Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Beyond Coney: Video Compilation Of Superstorm Sandy

New York is only beginning to assess the damage, the clean up, and all the repair work ahead. This was one of the worst storms in our recent history.  Here is a compilation of videos that were posted on YouTube in the last couple of days titled or tagged with Sandy hurricane and storm.  Granted, some posters uploaded videos that may not actually be from Sandy but some were hard to tell for sure. It seems like palm trees are in the background in one clip, but we took the liberty to let one pass for creative expression.  All YouTube posters have been credited at the end of video.

Hurricane Sandy - the superstorm!  A YouTube Compilation

Description: October 28 -30, 2012, the North Eastern United States experienced one of the worst storms in history.  This is a compilation of YouTube videos about the storm that wreaked havoc on the north eastern United States.

Posted by: Omar Robau [YouTube]
A KinetOscope presentation

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Coney Island's Sandy Aftermath Photos

Photo by Jim McDonnell - The Shore Theater
In the aftermath of monster storm Hurricane Sandy, some brave individuals headed out to help and observe the destruction.  Coney Island photographer, Jim McDonnell, took these devastating images (facebook) of the destruction left by this Frankenstorm.  Jim McDonnell's photos of the Sandy aftermath can be seen on his facebook photo album entitled The Morning after Sandy in Coney Island.

The Shore Theater signage (above) is destroyed and most likely never to be replaced since the future of the theater is still unsure. And like the image in the "Planet of the Apes" of the Statue of Liberty's head broken off and stranded far from its perch, this giant hamburger (below) will spark the same feeling to anyone who knows Coney Island well.

Photo by Jim McDonnell - burger boy's burger

And the new Grimaldi's pizza restaurant (below) is in shambles.  It was bashed in by Hurricane Sandy pulling down the massive spider webs that were intricately placed to decorate the restaruant for Halloween.

Photo by Jim McDonnell - Grimaldi's Pizza

And in one image (below) what is seen in other photos, seems to the mark where the water rose up to.

Photo by Jim McDonnell - Coney Island mural

All photos courtesy of Jim McDonnell. See all his photos on his facebook here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Coney Events: A Political Wax Work

Poster by Jason Lonon
Is it Halloween already, because there is a creep in the air.  Is that patriotism I smell or are they rubbing wax on this election because one candidate has the look of latex while the other is doing a good impersonation of a Disney animatronic president.  Yet, I feel the ghosts of dead presidents are awakening only to wreak havoc on the holiday before the election – or perhaps the election itselfWhich brings me to what I’m really referring to.  Presidential hopeful or not, a demented tour of the old Presidential Wax Works could prove quite rewarding or simply quite creepy.  Don’t take it from me, take it from the work's 70’s old night watchman.  But be warned: Please leave your sanity at the door.

The last leg of Dirty Works At The Wax Works starts tomorrow, Wednesday, 24th 2012!

Photos by Laure Leber
As the Coney Island USA’s Creepshow at the Freakshow puts it:
DIRTY WORK AT THE WAX WORKS is a demented story told by the 1970's Night Watchman of Coney Island's infamous Presidential Wax Works. If you take his after hours, crackpipe smoking, hallucinated tour though the Hall of Presidents, don't be too shocked or offended, if you hear excessive swearing and encounter excessive graphic violence including:  

A Shooting Gallery Re-Enactment of the Kennedy assassination.

Zombies eating Richard Nixon's brain and a Funeral interrupted by a Booger hanging off of George Washington's nose.

DIRTY WORK AT THE WAX WORKS is October's perfect mash-up of Halloween Horror & Horrifying Presidents!

Vote for our Creepiest Carny Ever!
Or Vote for our League of Zombie Fighting Creepshow Commanders in Chief!
Vote for the Worst Presidents and Best Halloween Ever!

Come see what the
New York Press called "not only the best and wildest haunted house in town, but the smartest as well."

Dates and Times: Show starts on the hour. Click date, to buy tickets in advance. All tickets are $10 in
advance or at the door. Advance purchase recommended.

Wednesday, October 24,
6pm - Midnight (last ticket sold at 11pm)
Thursday, October 25,
6pm - Midnight (last ticket sold at 11pm)
Friday, October 26,
6pm - Midnight (last ticket sold at 11pm)
Saturday, October 27,
6pm - Midnight (last ticket sold at 11pm)
Sunday, October 28,
6pm - Midnight (last ticket sold at 11pm)
Monday, October 29,
6pm - Midnight (last ticket sold at 11pm)
Tuesday, October 30,
6pm - Midnight (last ticket sold at 11pm)
Wednesday, October 31,
Halloween!, 6pm - Midnight (last ticket sold at 11pm)

Under 16 must be accompanied by parent. No one under 10 will be admitted!

Click here for the 2012 Press Release.

See a Fox News NY piece, of the 2008 version of this script, by clicking here.

Creepshow At The Freakshow!

Dirty Work At The Wax Works

October 24-31, All Tickets $10 In Advance Or At The Door
Coney Island USA
1208 Surf Ave.

Sideshows By The Seashore  (between Stillwell Ave. and West 12th Street)
Brooklyn, NY 11224
Phone: 718-372-5159
By Subway - D, N, F, Q to Stillwell Ave. - Coney Island

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

World Premiere Screening Of “Zipper” At NYC’s Doc Festival

Zipper ride in February 2007
It’s been five years since the Zipper ride in Coney Island was dismantled, strapped on a tuck bed and whizzed along Surf Avenue,  passing in front of me while I was staring out from the bar at the old Surf & Turf Grill.  The ride was leaving Coney Island for good and on its way to Honduras.  The story behind the dizzying carnival ride is finally told.  It’s a 77 minute documentary which will premiere at Doc NYC: New York's Documentary Festival. The film goes behind the scenes of the greedy battle to grab Coney Island’s fun and merriment right from under it.  And in the heart of this story is the Zipper, a carnival contraption that is almost forty years old and, at the time, run by operator Eddie Miranda.  As a result of his rented lot being swiped away by a gluttonous real estate tycoon, Miranda is forced to zip up and sell.  Though the doc at one point follows the ride to its final destination at a seaside town in Honduras, the film candidly examines the cast of characters from the developer to the city officials who together create a power struggle over the future of the world-famous amusement destination.
The Zipper: Coney Island’s Last Wild Ride, with its log line; ‘A small-time ride operator and his beloved carnival contraption become casualties in the battle over the future of Coney Island’, is directed by Amy Nicholson.  Despite the digital age, the filmmaker chose to shoot in 16mm.  The film’s press kit describes the reason for film.  “shooting on film was essential in reproducing the analogue feeling of a place like Coney Island.  In early production meetings, the discussion always centered around capturing the essence of Coney Island’s assault on the senses.  We used the opening of Dog Day Afternoon as our inspiration. Everyone has seen Coney Island in pictures and on film; we wanted the audience to have the experience.”  In addition, some of the time lapse segments in the film were shot with the Canon 5D.  The film’s main cinematographer was Jerry Risius.

["Zipper: Coney Island's Last Wild Ride" Trailer]

Though, Coney Island as an amusement destination seems saved, for now, the film takes us back to a point where its future was in limbo. It helps to remind us that, like the Zipper, it can suddenly teeter back to something we didn’t expect. The biggest part of Coney’s saving grace has been the shiny new Luna Park by Zamperla, but as Amusing the Zillion blog points out, the lease for Luna Park is up in 2020. and at that point the City plans to issue an RFP for a permanent amusement operator.  And with talks resurfacing of casinos coming to New York by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who mentioned in an article, when referring to a possible casino at the redevelopment of Willets Point, the possibility of even casinos in Coney Island, Brooklyn. That could have gambling overshadow the amusements. Do we really want another Atlantic City here? So, this film’s fortunate existence helps to keep us reminded of how things could’ve gone or could still go.

We hope the Zipper is being kept up to par down in Central America.  Though it is accompanied by its old Coney mate, The Spider ride, the Zipper has been seen breaking down, according to the YouTube video below.  Riders are seen getting out and climbing down off the ride.

But as Amy Nicholson tells Kinetic Carnival in an email, the people who now own it are the nicest people ever.  “I have checked with one of the sons who I keep in touch with on Facebook and he says the Zipper is still going strong”, she writes.  The folks down in Honduras are happy to have such relics from Coney Island.  They told Nicholson that the rides draw huge crowds every time.

The film’s trailer projects a fascinating experience, whether you are enamored with Coney Island or not.  It feels, to me, that the music and the way it observes its characters, strikes the very chord of what Coney Island is now, has been, and will always be; a place where you can’t get too serious because at the heart, it’s all fun and games.

“Zipper: Coney Island’s Last Wild Ride”, will be celebrating its world premiere at
9:30 PM, Saturday. Nov. 10, 2012 - SVA – (Buy Tickets) and at
3:00 PM, Thursday. Nov. 15, 2012 - IFC Center – (Buy Tickets)

Amy Nicholson is expected to attend

For detailed information about its festival screenings visit: 

Go for a web-ride on the official site at:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Amos Wengler's New Song For A New Coney "Welcome To Coney Island"

Songwriter, Amos Wengler
["Welcome To Coney Island" Music Video below]

On my recent trip to New York I met up with my Coney Island friend Mr. Amos Wengler, who told me he was excited about his new song for the new Coney Island.  With not much preparation I got my field recorder and Amos played his song with heart and soul.  I found it very catchy.  For the rest of my stay and on my way back home I couldn't get it out of my head.  But I was pleased. 
He asked if I could videotape it.  I wasn’t much prepared but taped him and thought I’d figure it out when I get back.  I didn’t quite know exactly what to do with the little footage and field recorded song that I now had with me of Wengler’s new pride and joy, but a promise is a promise.

Amos is sort of a Coney Island Santa Clause in a lifeguard uniform.  Though his usual attire is more the shorts and sandals garb with a guitar strapped over his shoulder, I asked Amos how he comes up with a song and he told me that the title usually pops in his head first, then he plays around with it for a while until 'it' happens.  “I grab the guitar and it just sort of comes out”, he said.  “And I’m kind of surprised myself and I say ‘hey!’ how did I do that”, he adds with wonder and a proud grin under his cotton candy beard.  He says that's the way it usually works for him.  He gets inspired by the title.  He keeps a recorder nearby for when it happens.

Amos Wengler has been writing songs since he was sixteen, about the time that he was a lifeguard on Bay 12 in 1965 at Coney Island.

When I asked him what keeps in Coney Island, he chuckles and says he’s stuck here.  But he does find himself in Coney because he loves the atmosphere and the ocean, including the many people he knows here. They’re his friends.  He feels if he goes someplace else, he’d be lost.

Amos Wengler takes part in many Coney Island events including the famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.  He is a Coney Island Polar Bear and has sort of been the music backdrop creator for many Coney Island popular festivities.  He has songs for the Mermaid Parade, The Hot Dog Eating Contest, The Polar Bears, and now for the New Coney Island. He hopes this one will catch on.  He also hopes to record the song in a studio with accompaniment and arrangements.

Like many denizens of Coney Island, Amos also feared the impending doom for Coney’s amusement district.  But the fear is over and amusements are here to stay, proving that Coney Island is a rare survivor in the face of gentrification.  Though its make up seems gentrified it has always stood up for its principals.  Wengler gives a sigh of relief, for if it were for condos to rise at the footprints of the amusements, he would probably have no more songs in him to write about Coney Island.  “That would be a bummer, if it was all condos here, I would probably write an anti-condo song.  But for sure that would spoil it",  he says.

He’s excited about the new boardwalk with the new restaurants, the big new rides, the Scream Zone, Grimaldi’s Pizza, tattoo shops, and all the re-vamped stores.  “So, people are watching”, he adds.  Which will only make things grow further.  He said you see a lot more people here on the weekends...a lot more.  It would be interesting to see how this winter will look like.

I thanked Mr. Wengler for sharing his song with me and though it comes here in the form of a modest little music video in autumn, we both agree it will be catchy enough to be heard to next summer and beyond.  The New Coney Island needed a song and this is it.

"Welcome To Coney Island" by Amos Wengler [Acoustic Version]

Posted by Omar Robau (ConeyHOP)  [Youtube]

Disclaimer: This acoustic version of this song was recorded live with a high quality H4 Zoom Recorder, but still can not compare to a full studio recording.