February 23: Mermaid Avenue, Then and Now

Mermaid Ave Then and Now

You're invited to join us on Zoom for "Mermaid Avenue, Then and Now," a virtual tour with historian Charles Denson, director of the Coney Island History Project, on February 23rd.

We'll look at how Coney Island's Mermaid Avenue shopping district, where most of the storefronts were in three-story brick buildings constructed in the 1920s, was transformed by a destructive urban renewal project launched in 1949. Today the "Avenue," as residents called it, is recovering but remains a shadow of its former self. Denson grew up a block from Mermaid Avenue and will show his photo documentation of the street as it changed during the 1960s and 1970s, and as it appears today. 

The Coney Island History Project also invites anyone with Mermaid Avenue stories to sign up to record an oral history about their experiences on Coney’s famous Avenue. Some of the oral histories in our archive about Mermaid Avenue’s mom and pop businesses founded by immigrants past and present are featured in Episode 4 of our Coney Island Stories podcast.

Charles Denson grew up in Coney Island and began documenting his neighborhood as a boy, a passion that continues to this day. He is the author of four books: Coney Island's Wonder Wheel Park; Wild Ride: A Coney Island Roller Coaster Family; Coney Island and Astroland; and Coney Island: Lost and Found, named 2002 New York Book of the Year by the New York Society Library. 

Tuesday, February 23 at 7:00 PM. FREE.
Advance registration is required. You will be sent the Zoom link two days before the event.

Register Here



This program is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and New York City Councilman Mark Treyger.



I grew up in coney island been here all my life. I remember mermaid ave . I went to psl88 and mark twain lincoln high school. I miss the old coney island

My father owned a Momma-Poppa-type grocery store on the NW corner of W 20 St and Mermaid Ave from 1949 to mid 1960's. It went by the name Monticello Food Center -- as the original owners had come from Monticello New York. Clientele was mainly Jewish and Italian. From W 19 St. to W 21 St. there were no fewer than 4 such stores. Mermaid Avenue from Stillwell Ave. to Sea-Gate was one continuous bustling shopping thoroughfare, full of life, and laden with both stores and people -- served by the Mermaid Ave bus which had replaced the Norton's Point trolley. Its appearance now is so radically different and so saddening. Thank you Urban Renewal!

Add new comment