Kaara Baptiste

Kaara Baptiste is a writer and editor in New York. Although a native Brooklynite, it wasn’t until journalism school that she learned the history of Coney Island beyond the amusement rides, covering recovery efforts of local churches after superstorm Sandy and community initiatives to stop gun violence. She is a 2014 graduate of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and is now a copy editor at Newsday. 

Interviews

Mechanical display creator who redid the tricks for Astroland's Dante's Inferno dark ride in the 1990s
Brooklynite Lou Nasti, the owner of Mechanical Displays in Flatbush, refers to himself as an "artistic mechanical engineer." He has designed, manufactured and installed one-of-a-kind, custom animated characters and displays both locally and around...
Sea Gate artist, writer, educator and year-round swimmer
Hawley Hussey recounts "getting in the Gate," moving to a beach mansion in Sea Gate in 2001, her Coney Island-inspired art and writings, and swimming year-round.  A member of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club as well as an ephemeral upstart group...
Longtime baseball scout for the Chicago Cubs and Sea Gate resident
Billy Blitzer grew up in Brighton Beach, has lived in Sea Gate for the past 36 years, and is a pro scout for the Chicago Cubs.  Baseball has been an integral part of his life since he played Little League at Coney Island's Kaiser Park and with his...
Artist whose Coney Island-themed work includes solo and community murals at Coney Art Walls
Brooklyn-born Chris "Daze" Ellis is an internationally known artist who began his career painting subway trains as a high school student and successfully transitioned to canvas in the early 1980s. His series of Coney Island-themed paintings created...
Architect who grew up in Coney Island in the 1980s and designed the renovated Ruby's Bar & Grill
Eric Safyan grew up in Coney Island's Brightwater Towers overlooking the Aquarium. His parents were political refugees who emigrated from Odessa in the Ukraine when he was 3-1/2 years old. After graduating from Brooklyn Tech and architecture school...
Memories of growing up in Coney Island in the 1980s and '90s and Faber's Fascination Arcade
Jeffrey l. Wilson is a Senior Software Analyst at PC Magazine, where he writes about video games, mobile apps, and other tech subjects. He shares memories of growing up in Coney Island, where his family moved to O'Dwyer Gardens from Flatbush in 1986...
Coney Island singer/songwriter who wrote "A Coney Island Song"
A Coney Island resident for the past 16 years, Paul Sanchez is a singer/songwriter who can be found playing his guitar on the Boardwalk and in Coney venues such as Steeplechase Beer Garden. He plays his signature composition, "A Coney Island Song,"...
Storyteller, cartoonist and designer whose graphic novel Prince of Cats is partly set in 1980's Coney Island
Brooklyn resident Ronald Wimberly  is a storyteller, cartoonist and designer whose graphic novel Prince of Cats is partly set in Coney Island.  His retelling of Romeo and Juliet mixes comics, hip-hop and Shakespearian poetry. Wimberly describes the...
Community activist and president of the Carey Gardens Tenants Association
Shirley Aikens has called Coney Island her home for nearly 40 years and is very active in the community. She is president of the Carey Gardens Tenants Association and a member of Community Board 13 and the NYPD's 60th Precinct Community Council....
Historian delves into the life of E.J. Perry, African-American silhouette artist at Luna Park
Historian Eric K. Washington's 2013 essay "E.J. Perry, African-American Silhouette Cutter of America's Leisure Circuit" brought the long forgotten Perry into the public eye once again. Called "America's most famous silhouette cutter" by The...