Visit the Coney Island History Project under the Wonder Wheel!
The Coney Island History Project's 2023 exhibition center season begins Memorial Day Weekend with a combination of free indoor and outdoor exhibits. This year's special exhibition is The Riegelmann Boardwalk: Past, Present, and Future. This fascinating exhibit tells the story of how the Coney Island Boardwalk came into being, how it was constructed, and how it changed Coney Island forever by opening the shoreline to the public. Historic photographs and maps will illustrate the innovative construction techniques that were used for the first time to create Coney Island’s new “Main Street” one hundred years ago in 1923. A century of memorable photographs will be on display. We're open Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 1-7 PM. Free Admission!
2023 Exhibition Center Season Hours
Open from May 27 - September 4, 2023 - Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays, 1pm-7pm
Also open May 29, 2023 - Memorial Day (Monday), 1pm-7pm
Also open June 19, 2023 - Juneteenth observed (Monday), 1pm-7pm
Also open July 4th, 2023 - (Tuesday), 1pm-7pm
Also open September 4, 2023 - Labor Day (Monday), 1pm-7pm
We encourage you to browse the Coney Island History Project's website, which in addition to our multilingual Oral History Archive includes our podcast Coney Island Stories, the blog Ask Mr. Coney Island, selections from our Collection, and Coney News and Events for info about special events and walking tours. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to learn about Coney Island's legendary and colorful past and the Coney Island community of today.
The Coney Island History Project, founded in 2004, is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that aims to increase awareness of Coney Island's legendary and colorful past and to encourage appreciation of the Coney Island neighborhood of today. Our mission is to record, archive and share oral history interviews; provide access to historical artifacts and documentary material through educational exhibits, events and a website; and honor community leaders and amusement pioneers through our Coney Island Hall of Fame. Emphasizing community involvement, the History Project teaches young people about local history and develops programs in conjunction with local schools, museums, senior centers, and other organizations.
The History Project's public programs began in 2005 with the opening of the Coney Island Hall of Fame, an exhibit that honors influential figures in history, and Coney Island Voices, an oral history archive that preserves the stories and memories of people who visited or lived and worked in Brooklyn's famous playground.
In 2006 we presented Coney Island Dreamers, an exhibit of banners from the Coney Island Hall of Fame and documentary photographs of Coney Island at the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza. We also continued our local history learning programs with students at Mark Twain Junior High School, the Global Studies School and Brooklyn College.
In 2007, we presented slide talks at the American Museum of Folk Art and Brooklyn College, and inaugurated our public exhibition center under the Cyclone roller coaster in Coney Island. “Land Grab: A History of Coney Island Development,” “Woody Guthrie’s Coney Island Years,” “The Astroland Archives Photography Exhibit,” “Coney Island Icons,” and “Luna Park Revisited” were among the exhibits at the Coney Island History Project's exhibition center during its first four years.
In 2011, the Coney Island History Project moved to our current home on West 12th Street beside the Wonder Wheel at the invitation of the Vourderis family, owners of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. Featured exhibits at the new space have included “The Dreamland Fire Centennial,” “Coney Island Bathhouses: A Lost Culture,” and the first solo show by local photographer Abe Feinstein, who has been documenting his neighborhood for more than fifty years.
2013 saw our recovery from Hurricane Sandy and the opening of the exhibits “The Curious Playland Arcade Art of Larry Millard” and "Wonder Wheel Dreams." We were invited to work with sixty students at PS 226 and an after-school program at PS 16 for which we produced a film based on their artwork and poetry. In August of 2013, the 3rd Annual History Day presented by Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park and the Coney Island History Project was the inaugural event at the new plaza on West 12th Street.
Visit our online Oral History Archive to listen to over 400 oral history interviews with people who grew up, live or work in Coney Island and adjacent neighborhoods in Southern Brooklyn, or have a special connection to these places. Schedule an appointment to share and preserve your memories by recording an interview via phone or Zoom. We are recording interviews both in English and other languages, including Chinese, Russian, and Spanish.
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. The History Project is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council; Humanities New York with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities via the federal American Rescue Plan Act; the Museum Association of New York; the New York State Council on the Arts; and our members and contributors.