Dear Mr. Coney Island...
We lived in Coney Island from the 1930's to the 1970's. Early on, I seem to remember my mother and aunts and friends and people from all over, all ages, all walks of life, gathering in the "Pavilion" on the boardwalk, especially on the summer Tuesday fireworks night to talk, perhaps gossip, but especially to sing. Most of the songs were Yiddish, with beautiful longing melodies which I can still remember.

In speaking of this with some people in my family, they say I remember it through "rose colored glasses". Did it exist? Can you validate when and where. Was it as I remember as a young boy?
- David Levine

Hello David,

Your memory is correct. The Boardwalk originally had four Mediterranean style pavilions located at West 35th St, West 29th, West 24th, and West 12th Streets.The pavilions at the West End were popular gathering places on summer evenings. Residents of the Hebrew Home for the Aged, located in the old Half Moon Hotel, would sing songs and tell stories in the pavilion at West 29th Street. The pavilions suffered arson fires and were demolished in the 1970s. Here are photographs of the pavilions in the 1920s and shortly before demolition.‚Äč



I think there were also pavillions at the foot of Ocean Parkway (destroyed by Hurricane Donna in Sept. 1960---rebuilt with a sleeker all concrete design---replaced by current structure in the early 2000's and shifted slightly west of original.
Also near Brighton 3-4 there were multiple structures and one I think was another of these pavillions. This is now site of current structure from early 2000's. Don't remember the fate of this one.
The design of the original 1920's shade pavillions was not suited to a potentially windy area since it did not allow the air to pass through smoothly! I remember part of the roofs becoming unhinged in ordinary wind events.

Hello, I live in Coney Island currently. Based on the first picture of the Pavilion, I actually think that a few are still standing! Of course they are not as pretty and decorative anymore. I think that on some of them, the complete red top, that looks like a roof of a house, has been torn away. There aren't any big group gatherings anymore, but every Friday in the Summer they still shoot fireworks!

I was born at Harbor Hospital in 1950, formerly known as the Half Moon Hotel and prior to it becoming the old age home. My very earliest memories were of being on the beach just to the west of the pavilion, early summer mornings with my dad. At that time, we lived above Kaufman's Pharmacy on Mermaid Avenue, right across the street from the Mermaid Theater. My dad would take me for haircuts at Carl & Harry's barber shop just up 29th street, get my Buster Brown shoes from the store on the corner of 29th & Mermaid, have pancakes at the Huba, visit my Aunt Faye's dress shop on the south side of Mermaid Ave. between 29th & 30th, hang out at Jay & Erin Turoff's hardware store, Weiner's Photo shop, Abilene Oil, get a nickel sour pickle out of the barrel at Rosenberg's Deli, belly button candy from Mike's candy store and go to nursery school at the Y when it was on 31st and Mermaid, run by Max and Andy the janitor. That was my world and it was wonderful. Happy to have such warm memories.

Does your Aunt Fays also go by Francine or something similar?

I remember the Pavillions well. As a child growing up in Coney Island with my Brother, Cousins, and many friends, we spent a many a day in those Pavillions and they were a fixture to many of the locals all year around. They provided a Cool Shaded Refuge from the Hot Summer Sun for many.

I remember the Pavillions gradually falling to Damage caused by Vandals and in fact was familiar with a local Coney Island Character by the name of Ray (Raymond) whom we knew to be a Fire Bug/Arsonist.

He often bragged that he was responsible for setting the Fires which caused the heavy damage to those long gone Coney Landmarks.

Ray had also claimed to many that he was also the person responsible to Torching the Long Gone Lincoln Baths/Raven Hall. He again often bragged that he was paid by the then owners to torch and Burn the Baths Down for the Insurance Money...

hello Andy, it's me Austin hall, Mike's son from the candy store. I dont know how I found you. did we know each other when living in CI? I dont know if this will reach you so I will keep It short. It sure would be nice to rehash everything with you. I was the kid always playing the trumpet.

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