History Day

Celebrate historic Coney Island at the 6th Annual History Day at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, Coney Island's oldest amusement park, and the Coney Island History Project. The free event will be held from 1-6 PM on Saturday, August 6. The rain date is August 7.

At 2:00 PM, Charles Denson, historian and director of the Coney Island History Project, will present the 2016 Coney Island Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The event will take place onstage at Dreamland Plaza, which is on West 12th Street at the Boardwalk as part of the History Day celebration.

Carol Hill Albert and Charles Denson at dedication of the Coney Island History Project Memory Booth on the Boardwalk, 2005.

A plaque honoring Carol Hill Albert and the late Jerry Albert, who founded the Coney Island History Project and the Coney Island Hall of Fame, which was originally along West 10th Street, will be dedicated on History Day.  The Alberts, who were owners of Astroland Park and longtime operators of the Cyclone Roller Coaster, founded the History Project in 2004 in memory of Astroland co-founder Dewey Albert. Ms. Albert will represent the Albert family.

The Hall of Fame honors architectural wonders as well as historical figures who were pioneers and visionaries whose creativity and ingenuity helped shape and define Coney Island.

This year’s Hall of Fame honorees in the architecture category are Coney Island’s landmark 1920 Wonder Wheel and the Riegelmann Boardwalk, which opened in 1923, and is currently under consideration for Scenic Landmark designation by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The Vourderis family, who have owned and operated the Wheel for more than three decades, will accept the plaque for the Wheel. Rob Burstein, President of the Coney-Boardwalk Alliance, will represent the Boardwalk.

Also being honored this year is Gargiulo's Restaurant, which opened in 1907, making it the oldest restaurant in Coney Island. The four Russo brothers, Nino, Ralph, Michael and Victor, bought the business from the Gargiulo family in 1965 and continued the fine Neapolitan tradition that made the establishment the classiest Coney Island destination for special events and fine meals. Gargiulo's is the last vestige of the many fine restaurants that were once sprinkled along the four blocks of Coney's "Little Italy" section. The Russo family will be represented by Nino Russo.

Workers at William F. Mangels shop on West 8th Street in Coney Island. The building is now the Department of Motor Vehicles. Photo © Coney Island History Project Collection.

The Coney Island Hall of Fame will also pay tribute to a group of historical figures who were an important and creative part of Coney Island that has completely disappeared. We call them “The Wizards of 8th Street.”

"Few people realize that for nearly a century Coney Island’s West 8th Street, between Surf Avenue and Neptune Avenue, served as the amusement manufacturing capital of the world,” said historian and Coney Island History Project director Charles Denson.

“This small stretch of West 8th Street was the home to the Illions Carousel factory, the Mangels amusement factory, and Pinto Brothers amusement factory as well as the Bonomo candy factory. Supporting roles were played by an assortment of independent tinsmiths, wood carvers, sign painters and banner painters, blacksmiths, electricians, welders, carpenters, machine shops, restaurant supply stores, and a lumberyard. Behind the establishments was a railroad freight yard to deliver raw materials and warehouses to store them. West 8th is where visionaries invented, perfected and manufactured some of the world’s most famous amusements. It was also a training ground for amusement designers who apprenticed there and went on to build their own amusement companies.”

Business card for West 8th Street's Peluso Machine and Iron Works, which made replacement parts for rides until 1966. Photo © Coney Island History Project Collection.

Joining the Coney Island Hall of Fame ceremony will be descendants of some of the prominent families who worked or lived on West 8th Street.

The Pinto Brothers, amusement ride manufacturers and one-time owners of the Cyclone Roller Coaster, are represented by the Kathryn Squitieri family.

The Kargman brothers Alex and Morris were talented old-world craftsman who could repair anything in Coney Island. They are represented by grandson Steve Kargman and granddaughter Calli Eve Kargman Bellitti.

Ride inventor and amusement manufacturer William F. Mangels emigrated from Germany in 1883 at age sixteen and by 1886 had a small machine shop in Coney Island where he made cast-iron targets for shooting galleries. A trio of rides manufactured by Mangels --the B&B Carousell and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park’s Fire Engine and Pony Cart rides- are still in operation in Coney Island. He is represented by great-granddaughter Lisa Mangels-Schaefer.

Machinist John Rea left Italy and began working at Peluso Machine and Iron Works in 1947. The shop was responsible for creating replacement parts for countless rides in Coney Island. He bought the business, and operated it until 1966. His son, John Rea Jr., who was a Coney Island sign painter as a teenager and is now an advertising professional and adjunct professor at the School of Visual Arts, will represent the Rea family.

Joe Bonisgmore sitting in his go kart car ride on Surf Ave. at West 8th Street. Photo © Coney Island History Project Collection.

Sicilian immigrant Joe Bonsignore came to Coney Island in 1907 as a young man and wound up owning or being a partner in Coney’s largest businesses. He bought the L.A. Thompson Scenic railway and Stauch’s Baths. Joe also brought the Bobsled ride from the 1939-40 World’s Fair and moved it to Coney Island. His headquarters was on West 8th Street below the Thompson coaster. Joe’s son John raised his family in a home below the coaster and later bought and operated Silver’s Baths. Joe owned much of the property around West 8th Street but lost it to urban renewal in the 1950s. Charles Denson tells the Bonsignore family story in his book Wild Ride! A Coney Island Roller Coaster Family. The Bonsignore family will accept the plaque

The following activities are FREE throughout the day on History Day, from 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM:

On West 12th Street from the Coney Island History Project to the Boardwalk

A display of kiosks emblazoned with colorful banners of past Coney Island Hall of Fame honorees including George C. Tilyou, founder of Steeplechase Park; Dr. Martin Couney, inventor of the baby incubator; Marcus C. Illions, developer of the Coney Island style of carousel carving; and Lady Deborah Moody, who founded the town of Gravesend in 1645, becoming the first female landowner in the new world.

David Head Coney Island Hall of Fame Granville T Woods

David Head accepting plaque honoring Granville T. Woods at 2008 Coney Island Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Photo © Coney Island History Project Collection.

David Head will sign copies of his book on African-American inventor Granville T. Woods (1856-1910), who was inducted into the Coney Island Hall of Fame in 2008. Among Woods' patents was one for the world's first electric roller coaster, which was located in Coney Island more than a century ago. Mr. Head, a retired New York City transit worker and former chairman of the Black History Committee for TWU Local 100, was instrumental in having a Coney Island street across from Stillwell Avenue Terminal renamed "Granville T. Woods Way."

Parachute Literary Arts Poetry Making Station at 2015 It's My Estuary Day at Coney Island Creek. Photo © Amanda Deutch

Amanda Deutch, poet and founder of Parachute Literary Arts, will have a Poetry Making Station featuring vintage typewriters. Letterpress posters with Walt Whitman and Muriel Rukeyser's Coney Island poems will be for sale. Parachute is a community-based literary organization in Coney Island that creates site specific readings, writing workshops and poetry libraries.

Commendatore Aldo Mancusi, founder of the Enrico Caruso Museum of America, will play his hand-cranked band organ. Mr. Mancusi is a member of the Carousel Organ Association of America (COAA) and Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors Association (AMICA). Crank a tune and receive a certificate commemorating History Day!

Commendatore Aldo Mancusi performing at History Day. Photo © Coney Island History Project 

DJ Dan Kingman will play retro tunes and lead singalongs throughout the day.

Keep an eye out for our stiltwalker for free balloons and salt water taffy while supplies last.

At Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park and the Coney Island History Project

Dress in 1920s garb and get one Free Ride on the Wonder Wheel! The Wonder Wheel opens at 12:00 PM.

Walk inside the iconic 1960s Astroland Rocket, which returned to Coney Island in 2014 and has a new home beside the Wonder Wheel. Adjacent to the Rocket, see a special display of historic figures and signage from the park’s classic 1955 Spook-A-Rama dark ride.

          

At the Coney Island History Project, share and preserve your Coney Island memories by recording an interview for our Oral History Archive. View historic artifacts, photographs, maps, ephemera and film, and the special exhibit “The 50th Anniversary of Fred Trump’s Demolition of the Steeplechase Pavilion.”

Take free souvenir photos with old-timey cutouts at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park and with the Coney Island History Project's “Skully” from Coney’s Spookhouse and an original Steeplechase horse from the legendary ride that gave Steeplechase Park its name.

posted Jul 25th, 2016 in Events and tagged with History Day, Coney Island, Deno's Wonder Wheel Park,...

CreekWalk Designed and Created by Charles Denson

CreekWalk, A Walking Tour of Coney Island Creek, with Charles Denson of the Coney Island History Project

Saturday, July 16, 12:00 PM, Free. Meet at Coney Island History Project Table, City of Water Day at Kaiser Park

Explore the history of Coney Island Creek on a walking tour with historian Charles Denson, who has documented the Creek for over 40 years and is working on a book and film about the waterway.

In 2012, Denson designed and created CreekWalk, a series of informational plaques installed along the Creek and a self-guided walking tour brochure, with the support of the Catalyst Program of the Partnership for Parks. Ten additional markers will be unveiled on July 16 in a display at the Coney Island History Project Table. You may also pick up a free tour brochure.

This special walking tour is part of City of Water Day, a free day-long celebration of the world-class potential of the water that surrounds us and brings us together. A regional initiative of Waterfront Alliance, the neighborhood event at Kaiser Park on Coney Island Creek was organized by the Coney Island Beautification Project and features exhibits and activities of participating schools and organizations. 

More info: http://waterfrontalliance.org/2016/06/24/city-of-water-day-is-in-your-neighborhood

posted Jul 13th, 2016 in News and tagged with Coney Island, Walking Tour, CreekWalk,...

There was something that separated Fred C. Trump from the average greedy developer. It’s wasn’t the endless scandals that followed his every Coney Island project, and it wasn’t the misappropriation and theft of public funds that seemed to be his business model. Trump’s policy of discrimination in rentals and his political cronyism were just business as usual.

Two incidents stand out that as defining Trump’s personality. The first is well known and occurred when Trump was denied a zoning change to build his “Miami Beach- style” high-rises on the Steeplechase Park site. The frustrated developer threw a party and invited guests to vandalize the building by tossing objects through the stained glass façade of the Pavilion, knocking out the teeth of the enormous Steeplechase funny face, the smiling symbol that had brought joy to millions. This sad event was a vindictive and shameful act by a grown man behaving like a juvenile delinquent. It wasn’t business, — it was personal. The desecration of an icon and the breaking of glass as public spectacle revealed a twisted personality that was unusual for even the most hard-bitten developers.

The Steeplechase Face: Vandalized by Fred Trump, September 1966

In 1992 he was at it again. The city was about to begin a complete restoration of the defunct Parachute Jump, which had fallen into disrepair. Trump stepped in, uninvited, and offered to demolish the landmark for free. The man had no financial interest in the tower and nothing to gain by having it torn down. It was just another publicity stunt by a mean-spirited man. Trump reveled in gleeful malice.

Few people realize the influence that Fred Trump had over the transformation of Coney Island’s West End from a middle-class neighborhood to a burning slum during the late 1960s. His demolition of the Steeplechase Pavilion is now legendary, but his other scandalous Coney Island projects have largely gone unnoticed until now. Our new exhibit, which we planned long before the Trump name came up in national politics, illustrates the long-term effect that he had on Coney Island. Those of us who lived in Coney Island during the 1950s to 1970s were adversely impacted by the collaboration of Fred Trump and Robert Moses, the duo who ran roughshod over poor neighborhoods with a “slum clearance” program that was a gift to rich developers and a nightmare for the poor.

Every single Coney Island project that Fred Trump was involved in, from the 1940s throughout the 1960s, was touched by scandal, misappropriation of public funds, and political cronyism. The Beach Haven, Shore Haven, and Trump Village projects all led to allegations of impropriety and discrimination. There were federal hearings and investigations into Trump’s business practices, allegations of defrauding veterans in rental agreements, and charges of racism. Trump’s display of greed and avarice was unusual for a major developer. Unlike Robert Moses, who was known as the master builder, Trump was more of a master manipulator. Federal laws had to be changed to prevent the kind of nefarious schemes that Trump excelled in.

In 1948 Trump formed an organization of builders that partnered with Moses to gain massive building sites that were to be taken by eminent domain. The Trump Village site was one of those, as was the old Luna Park site. Trump lost the Luna site after he was blacklisted by the federal government because of his Federal Housing Authority scandal, a scheme where he overestimated his building costs and pocketed millions of dollars in public funds meant for veterans housing.

Nine hundred poor families were cleared from the Trump Village site and moved to the old bungalow colonies in Coney’s West End. The housing was substandard, and many people, mostly children, died in the fires caused by inadequate space heaters in buildings that were never meant for year-round use. The racial balance of what had been a diverse community was upended, and slumlords gained control of what had been a working-class neighborhood. Trump and his friends profited handsomely from this relocation scheme.

There are too many instances of Trumps perfidy to list in this account, but his pilfering is documented in great detail in our exhibit based on newspaper accounts and oral history interviews with people who knew Trump, confronted Trump, or were affected by him.

 

One of the strangest accounts in the exhibit is drawn from an oral history in my 2002 book, Coney Island: Lost and Found. It tells the story of how Trump met his match while dealing with an old-time Coney Islander who outsmarted him at every turn after he had leased the Steeplechase site. Trump knew what to do: he didn’t get mad at him; instead he tried to hire him.

In my many years of recording Coney Island oral histories, it’s surprising how many times Fred Trump’s name comes up, nearly always in a negative light. In 1999 I was recording an interview with Jerry Bianco, the former Brooklyn Navy Yard welder who built the Yellow Submarine on Coney Island Creek, when the Trump name popped up in an unexpected way. We were discussing the Parachute Jump, and Bianco stopped me and said, “ I had the contract on that.” I was surprised and asked him if he had been hired to restore it. “No,” he replied, “to tear it down.” He then revealed for the first time that in 1966 he had been approached by Fred Trump to demolish the venerated structure.

This revelation was a shock. I’d documented Bianco’s construction of the sub in 1969 and 1970 and knew that he had the skills to take down a big tower. I never realized how close we came to losing Coney’s greatest surviving landmark. This was one of the few times that Trump would not get his way, and I asked why the tower was still standing. Bianco told me that his bid of $10,000 was too high, and Trump had backed out of the deal. Bianco then described in detail how he would have done the job. Today, no thanks to Trump, the Parachute Jump is still standing. It’s been 50 years since Trump’s demolition of the Steeplechase Pavilion, and it’s taken the Coney Island community a half century to recover.

CONEY ISLAND, 1964: Fred Trump used his political connections to steal the Trump Village site from the United Housing Foundation (UHF). Trump Village, foreground, was completed in 1964. The former residents of the site were relocated to the bungalows of Coney Island's West End. Behind Trump Village is the Luna Park housing complex. Trump lost the Luna site after he was blacklisted by the federal government. The entire West End of Coney Island (top left) was later razed for NYCHA housing projects. 

After selling the Steeplechase property to the city for a $1.4 million profit, Trump lost his political connections and his ability to acquire the large building sites that enabled him to gain windfall profits at public expense. Gwendolyn Blair, author of “The Trumps: Three Generations Who Built An Empire,” described Trump’s state of mind after losing the Steeplechase battle: “He was exhausted. It was time for someone else to take over – someone with the energy he had once had. His second son, Donald, would not solve the problems at Coney Island. Neither would he devote himself to finding a less problematic building site elsewhere in Brooklyn. . . . “He would go where only the sky was the limit. He would go to Manhattan.” The Trump organization sold its last Coney Island property during the rezoning of the neighborhood in 2009.

Special Exhibit: "50th Anniversary of Fred Trump's Demolition of Steeplechase Pavilion" open 1:00 - 7:00 PM. weekends and holidays through Labor Day, at the Coney Island History Project, 3059 West 12th Street at the entrance to the Wonder Wheel. Free Admission.

posted Jul 5th, 2016 in By Charles Denson and tagged with Steeplechase Park, Coney Island, Fred Trump,...

On September 21, 1966, real estate developer Fred Trump threw a demolition party at Steeplechase Park’s Pavilion of Fun, exactly two years after Coney Island’s legendary amusement park had closed.  While the champagne flowed and bikinied models posed for photos, Trump invited guests to hurl bricks through the stained glass Funny Face, the symbol of Steeplechase.

Opening May 28, the Coney Island History Project’s new exhibit, "The 50th Anniversary of Fred Trump's Demolition of the Steeplechase Pavilion," examines in photos, ephemera, and oral history, the importance of the pavilion and the memories of local personalities who dealt with Trump before and after the tragic demolition of a Coney Island landmark. History Project director Charles Denson interviewed many of the players involved in the loss of Steeplechase and the exhibit reveals many little known facts about Fred Trump’s history in Coney Island . Here are the top ten:

1. The Albert family of Astroland Park made an offer to buy Steeplechase but Marie Tilyou turned them down. Irving Rosenthal of Palisades Park also tried unsuccessfully to buy Steeplechase. Tilyou didn’t want to sell to an amusement operator and chose instead to sell to Fred Trump, who planned to build high rise apartments.

News article from Coney Island History Project Collection

2. Fred Trump’s 19 year old son Donald was present with his father and Steeplechase Park owner Marie Tilyou at the signing of the sales contract for the park.

3. Fred Trump not only bought Steeplechase Park, he had also owned the old Luna Park site and the Velodrome site. He lost both in 1955 due to his blacklisting by the federal government

Vacant Luna Park site. Coney Island History Project Collection

4. Fred Trump hired the builder of Coney Island Creek’s Yellow Submarine to demolish the Parachute Jump in 1966 but reneged when the $10,000 price was too high.

5. Fred Trump offered to demolish the Parachute Jump for free in 1991, even when it was a landmark and he no longer had a financial interest in it.

6. Fred Trump was largely responsible for relocating poor families from the site of Trump Village, which was built in 1964, to the dilapidated summer bungalow colonies of Coney’s West End, creating a poverty pocket that led to the decline to Coney Island. He also profited by collecting fees for the relocations.

Bungalow colony in Coney's West End. Coney Island History Project Collection

7. Fred Trump was fined for illegal filling of Coney Island Creek in relation to a concrete mixing facility.

8. Fred Trump placed an unusual amusement in the Steeplechase Pavilion in the months before he demolished it, an animal husbandry exhibit that was a satellite attraction of Murray Zaret's Surf Avenue Animal Nursery.

Promotional poster for Murray Zaret's Pet Festival. Coney Island History Project Collection

9. Fred Trump, who was known as a shrewd businessman, finally met his match in Coney Island when he was outsmarted by a long-time Coney Island operator and then tried to hire him.

10. In 2009, the City’s Economic Development Corporation fulfilled Fred Trump’s dream by rezoning the western half of the Steeplechase site, which is now the MCU parking lot, for high rise apartments.

Demolished Steeplechase Pavilion. Photo by James Onorato. Coney Island History Project Collection

"The 50th Anniversary of Fred Trump's Demolition of the Steeplechase Pavilion" is on view at the Coney Island History Project's exhibition center from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. New hours are 1:00 PM till 7:00 PM. Admission is free of charge. We're located at 3059 West 12th Street at the entrance to Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, just a few steps off the Boardwalk.

View historic artifacts, photographs, maps, ephemera and films of Coney Island's colorful past. Among the treasures on display is Coney Island's oldest surviving artifact, the 1823 Toll House sign, which dates back to the days when the toll for a horse and rider to “the Island” was 5 cents! You're invited to take a free souvenir photo with Coney Island's only original Steeplechase horse from the legendary ride that gave Steeplechase Park its name.

The Coney Island History Project was founded in 2004 by Carol Hill Albert and Jerome Albert in honor of Dewey Albert, creator of Astroland Park. Executive director Charles Denson is a Coney Island native, a noted historian, and the author of the award-winning book Coney Island: Lost and Found.

 

Steeplechase Pavilion Coney Island History Project

The Coney Island History Project's first special exhibit of the 2016 season, opening on Memorial Day Weekend, will be "The 50th Anniversary of Fred Trump's Demolition of the Steeplechase Pavilion." A half century ago Coney's most beautiful and imposing structure was demolished by developer Fred Trump, Donald Trump's father. This exhibit examines in photos, ephemera, and oral history, the importance of the pavilion and the memories of local personalities who dealt with Trump before and after the tragic demolition of a Coney Island landmark. During the last decade History Project director Charles Denson interviewed many of the players involved in the loss of Steeplechase and the exhibit reveals many little known facts.

Fred Trump had a long lasting effect on Coney Island that goes way beyond the loss of the Pavilion. His racist tenant relocation tactics at the Trump Village development site destroyed the lives of many poor families who were moved to the dilapidated bungalows of Coney's West End community. None of Trump's Coney Island projects were without scandal or controversy. This exhibit covers them all.

Located on West 12th Street at the entrance to Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, the Coney Island History Project is just a few steps off the Boardwalk. View historic artifacts, photographs, maps, ephemera and films of Coney Island's colorful past.

Among the treasures on display is Coney Island's oldest surviving artifact, the 1823 Toll House sign which dates back to the days when the toll for a horse and rider to "the Island" was 5 cents! Today, the 193-year-old sign is often described as Coney Island's "first admission ticket."

Visitors to the Coney Island History Project are also invited to take free souvenir photos with an original Steeplechase horse from the legendary ride that gave Steeplechase Park its name and "Skully," a giant skull from Coney's Spookhouse and Spook-A-Rama.

The History Project's exhibition center season is from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. New hours are 1:00 PM till 7:00 PM. Admission is free of charge. 

Join our unique walking tours based on Charles Denson's award-winning book Coney Island: Lost and Found, the interviews from CIHP's Oral History Archive, and other primary sources. Visit our online reservation site to see the walking tour schedule and purchase advance tickets online or book a group tour. 

 

posted May 11th, 2016 in Events and tagged with Steeplechase Pavilion, demolition, Fred Trump,...

On Thursday, May 26, Coney Island History Project director Charles Denson will give a slide talk called "Immigrants Who Made Coney Island Famous" at the Coney Island Library, 1901 Mermaid Avenue at West 19th Street. The talk begins at 6:30pm and is free to the public.

"My talk tells the story of several immigrant families who started small in Coney Island and then went on to become enormously successful due to hard work and perseverance," says Mr. Denson. "Immigrants like Nathan Handwerker of Nathan's Famous and Denos Vourderis of the Wonder Wheel started with nothing, built successful businesses, and helped to shape Coney Island. Immigrant artisans Marcus Illions and William Mangels brought craftsmanship and artistic experience from their native countries and built factories in Coney Island that produced great works of folk art in the form of carousels and other amusements. Recent immigrants continue to play an important role in the community." 

posted May 11th, 2016 in Events and tagged with Coney Island, history, immigrants,...

May 14: It's My Estuary Day at Coney Island Creek in Kaiser Park

You're invited to It's My Estuary Day on Saturday, May 14, from 8:00AM-3:00PM, a day of service, learning and celebration along Coney Island Creek in Kaiser Park! The free event will include a coastal clean-up, tables representing environmental organizations, demonstrations of water chemistry techniques, oyster monitoring projects, seining, underwater robotics, diving demonstrations, and talks by ecologists and scientists. 

Stop by the Coney Island History Project's table to learn about our free programs and pick up a copy of the new Coney Island CreekWalk booklet produced by the History Project for Partnerships for Parks. We'll have bilingual interviewers in attendance to record your stories about the neighborhood and the Creek for our Oral History Archive.

Coney Island History Project director Charles Denson will give a talk on Coney Creek at It's My Estuary Day. Visitors may also take a self-guided walking tour by following the markers created for the Coney Island CreekWalk in 2012 by the History Project with the support of Partnerships for Parks. 

Featuring over 40 partner organizations, this free event is organized by the Cultural Research Divers, BMSEA (Brooklyn Marine STEM Education Alliance), and NYSMEA (NY State Marine Education Association), and hosted by Making Waves, a coalition of stewards caring for Coney Island Creek and Kaiser Park. 

Join us at Coney Island Creek!

posted May 2nd, 2016 in Events and tagged with It's My Estuary Day, Esruary Day, Kaiser Park,...

Waterfront Conference. Photo by Ian Douglas courtesy Waterfront Alliance

May 12 is the Waterfront Alliance's 2016 Waterfront Conference aboard the Hornblower Infinity in Hudson River Park. Coney Island History Project director Charles Denson will participate in the panel Forgotten Waterfronts: Activating and Engaging the Shoreline. Panelists also include Melissa Garcia, Senior Director of Operations and Finance, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (facilitator); Marcy DePina, Program Director, Newark Riverfront Revival; Eric Fang, Principal, Perkins Eastman; Randy Ng, Member, Guardians of Flushing Bay; and Eric Wilson, Assistant Commissioner of Planning & Predevelopment, NYC Housing Preservation & Development.

The theme of the all-day conference is how we define and deliver equity at the waterfront from jobs to education, transportation, and recreation. It will feature several panels and a keynote conversation with Maria Torres­ Springer, President of the NYCEDC and Michael Sorkin, Director of the Graduate Urban Design Program at City College. For tickets and additional information please visit the Waterfront Conference website

posted May 2nd, 2016 in Events and tagged with Waterfront Conference, Waterfront Alliance,...

On May 4th, the City Council's Land Use Committee will be hearing testimony on Councilman Mark Treyger's resolution calling for Coney Island's Riegelmann Boardwalk to be designated an official scenic landmark. 

"The landmarking process in this city needs to be an equitable process, because the history and tradition of all of our city's neighborhoods must be preserved," says Councilman Treyger. "Too much has been lost already. The Boardwalk is a quintessential part of Southern Brooklyn's history, and I am encouraging all residents of Southern Brooklyn, as well as any New Yorker that remembers walking down the Boardwalk, feeling the cool ocean breeze embracing them, to join me on May 4th at City Hall. Let your voice be heard! Testify at this hearing and make sure the city administration and the Landmarks Preservation Commission know how much the Boardwalk means to you and to our city."

In February, Treyger introduced the resolution to the City Council where it received the support of all but one of the City's Council Members, as well as Public Advocate Letitia James. The resolution  will be one of several pieces of legislation discussed at the Committee's May 4th 11:00 AM hearing in the Council Committee Room at City Hall. 

Last May, Charles Denson accompanied Council Members Mark Treyger and Chaim Deutsch to a private meeting with the Landmarks Preservation Commission to advocate for the landmarking of the Boardwalk. He gave an illustrated historical presentation to LPC staff showing that the beloved structure is indeed eligible for landmark designation. We are still awaiting the LPC's decision.

posted May 2nd, 2016 in Events and tagged with Boardwalk, Scenic Landmark, Landmark the Boardwalk,...

The mysterious Childs Restaurant Building, with its nautical-themed terra cotta decorations, has fascinated Coney Island visitors for years. Charles Denson 's film illustrates the structure's history and future. The Boardwalk landmark will reopen this summer as the Coney Island Amphitheater.