "the canary who could sing but could not fly."

Coney Island also merited a mention in the
history section for the establishment of Liliputia, an event which arguably beats out the 'rocking-chair riot' as most bizarre story on the list:

Lilliputia, an experimental attraction of little people on Coney Island, was built in 1904. Located at the Dreamland amusement park (now the New York Aquarium), the 80' x 175' "Midget City" was built in proportion to its citizens: 300 dwarves lured away from sideshows. As paying customers gaped, the diminutive denizens milled about their cardboard utopia, visiting a tiny theater and pocket-sized parliament. Eventually, Lilliputians were told to engage in promiscuous sexual behavior. By the time Dreamland went up in flames in 1911, Lilliputia had devolved into a hotbed of sexual anarchy, with 80 percent of newborns conceived out of wedlock. Surf Ave and W 8th St

It Happened Here [Time Out New York]

Top photo courtesy of Beth Levendis for Time Out NY

- post by Ben Nadler

Coney Island Lager To Go National

Beer Advocate Magazine has reported that the Saratoga Springs based Shmaltz Brewing Company is planning to expand both the varieties and availability of local favorite Coney Island Lager:

The national launch of Coney Island will feature its self-titled debut offering and four craft brewed lagers including Sword Swallower (May 1st), Albino Python (May 1st), Human Blockhead (draft only, summer '08) and Freaktoberfest (September 1st - Halloween).
Schmaltz (which also makes the popular HE'BREW Beer) is not simply cashing in on the Coney Island name; a portion of the beer's proceeds directly benefit Coney Island USA

Shmaltz Brewing Company Reaches Over 550% Growth in Four Years [Beer Advocate]

- post by Ben Nadler

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Coney Subway Art Card

This subway art card poster was spotted by Richard (Rapid T. Rabbit) Concepcion and posted on the Coney Island USA board. He says it was seen on some of the 4, 5, and 6 line cars.

Follow the discussion on the
CIUSA board.

Coney Images On Display

Found via The Gowanus Lounge, this photo show of Coney Island Images at the Patio Lounge exhibits some wonderful images by photographer Deborah Matlack, a local photographer who in the past has contributed pictures to The Gowanus Lounge has her work on display now at the Patio Lounge.

The Patio Lounge site says:

Deborah Matlack has been documenting Coney Island for several years. She also works as a commercial photographer, specializing in architectural interior/exterior photography, and is an instructor at the New York Institute of Photography. Deborah is a member of Professional Women Photographers, and has had two previous solo exhibits, entitled "Waterways of Brooklyn" and "Infrastructure: Bridges of New York City." For additional artist info, visit

Lola Staar Seeking Podcast Submissions

Lola Staar the titular proprietor of the Lola Staar Souvenir Boutique on the boardwalk, is seeking submissions for the winter edition of her video podcast, 'Carnival at the The Edge of the Earth':
Coney Island carries a secret deep within it's heart. It is a secret foreign to many summer revelers. Many profess that their love for this secret aspect of Coney Island outweighs even their love for it's salty summer days. It is an aspect of Coney Island that few experience. But those that do, treasure it deep within their souls. That secret is Winter in Coney Island.

If so, we would love for you to contribute to our first, fabulous Lola Staar winter video podcast entitled "Carnival at the The Edge of the Earth". We are looking for artists to feature in this podcast whose work embodies the beautifully dichotomy of the sunny summer laughter and the deliciously dark winter in Coney Island.

We would like to invite all musicians, poets, performers and artists of all kinds to submit work which expresses the feeling of Winter in Coney Island!! Please send your submissions by February 8th to Feel free to contact us at this address if you have any questions about the podcast or submissions.

thank you so much!!


Follow discussion at the
CIUSA board.

- post by Ben Nadler

Jimmy Prince in the Post

Tuesday's New York Post a profile on butcher Jimmy Prince, who has been at the Major Prime Meat Market on Mermaid for almost sixty years. The article describes him as:

a 76-year-old in a tie and an apron with a preturnaturally boyish glow. A platonic version of the old-school shopkeeper who knows everyone's name, he seems constitutionally incapable of completing an interaction without a smile, a quip, a treat for a child or an inquiry after someone's sister.

It's great to see the Post taking the time and space to recognize a classic Coney Island character. The article also describes Prince as, "one of the now-reviving neighborhood's biggest boosters, full of hope for its future." Anyone who has seen the museum that Prince has made of his store window, or heard his encouraging words at this month's Community Information Sessions, knows that this is true.


photo courtesy of the NY Post
- post by Ben Nadler

Coney Events: Coney Island Photo Show

A new show from photographer Anna Sawaryn - whose past projects have included pinhole images of the East Village- will be dedicated entirely to her Coney Island photographs. These color photos of the amusement area have a hazy, timeless quality which is quite captivating, and well worth checking out. The show will be up for the first half of February at the 4th Street Photo Gallery in the East Village.

Coney Island Through The Invisible Lens
Show: Feb. 2 -15
Opening: Feb. 3, 2-6 p.m
at the 4th Street Photo Gallery
67 East 4th Street, New York, NY

- post by Ben Nadler

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Will The City Find Investors?

The New York Post has reported that, according to court documents, "Developer Bruce Ratner is running into trouble securing funding for his controversial $4 billion Atlantic Yards project."

In the end, Ratner may have more to fear from the US's slumping economy than he does from activists like
Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn.

The city's plan for Coney Island is very different from Ratner's plan for Atlantic Yards, particularly in terms of regard for the surrounding communities. Both plans are the same, though, in that they are large, ambitious projects, which will require a lot of private investment.

Considering the New York City housing market, and the continued gentrification of Brooklyn, there won't be any shortage in anytime soon of investors willing to invest in new condo buildings. There is, however, apparently, a shortage of investors willing to invest in massive commercial-residential- sports arena complexes.

Let's hope that there isn't a shortage of developers willing to invest in amusement parks.

Atlantic Yards' Financial Foundation Crumbling [Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn]
Lawsuits and Recession Hobbling Atlantic Yards Project [Gothamist]

- post by Ben Nadler

Thor Watch

In addition to their holdings in Coney Island, Thor Equities has their fingers in a lot of properties throughout the city (and country, for that matter). The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports on a recent Thor acquisition in Bay Ridge:

The lot at 1752 Shore PKWY in Bay Ridge was recently purchased for $10 million by Thor Shore Parkway Developers, LLC., reports Property Shark. The industrial location, a bus lot, is huge, at 10,400 square feet. However, it is a prime spot near Drier Offerman Park, which is getting a $50 million makeover, and the Ceasar's Bay shopping strip, which is home to Best Bay, Kohls, Toys R Us and Modells. It's also close to Coney Island. Bonnie Heights Realty Corp. sold the property to Thor Shore Parkway Developers, LC.

Calls to Thor about their intentions with the property were unanswered as of press time.

There has been a lot of speculation on the Coney Island USA message board that Thor's ultimate goal is to build a big-box retail store on the lot (which is currently only zoned for heavy industry). This would certainly be in line with Thor's general strategy of buying up large pieces of land, then sitting on them until they are rezoned for more profitable usages.

Real Estate Round-Up: January 28, 2008 [Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Thor's shore parkway lot? [Coney Island USA Message Board]

- post by Ben Nadler

Community Board Meeting This Wednesday

Community Board 13- which serves Coney Island, as well as Brighton Beach, Bensonhurst, Gravesend and Seagate- will be holding its monthly meeting this Wednesday.

While those who are interested in the redevelopment of Coney Island will do better to attend next month's
Public Scoping Meeting, community board meeting's are still a good way to keep on top of what's going on in the community

COMMUNITY BOARD #13 monthly meeting
Wed., Jan. 30

Coney Island Hospital
2nd floor Auditorium

- post by Ben Nadler

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Kruger Watch

It took almost a month for any information about the funding of State Senator Carl Kruger's disruption of the November 8th community information session to be revealed. Now, another month later, The New York Observer has printed some of the specific details:

the expenditure report for Mr. Kruger's campaign committee has gone online, and the final tally is in: it seems the senator paid $2,475 to bus company Dimino Express for the event, only a small portion of the $1.63 million he lists as having in his campaign account.

Cost for Disrupting a City Meeting on Coney Island: $2,475.00 [The New York Observer]

- post by Ben Nadler

Coney Island Images

There's something about Coney Island- particularly Coney Island in the winter- which never fails to inspire artists

Some of the best Coney images posted online recently include John Hartman's whimsical oil painting of
Astroland, and Cormac Phelan's eerily colored boardwalk photos.

Bleeding New York [Moon River]
New York '08 [Flickr (Cormac Phelan)]
Coney Island Creek no. 4 [Seriously Excited]

- post by Ben Nadler

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Tumultuous Time In Coney History

The 1960's and 1970's were a time of shifting demographics- and resulting tensions- for Coney Island.

Cathy Furiani- who writes the blog
Second Half - took Martin Luther King Day as an opportunity to talk about her own experiences as a child growing up in Coney Island during those troubled times:

MLK was very much in the news then, and the message he was spreading was very much on every one's lips. I attended elementary school in Coney Island for only 1st and 6th grade. In between they bussed us to Brighton Beach. When that stopped in 6th grade, I became the minority in P.S.288 in Coney Island. In fact, I was the only girl with light skin in my 6th grade class. For junior high they bussed us again to Seth Low in Bay Ridge. It was the time of racial tension and taking action and on the second day of junior high the bigger kids in Bay Ridge attacked my school bus and turned it on its side. They didn't want us in their neighborhood. The third day of junior high I started taking the city bus to Reynolds in Sheepshead Bay. I went to that school until we left Coney Island and moved to Staten Island as part of the big migration over the Verrazano Bridge.

Having a Dream [Second Half]

- post by Ben Nadler

Neil Diamond: A Native Son

According to The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, superstar singer/ songwriter Neil Diamond was born 66 years ago yesterday, right here in Coney Island.

The Eagle article mentions that Diamond attended Erasmus Hall High School in Flatbush at the same time as Barbra Streisand. But according to
his Wikipedia entry, Neil also attended Coney's Lincoln High for a while.

Happy Birthday Neil!

On This Day in History: January 24- A Boy Looked Out on 'Brooklyn Roads' [Brooklyn Daily Eagle]

- post by
Ben Nadler

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New Album From Former Coney Freakshow Performer

Singer and instrumentalist Baby Dee's new album, 'Safe Inside the Day', has just been released by the label Drag City.

According to an
NPR interview Dee gave to promote the new record, she has worked as a street musician, a church musician, and as a Coney Island sideshow performer:

"I was the Bilateral Hermaphrodite. I worked in circuses, like the Bindlestiff circus [and] the Kamikaze Freak Show."

Streaming versions of two of the tracks from the album can be found on the
NPR website.

Unclassifiable Musician Baby Dee Is Now 'Safe' [National Public Radio]

- post by Ben Nadler

This is New York City?

Last year, the Bloomberg administration launched 'This is New York City,' an international marketing campaign geared at bringing more tourist dollars to the city.

City Rag points out, those of us who live here never actually get to see how the City is presented in these ads. Luckily for us, the ad (like everything else) can be viewed on You Tube.

This Is New York City

The ad is surprisingly bizarre. New York is presented inaccurately, offensively, and very charmingly as a goofy cartoon land.

Coney Island appears at the 20 second mark, and features what appear to be giant flying hotdogs with passenger cars dangling below them floating past the wonder wheel.

This is New York City [You Tube (thisisnewyorkcity)]
New York City, Just Like Disney World [City Rag]

- post by Ben Nadler

Chuck D Lauds Starbury's Coney Commitment

These days, Knicks star Stephon Marbury is almost more famous for being from Coney Island and making affordable shoes than he is for playing basketball. Hopefully, Marbury will get back on the court soon. In the meantime, he will have to settle for being praised by rap legend Chuck D (of Public Enemy fame) for his commitment to his old neighborhood. In a recent interview with the sports blog, The Starting Five, Chuck held Marbury up as the epitome of a public figure:

Stephon Marbury–albeit in the middle of having a bad season and also dealing with the unfortunate passing of his father–has made more sacrifices in the past couple of years than many athletes I've heard of. He provides affordable gear and went into the Coney Island area and bought up all the barber shops so kids can get free hair cuts.

I've never heard anything as incredible as that. Stephon Marbury can walk threw Coney Island and has an aura. People know he's looked out. Nobody will touch him in the hood.

The Chuck D of Public Enemy Interview: Soul and Sports Part 1 [The Starting Five]

- post by Ben Nadler

Don't Have a Cow, Man!

100 Years Ago Today - a blog which posts hundred year old newspaper articles- has provided us with a 1908 account of rare heroism from one of Coney Island's finest:

Yesterday afternoon, a series of alarm whistles went off from trains of the Culver line on the Brooklyn Rapid Transit. Policeman Matthew Bomgard of the Coney Island force heard the alarms and hustled over toward Avenue U to see what the problem was. He found two Manhattan-bound trains stopped. A group of frustrated train employees was gathered in front of the lead train – clustered around a COW who was lying across the tracks, "comfortably chewing her cud," as today's New York Times reports. For the past 20 minutes, the train employees had tried to move the cow. "They had pulled, kicked and beaten without effect. They had even tried twisting the tail," the Times says.

Read the rest of the story here.


- post by Ben Nadler

Monday, January 21, 2008

Capone's Coney Connection

The Brooklyn Today section of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle has one again provided a fascinating piece of Coney Island historical trivia. According to the Eagle, Capone "worked for mobster Frankie Yale at Yale's Coney Island restaurant, and it was there that he committed his first murder."

Further research shows that the restaurant in question was the Harvard Inn, and that it was at the Harvard Inn that Capone received the facial the scars which earned him the lifelong nickname 'Scarface.'

According to the website,
My Al Capone Museum, "The Harvard inn was a two story building situated on Seaside Walk, between the Bowery and the Beach at Coney Island. The Harvard Inn was destroyed by fire at 2:30 Am on
January 24,1925."

Brooklyn Today: Thursday, January 17, 2008 [Brooklyn Daily Eagle]
Frankie Yale [My Al Capone Museum]

- post by Ben Nadler

Coney Island Videos

A plethora of Coney Island videos have been posted online over the past few days. They range from freak show performances, to a Coney installment of a city wide time lapse project, to You Tube user fotinu's fantastic 8mm film footage of opening day at Coney Island this past April.

Coney Island Opening Day 2007 [You Tube (fotinus)]
Coney Island3 [You Tube (tapthat2012)]
fire eater breather [You Tube (mrkindt)]
sword swallower [You Tube (mrkindt)]
The Truth Is Timelapse Coney Island 2006 [ (Innomind)]

- post by Ben Nadler

Friday, January 18, 2008

Coney Mention in Bloomberg's State of City Address

In his 2008 State of the City Address, Bloomberg reiterated his commitment to revitalizing Coney Island:

with our partners in City and State government, we'll work to bring the magic back to America's first playground: Coney Island. This is New York City. We can't lose it!

The mention came in the context of the discussion of the many areas which the city is rezoning in anticipation of redevelopment, including the South Bronx, 125th Street in Manhattan, St. George on Staten Island, and Willets Point in Queens.

Mayor Bloomberg's 2008 State of the City Address [New York Times]

- post by Ben Nadler

M.A. Bluestone, the Doctor of Old Coney Island

Once again, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle has provided us with a glimpse into Coney Island's past. This time, the time capsule comes in the form of an essay by retired Brooklyn Heights doctor, Charles M. Plotz, about his uncle Dr. M.A. 'Moe' Bluestone, who practiced medicine out of an office on Surf Avenue and West 12th for some three decades.

It sounds like Dr. Bluestone was a true Coney Island classic:
He was a lifelong (though hardly celibate) bachelor whose constant companion was a chow-chow dog named Tootsie. There were at least three successive Tootsies. Moe seldom traveled but had a regular pinochle game with a large group of male friends. His friendly personality, medical knowledge and ready availability made him the physician for the entire area. […]

He took care of many of the "freaks," some of whom lived in the area all year. Over
the years I got to know the "fat lady," Lincoln the "strong man," the "rubber man" and many others.

- post by Ben Nadler

Thursday, January 17, 2008

More On Public Scoping Meeting

As we already know - Lynn Kelly, President of the Coney Island Development Corporation, has sent out this letter detailing the next step in the lengthy process of rezoning Coney Island's amusement area. Copies of the official notice (in English, Russian, and Spanish) can be found on the CIDC's website. This meeting will be a more formal and technical event than the recent community information sessions, with the less opportunity for community input. Nonetheless, its still a good opportunity to keep informed about what's going on.

Dear Residents and Friends of Coney Island,

As you may know, the Coney Island Development Corporation (CIDC) and the New York City Department of City Planning held three public information sessions last week to discuss the City's proposed rezoning framework for the Coney Island amusement area. (Detailed information regarding the rezoning plan is available at and at Just as community participation was integral to developing the CIDC's 2005 Strategic Plan, so too has recent input received from the community been key in informing the overall planning process.

In tandem with our community outreach efforts, we are also pursuing a detailed environmental analysis of the impacts of the proposed rezoning, in accordance with all regulatory requirements. The City has now completed the Environmental Assessment Statement (EAS) as part of the City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) process, as well as a Scope of Work for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The lead agency has issued a positive declaration and notice of scoping, here attached for your information. All of these documents can be found on the CIDC website at or on the website of Office of Environmental Coordination at If you would like a printed copy of these documents, please send us a request by phone or email.

As a next step in the environmental review process, a public scoping meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 13, 2008, 6pm, at Lincoln High School, 2800 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, NY, to hear comments from the public regarding the proposed scope of work for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Coney Island rezoning. Written comments will also be accepted through Friday, February 29th, 2008, as further detailed in the official scoping documents.

I encourage your participation in this important step of the public process. Thank you for your continued interest in Coney Island, and should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at 212-312-4233 or

Lynn Kelly

Public Scoping Meeting
Wednesday, February 13
6 pm
Lincoln High School
2800 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn, New York

- post by Ben Nadler

The Brooklyn Museum's Guide To Amusement Parks

The Brooklyn Museum continues to provide great online content about Coney Island, in supplement to their ongoing 'Goodbye Coney Island' photography exhibit.

Patrick Anselm's last posting on Coney Island history for the Brooklyn Museums blog followed the entertainment history of Coney from 1829 up through 1896. In his new posting, Steeplechase, Luna Park, and Dreamland, Anselm picks up where he left off, starting with the creation of Steeplechase park by George Tilyou in 1897.

Steeplechase, Luna Park, and Dreamland [Brooklyn Museum]

- post by Ben Nadler

Reality TV Hits Coney Island

The first four mini-episodes of 'Born Ready'- an online reality show which follows Lincoln High basketball star Lance Stephenson and his family- are now up on Lance seems like a nice kid, and hopefully everything will work out for him and his supportive family. That being said, it doesn't seem entirely necessary or healthy to place this level of hype and scrutiny onto a seventeen year old kid.

Episode 3, 'Coney Island', focuses on Lance's neighborhood. The way Coney Island is presented walks a thin line between pointing out the situations and dangers kids growing up in Coney Island face, and just sensationalizing the area's violence. 'Born Ready' seems interested in perpetuating the idea that inner city neighborhoods are places to be abandoned, and that the only way for young black males to do this is through sports. While nobody can fault Lance for wanting to use his skills to help himself and his family get ahead, we viewers need to be asking ourselves what we can do to make our cities' neighborhoods better, and what we can do to provide opportunities to help economically disadvantaged young men become educated, rather than just buying into the mythology of athletes rising from the ashes of ghettos.

- post by
Ben Nadler

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Coney Rezoning Process Begins With Public Scoping Meet

The public is encouraged to make comments on the scoping document which puts in place the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). This important meeting is required as part of the public approval for the very intricate process of the city's rezoning plan and proposal. The city has provided a few important planning documents here.

An emailed letter from president of the CIDC, Lynn Kelly announces the public scoping meeting which will take place Wednesday, February 13, 2008, 6pm, at Lincoln High School, 2800 Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn.

Lynn Kelly writes:

In tandem with our community outreach efforts, we are also pursuing a detailed environmental analysis of the impacts of the proposed rezoning, in accordance with all regulatory requirements. The City has now completed the Environmental Assessment Statement (EAS) as part of the City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) process, as well as a Scope of Work for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The lead agency has issued a positive declaration and notice of scoping, here attached for your information. All of these documents can be found on the CIDC website at or on the website of Office of Environmental Coordination at If you would like a printed copy of these documents, please send us a request by phone or email.
Though this process may be anything but simple, David Gratt simplifies this scoping meeting and writes on the CIUSA board:

What is scoping? It's the process that sets the boundaries of the EIS (Environmental Impact Statement). You can read more about that here and download the scoping document pdf here).

For good or for evil, this process is very strictly regulated by a handbook, so there's not a lot of leeway. But everyone should take a look.

The meeting on the 13th is to make comments on the scoping document.
What is of concern with the plan's process is its time span of completion. And as The Gowanus Lounge points:

The documents lay out the details of the zoning changes. Among the interesting tidbits on the pages we skimmed is an estimate that the projects will start in 2009 and won't be completed until 2019. What is called the "reasonable worst case development scenario" is interesting. This is what would happen if all the development allowed by he rezoning were maxed out: 1.4 million square feet of entertainment, retail and enclosed amusements, 4,800 apartments and between 6,300 and 8,300 parking spaces including replacements for the 1,100 that would be lost next to KeySpan Park.
It would be interesting to see how the response by the community can actually make a difference in the entire process.

Coney Island Rezoning Project: Draft Scope and Notice of Public Scoping Meeting [NYC Office of Environmental Coordination -]
Coney Island #2: Rezoning Process Begins, 2019 Completion Date [The Gowanus Lounge]

The discussion can be followed on the
CIUSA board.

Is This Plan Just a Load of Garbage?

The city is proposing to build a new waste transfer station on Gravesend Bay, to facilitate the removal of trash from Brooklyn by barge.

The ever alarmist (and punning) New York Post focused on the possibility that:
A dredging plan to create a Brooklyn waterfront waste-transfer station could have explosive repercussions, as it could set off anti-aircraft shells lost by the military in Gravesend Bay over 50 years ago.
The Post attributes this concern to Assemblyman William Colton. The Daily News,on the other hand, gave space to some of Colton's (slightly) less sensational concerns:
"Putting a waste station at this site would dredge up 30 years of toxins to the surface," said Assemblyman William Colton (D-Bensonhurst). "To take such a blatantly hazardous path is unthinkable." […]
Colton goes on to explain that the site in question is the former site of the Southwest Brooklyn Incinerator. The dredging which would be necessary to accommodate the new trash barges would stir up waste from the incinerator's 30 year tenure and "release lead, PCBs, mercury, toxic ash and other contaminants into the water."

The Daily News also reported the city's counter argument:
the Sanitation Department, which would operate the new facility, has said the construction would be safe and that any impact from dredging up the dirt would be immediately handled before it could be released into the community.
The placement of sanitation facilities is a classic 'not in my backyard' issue, and it's important to avoid that kind of knee jerk reaction. Nonetheless, there seem to be some very real public health concerns here. Furthermore, it's hard to shake the feeling that this city plan could be counterproductive to another of the city's plans.

As an anonymous commenter on Curbed put it:
i will be so happy to swim in Coney Island once this plan is up and ready! I cant wait for the development of Coney and the sewage that will follow!!!!

Brooklyn Bombshell [New York Post]
Fear over Gravesend waste station plan [Daily News]
Southern Brooklyn Trash Plan Could Be the Bomb [Curbed]

Image courtesy of Curbed

- post by Ben Nadler

When Dodgers Roamed the Boardwalk

Legendary Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Johnny Podres died this past Sunday at the age of 75. Fellow Dodger Tommy Lasorda marked Podres' passing on his blog, Tommy Lasorda's World (which is hosted on the Major League Baseball website), by sharing some memories of the times he and Podres spent hustling the pitching games on the Coney Island boardwalk:

Don Zimmer, Johnny Podres and I went to Coney Island on Easter Sunday. There was a little kid there and he said, "Hey mister, can you win me one of those dolls?"

So Zimmer took three shots and won the kid a giant, stuffed poodle.

And that's when we started.

Read the rest of the charming story here.

Remembering Johnny Podres [Tommy Lasorda's World]
Johnny Podres, Dodger Who Wouldn't Wait Until Next Year [Gothamist]

- post by Ben Nadler

The Daily News Shows The Cyclone Some Love

Image from NY Daily News

New York Daily News included an ode to the Cyclone penned by staff writer Joyce Shelby. This article quotes from a previous Daily News article, which ran last year on the Cycone's 80th birthday. It is unclear why the Daily News chose to run another Cyclone write up now. Maybe they just wanted to let everyone know that, "It's still the scariest 1 minute and 50 seconds in town." Maybe they wanted to quell any redevelopment related anxiety:

The future of Coney Island may be up in the air, but those who ride the Cyclone have nothing to fear. The beloved ride is safe. It got National Historic Landmark status in 1991, when it turned 64.
Or maybe, like so many others (including the
American Coaster Enthusiasts), the Daily News just really loves the Cyclone.

Over the hill in the best way [Daily News]
- post by Ben Nadler

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Nathan's Famous Sued by Vegetarians

Nathan's Famous is being sued Northern Soy - an upstate New York tofu company- for trademark infringement. The suit alleges that Nathan's has used the trademarked term 'not dog' without permission. This seems to have been bigger news upstate than down here; The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle is apparently the only paper to have reported the story:
Nathan's Famous, based in Westbury on Long Island, is selling hotdog-like products under the Not Dogs trademark, according to the complaint. The case was filed Jan. 4 in federal court in Central Islip, Suffolk County.

A Northern Soy customer spotted the Not Dog name on a Nathan's Famous dog in New York City, said Stephen B. Salai, a lawyer for Harter Secrest & Emery in Rochester who is representing Northern Soy.

"They don't have the right to take the Not Dog name from Northern Soy," Salai said. […]

Nathan's Famous officials have said they aren't infringing because they actually sell Northern Soy's Not Dogs.
Luckily, it sounds like the conflict is going to be resolved amicably. Salai said that, "Nathan's has been cooperative since we filed our complaint," and that he is confident the case can be settled without going to trial.

The important thing to remember, in all of this, is that we are very lucky to live in a world where everybody- even vegetarians- can experience the pleasure of enjoying a Nathan's hot dog on the boardwalk.

Not Dog suit pits Chili firm against Nathan's [Rochester Democrat and Chronicle]

- post by Ben Nadler

Hello, Goodbye

Last month, Kinetic Carnival reported on 'Goodbye Coney Island,' a photography exhibit currently taking place at the Brooklyn Museum. The exhibit itself features photographs from the Museum's own collection, but a tie-in Flickr group was established as a way to involve the public. The 'Goodbye Coney Island' Flickr group now has 50 members, some of whom have posted some fantastic Coney photographs.

Goodbye Coney Island [Flickr]

- post by Ben Nadler

Monday, January 14, 2008

Kruger Milks It For All It's Worth

A copy of a mailer sent by State Senator Carl Kruger to his constituents has been posted on the Coney Island USA message board vigilant user Capt_Nemo. The 'year in review' mailer lists Kruger's disruption of the Nov. 8th community information session as "Residents Unify vs. CI Plan," and describes it as a victory 'scored' by Kruger. Considering that the incident seemed like a campaign stunt all along, it's not surprising to see that Kruger is now using it in campaign materials.
- post by Ben Nadler