About the Coney Island History Project

Coney Island History Project

Visit the Coney Island History Project under the Wonder Wheel!

The Coney Island History Project's 2024 exhibition center season begins Memorial Day Weekend with a combination of free indoor and outdoor exhibits. 

Visitors to the exhibition center 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 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. Admission is free of charge. 

2024 Exhibition Center Season Hours

Open from May 25 - September 2, 2024 - Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays, 1pm-7pm 

Also open May 27, 2024 - Memorial Day (Monday), 1pm-7pm 

Also open June 19, 2024 - Juneteenth (Wednesday), 1pm-7pm

Also open July 4th, 2024 - (Thursday), 1pm-7pm

Also open September 2, 2024 - 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 on 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. 

Exhibits at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park

The Coney Island History Project's free outdoor banner exhibits will return to Deno's Wonder Wheel Park for the 2024 season. The banners will be on view through the end of October during park hours.

The Wonder Wheel and the Immigrant Dream tells the remarkable story of the Wonder Wheel and the family that operates Deno's Wonder Wheel Park. The colorful history banners are located on the Wheel's walkway adjacent to the History Project, as well as below Deno's Phoenix Roller Coaster.

An installation of history panels in front of the Astroland Moon Rocket is located in the lower park, across from the Bumper Cars and adjacent to the Wonder Wheel. Installed in 2022, this permanent exhibit honors Coney’s space-age attraction that debuted at the dawn of the space race in 1962 and the 60th anniversary of the opening of Astroland Park.

Admission to Deno's Wonder Wheel Park is free. The Wonder Wheel opens at 12:00 PM on weekends and holidays in the spring and daily during the summer months. Hours of operation are subject to change depending on weather conditions.

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 FacebookTwitterInstagram 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. 

In 2021, we launched Coney Island Stories, our podcast produced from oral histories in our archive. Listen via your podcast app or the podcast page on our website.

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. 


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