Stop by the Coney Island History Project's FREE exhibit center at 3059 W 12th St at the entrance to Deno's Wonder Park. View historic artifacts, photographs, maps, ephemera, folk art and films of Coney Island's colorful past. Open from 12 noon - 6 pm on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day.

Delve into the fascinating history of the People's Playground by joining the Coney Island History Project's Sunday Walking Tours! Our unique tours are based on stories from our oral history archive and CIHP director Charles Denson's award-winning book "Coney Island: Lost and Found." Advance purchase of tickets through our event reservation website is recommended since tours are limited to 10-12 people. If a tour has not sold out, the remaining tickets will be available for cash purchase on the day of the tour when the History Project opens at 12 noon.

posted Jul 18th, 2011 in News and tagged with

The Coney Island History Project Presents Free Movie Screenings in the Community. The program will be shown at two venues:

Wednesday, June 29th, 7pm at South Brooklyn Youth Consortium,
2811 Mermaid Avenue (at w 28 St), Coney Island. Phone 718-449-1356
D, F, N or Q to Stillwell Avenue

Thursday, June 30th, 2pm at the Coney Island Library,
1901 Mermaid Avenue at (W 18 St.), Coney Island Phone 718-265-3220
D, F, N or Q to Stillwell Avenue

"The Prince of Mermaid Avenue"
A documentary feature by Charles Denson (2009, 60 minutes)
Starring Jimmy Prince and a cast of Coney Island Community Members

The film tells the story of Jimmy Prince, owner of Major Meats on Mermaid Avenue, who retired after 60 years as an anchor of the community. He transformed his meat market into the soul of an earlier era, a cordial oasis of tradition and hope, a throwback to what Coney Island was and what many dreamed it could be again one day.

"The Prince of Mermaid Avenue" documents Prince's decision to retire and the painful process of leaving the Coney Island community that he loved and supported for so many years.

The film project began with historian Charles Denson's daily visits to Major Market and his audio recordings for the Coney Island History Project's Oral History Archive. The film premiered and was awarded Best Documentary Feature at the 9th Annual Coney Island Film Festival in 2009.

We will also be screening some vintage film clips of the original Luna Park, Steeplechase Park, and Astroland, which we show at the Coney Island History Project's free public exhibition center at 3059 W. 12 Street at the entrance to Deno's Wonder Wheel Park.

For additional info contact the Coney Island History Project. Email: events@coneyislandhistory.org Phone: (347) 702-8553

Funded in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs

posted Jun 20th, 2011 in News and tagged with

 

Coney Island and Astroland tells the story of Coney Island's evolution by exploring its changing architectural streetscape through never before seen images from the Astroland Archive, the Coney Island History Project Archive, and his personal collection. The book is part of Arcadia's Images of America series and was released on June 13.

 

Signed copies of Coney Island and Astroland (128 pages, $21.99) will be available for purchase at the Coney Island History Project exhibition center and via our website. On Saturday, June 25, Charles Denson will be at the Coney Island History Project for a book signing event. The event is scheduled for 2 - 5 pm at our exhibition center at 3059 West 12th Street, just off the Boardwalk.

posted Jun 16th, 2011 in News and tagged with

Steeplechase Horse

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EXHIBITION CENTER...Opening Memorial Day Weekend for the 2011 season! The Coney Island History Project's  exhibition center at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park.  Located on West 12th Street, just off the Boardwalk, our public exhibition center is open from 12 noon - 6 pm on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays  from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day. Admission is Free!

View historic artifacts, photographs, maps, ephemera, folk art  and films of Coney Island's colorful past. This year's opening exhibition will commemorate the Dreamland Fire Centennial with historic images of Dreamland before and after the fire juxtaposed with the site as it is today. Our popular Steeplechase horse from the legendary ride that gave Steeplechase Park its name will be on display again, along with a rare Mangels "Fairy Whip" car.

The exhibition center is open year-round by appointment for schools and groups. Send inquiries to info@coneyislandhistory.org

SUNDAY WALKING TOURS...The Coney Island History Project is pleased to announce walking tours of the historic landmarks and current attractions of the amusement district. Our tours are based on CIHP Director Charles Denson's award-winning book Coney Island: Lost and Found, the oral history interviews in our archive and other primary sources. Tours will be offered on Sundays at 12:15 pm from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend as well as to groups by advance reservation. Tickets are $20. Advance purchase of tickets through our event reservation website is recommended since tours are limited to 10-12 people. If a tour has not sold out, the remaining tickets will be available for cash purchase on the day of the tour when the History Project opens at 12 noon.

posted May 27th, 2011 in Events and tagged with
Rabbi Abraham Abraham

Yesterday we were saddened to learn of the death of Rabbi Abraham Abraham, who died on May 18. He was the leader of the Ice Breakers Winter Ocean Swimmers of Brighton Beach, a group that broke away from the Polar Bear Club in the 1990s. "The Rabbi" was a Coney Island original and will be missed.

A graveside funeral will be held today, May 19, at 2 pm at Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, Queens

posted May 19th, 2011 in News and tagged with Rabbi Abraham Abraham, In Memoriam, obituary,...

Dreamland
The Coney Island History Project is pleased to announce a series of walking tours of the historic landmarks and current attractions of the amusement district. Beginning on Memorial Day Weekend, tours will be offered on Sundays at 12:15 pm as well as to groups by advance reservation. All tours will begin at the History Project's new exhibition center under the Wonder Wheel's iconic entrance sign on Denos D. Vourderis Place (West 12th Street), just a few steps off the Boardwalk.

We're launching the season with a special walking tour in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Dreamland Fire on Friday, May 27, at 12:15 pm. This tour will be offered again on Sunday, May 29, at 12:15 pm. Led by Charles Denson, historian and director of the Coney Island History Project, the tours will also preview the History Project's exhibition on the Dreamland Fire Centennial, set to open on Saturday, May 28, at 12 noon.

NYU Grad School Group Toured Coney Island & History Project Exhibition
NYU Grad School Group Toured Coney Island & History Project Exhibition
Advance purchase of tickets through our event reservation website is recommended since tours are limited to 10-12 people and are expected to fill up early. If a tour has not sold out, the remaining tickets will be available for cash purchase on the day of the tour when the History Project opens at 12 noon. The 1-1/2 hour Sunday walking tours begin at the History Project and include a talk on the Dreamland exhibit. Tickets are $20.

Throughout the season, walking tours will be led by Charles Denson or Coney Island History Project staff. Our tour guides are professionals who live, work or play in Coney Island and have a long association with the History Project. Our tours are based on Charles Denson's award-winning book Coney Island: Lost and Found, the oral history interviews in our archive and other primary sources. For the walking tour schedule and additional information, please visit the online reservation website.

If you have a question not addressed in the FAQs on the tour reservation site or to arrange a group tour, please e-mail events@coneyislandhistory.org.

posted May 16th, 2011 in News and tagged with

wonderwheelCloseUp
The Coney Island History Project is moving into a new exhibition center below the Wonder Wheel and will be open for a preview on Coney Island's opening weekend of the 2011 season. "We're grateful to the Vourderis family, operators of Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, for providing us a space and for their interest in preserving Coney Island's heritage," said historian and History Project director Charles Denson. "Our recording studio will be open for people to record their Coney Island memories."

The new exhibition center will be open 1 to 6 pm on Saturday, April 16 and Sunday, April 17. Admission is free of charge. On Sunday, starting at 11 am with the 33-year-old family tradition of the "Blessing of the Rides," Deno's Wonder Wheel Park will host an opening day celebration. Hope to see you at the festivities!

horse
Stop by our exhibition center to view historic artifacts, photographs, maps, ephemera and films of Coney Island's colorful past and preview selections from our 2011 season. This year's exhibitions will feature never-before-seen vintage films and photos, folk art treasures, and rediscovered wonders from Wonder Wheel Park. Our popular Steeplechase horse from the legendary ride that gave Steeplechase Park its name will be on display again, along with a rare Mangels "Fairy Whip" car and the original Coney Island toll house sign from 1823. Colorful banners depicting honorees of the Coney Island Hall of Fame will also be on display on Jones Walk in Wonder Wheel Park.

You'll find the Coney Island History Project's new exhibition center under the Wonder Wheel's iconic entrance sign on Denos D. Vourderis Place (West 12th Street), just a few steps off the Boardwalk. Our regular exhibition season is from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day. Hours are 1 to 6 pm on Saturdays, Sunday and holidays. The exhibit center is open year-round by appointment for schools and groups. For additional info, e-mail events@coneyislandhistory.org.

posted Mar 31st, 2011 in News and tagged with

dreamlandFire
The Aftermath of the Dreamland Fire

On May 27, 1911, a huge fire illuminated the sky and sent fire companies from all over Brooklyn rushing to Coney Island. Dreamland Park was ablaze. Unlike Steeplechase Park or the Bowery which were rebuilt after being destroyed by fire, Dreamland would be no more. "The catastrophic fire happened in 1911 but its lingering aftermath still affects Coney Island land use policy a century later," said Charles Denson. "As soon as the ashes cooled, the city took over the site and has been claiming beachfront parcels ever since."

When the Coney Island History Project opens on Memorial Day Weekend, we'll commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Dreamland Fire with an exhibition of photos and a themed walking tour. Historic images of Dreamland before and after the fire will be juxtaposed with the site as it is today and how it developed over the last hundred years. The exhibit will be illuminated by oral history interviews with the 101-year-old son of the Coney Island police chief on duty that night and the granddaughter of the Coney Island fire chief who fought the blaze.

Charles Denson, History Project director and the author of Coney Island: Lost and Found, will lead a walking tour on Friday, May 27. To receive advance info on the tour, which will be by reservation, please sign up for our e-mail list.

posted Mar 30th, 2011 in News and tagged with

rea
John Rea revisits Coney with son Jace
We have several new interviews on our website featuring people who have worked in Coney's amusement-related businesses, often from a very young age. Their families made a living here for decades and Coney left an indelible impression on their lives. You can find and listen online to selected interviews in our Oral History Archive via our searchable database, which is organized by theme, place, period and interviewee.

John Rea, currently an advertising professional and adjunct professor at the School of Visual Arts, began his career as a teenage sign painter in Coney Island. He also talks about working for his father in Peluso Machine and Iron Works Shop, which manufactured replacement parts for Coney's rides.

mccullough
Jimmy McCullough
Jimmy McCullough is a longtime operator of Coney's carousels, including the B & B Carousell, and the current operator of the kiddie park on the Bowery. Working in Coney Island is a family business going back generations for Jimmy, who is a great grandson of Steeplechase founder George C.Tilyou. He has also worked in partnership with his daughters to operate traveling rides starting with the SkyWheel in Toronto.

Michael Onorato is the son of James Onorato, who was the general manager of Steeplechase for 36 years. Michael remembers the park in vivid detail and describes growing up there, including a start-to-finish account of going on the Parachute Jump.

dorman
John Dorman
Coney Island's Philip's Candy Store has moved to Staten Island, but owner John Dorman recalls his decades open for business in the Stillwell Avenue terminal. The shop originally opened in 1930 in that location, but Dorman began working there in 1947, when he was 17. He recalls some of the changes he saw over the decades he worked in Coney Island.

During the season and throughout the year, people are invited to record their Coney Island memories for our Oral History Archive. We hope you'll stop by or make an appontment to share your story. You may schedule an interview in advance by emailing info@coneyislandhistory.org.

posted Mar 29th, 2011 in News and tagged with

coneyologist
Screenshot from "Seasons of the Cyclone" Photo © Charles Denson

"Seasons of the Cyclone" by History Project director Charles Denson is a close-up look at the Cyclone roller coaster that takes you inside the motor room and lets you walk the tracks. You can watch the video on Denson's new "Coneyologist" channel on YouTube. Also on view is "Secrets of the Universe," a six-minute short that premiered at last year's Coney Island Film Festival.

If you haven't visited the History Project's Facebook page yet, please drop by and "like" us. You can follow us year round on Facebook, twitter, flickr and our blog Ask Mr Coney Island.

posted Mar 29th, 2011 in News and tagged with