1950's Memories

Dear Mr. Coney Island...
I have several vague memories of going to Coney Island in the late 1950s or early 1960s with my father. One is of a cowboy singer in a bar called the Atlantis. Another is of an animal nursery. And most vague is a boardwalk concession that had a number of soda vending machines. Do you have any information to flesh out these memories? Thanks.
- Ed Yutkowitz

Hello Ed,

You have a good memory.

Sodamat was located on the Boardwalk at West 15th Street and it burned down in 1973; Murray Zarret's Animal Nursery was located on Surf Avenue and West 5th Street (pictured) and then moved to Surf and Stillwell; the Atlantis is now Cha-Cha's nightclub on the Boardwalk at Stillwell. Here are some photos to jog your memory.

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My father sang at the Atlantis in the 50's. He was known as Jimmy James, the Brooklyn Cowboy.

My grandparents owned the Atlantis on the boardwalk in the 1940s, 50, 60s and sold it in the 1970s, I believe. My grandmother was Nathan Handwerker's (Nathans) sister. My father tended bar in the summer and I remember the singing cowboy very well.

My dad owned the Atlantis Bar in the mid-late 60’s. My sister and I worked there. I worked the corner stand on a few holiday weekends and my sister tended bar through her summers home from college. I vividly remember Wayne, the singing cowboy. Watching Ken Burns’ special on country music reignited fond memories.

I’d love to compare notes since the chronology of ownership isn’t the same. In any case, it would be fun to revisit.


My mother took me to sea cowboy singer named Wayne Weston . He was a fairly good singer but always sounded better after you had about 3 bottles of beer. Whatever became of Wayne ? We knew him as The Oklahoma Kid. I know he sang there in the Atlantis bar through out 1950's and !960's.

Wayne Weston was my father. After his days at the Atlantis he worked at several other nightspots around the city before he passed away at the young age of 53. He enjoyed entertaining people and it's nice to see that he's remembered by folks outside the immediate family.

Best regards.

Hello! Thank you for the wonderful pictures. Just wondering if you have any other pictures of the Sodamat or if you can possibly send me the larger file for the picture above? Great website. Thank you for the memories.


Dear Charles Denison,

I love your book and this site. I wrote an illustrated (with my paintings) novel that takes place in C.I. in 1957 and your work was invaluable to me in research and a joy to read. My agent is looking for a publisher for it now. I was wondering if I could post some of your photographs on the blog of my web site or if not on my Facebook page.

Thanks so much. You’ve been a great inspiration to me.

Sheila Martin,

Wayne "Weston" was my dad. He passed away in 1975 from a heart attack. My earliest memories are of going to Coney Island to meet him after his set(s) at the Atlantis. He always enjoyed playing for the folks in Coney Island. The last few years of his life he played in other areas of town.

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