Visit the Coney Island History Project under the Wonder Wheel!
2019 marks the 15th anniversary of the Coney Island History Project! Since the History Project's inception in 2004 with a portable recording booth on the Boardwalk, followed by the opening of the Coney Island Hall of Fame in 2005 and the inaugural season of our exhibition center under the Cyclone in 2007, we have proudly offered "Free Admission for One and All!" at our exhibits and special events.
In 2011, the History Project continued that tradition when we moved from the Cyclone to our new exhibition center in Deno's Wonder Wheel Park. We are grateful to the Vourderis family for inviting us to set up history exhibits in locations around their park, and to the Albert family for their ongoing support as the History Project continues its mission of recording oral histories with people who have lived, worked, and played in Coney Island.
The Coney Island History Project's exhibition center is located on 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. The History Project is open weekends and holidays from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day from 1-7pm. We will also be open on Palm Sunday (March 25, 2018) which is Coney Island's opening day of the season, and Easter Sunday (April 1, 2018) from 1-6pm. Admission is free of charge.
Visitors are invited to take free souvenir photos with Coney Island's only original Steeplechase horse, from the legendary ride that gave Steeplechase Park its name, and the iconic Cyclops head from Deno's Wonder Wheel Park's Spook-A-Rama, Coney Island's oldest dark ride. Among the treasures on display at the Coney Island History Project’s exhibit center this season is Coney Island’s oldest surviving artifact from the dawn of the “World’s Playground.” The 1823 Toll House sign dates back to the days when the toll for a horse and rider to “the Island” was 5 cents! Today, the nearly two century old sign is often described as Coney Island's "first admission ticket."
The Coney Island History Project's special exhibition for the 2019 season, opening on Memorial Day Weekend, is Salvation by the Sea: Coney Island's 19th Century Fresh Air Cure and Immigrant Aid Societies. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, Coney Island’s “Fresh Air Cure,” saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of poor children of immigrants. Seaside homes and hospitals for the poor, supported by the city’s wealthy, provided impoverished immigrant mothers and sick children with a respite from teeming, disease-filled tenements. Our exhibit tells the story through photos, articles, maps, and oral history.
In addition, the Coney Island History Project offers year-round weekend walking tours which begin with a tour of the exhibit center including a talk about the objects on display. Tours are based on History Project director 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. If you have a question or to arrange a private visit or group tour, please e-mail events[AT]coneyislandhistory[DOT]org.
We're also open year-round by appointment to record interviews with people who have lived, worked or played in Coney Island for our Oral History Archive. Throughout the year, we conduct cultural enrichment programs at schools and senior centers in the community.
2019 Schedule: Open Weekends and Holidays from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day. Admission is Free!
• from May 25 - September 1, 2019 - Saturdays and Sundays, 1pm-7pm
• also open April 14, 2019 - Palm Sunday, Coney Island's Traditional Opening Day, 1pm-6pm
• also open April 21, 2019 - Easter Sunday, 1pm-6pm
• also open May 27, 2019 - Memorial Day (Monday), 1pm-7pm
• also open July 4th, 2019 - (Thursday), 1pm-7pm
• also open September 2, 2019 - Labor Day (Monday), 1pm-7pm
The Coney Island Project is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, New York City Councilman Mark Treyger, and our members and contributors. Printed materials made possible with funds from the Destination: Brooklyn Program, funded by the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and NYC & Company Foundation, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council.