Note that this event has been RESCHEDULED due to the hurricane forecast. The original date was Sunday, August 28th.
On Saturday, September 3rd at 1 pm, Charles Denson, director of the Coney Island History Project, will present the 2011 Coney Island Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at CIHP's exhibit center on West 12th Street.
This year, the Coney Island Hall of Fame pays tribute to Lady Deborah Moody (1586-1659?), the first woman to found a colony in North America. Moody fled her native England because of religious persecution and first arrived in Massachusetts, where an aide to the governor advised barring her "for she is a dangerous woeman."
"In choosing to honor Lady Deborah Moody, we are returning to Coney Island's centuries-old roots," said historian and History Project director Charles Denson. "Moody has been described as 'the woman who wrote [America's] Declaration of Independence 150 years before the men got around to it.' Lady Moody, who founded the town of Gravesend in 1645, was not just the only woman to start a colony in the new world, but was also the first to recognize the value and importance of Coney Island."
Coney Island was part of Gravesend, which Moody settled when the Dutch governor granted her a charter insuring religious freedom and self-government. Gravesend was one of the original towns of Kings County in colonial New York. Coney Island was the town's common lands on the Atlantic Ocean. At the Hall of Fame ceremony, Lady Deborah Moody's contributions will be highlighted in a colorful banner accompanied by illustrated text panels detailing her fascinating life.
The second 2011 Hall of Fame honoree is in the architectural category: The Shore Theater, formerly known as the Loew's Coney Island, is a seven-story neo-Renaissance style theater and vaudeville house built in 1925 at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues. On History Day, never before seen photos of the theater's ornate interior will be on view at the History Project's exhibit center, providing a rare glimpse inside a building that has been closed since the 1970s.
"The Shore Theater represents not just Coney's golden past, but also its bright future," said Charles Denson."Now that it's been granted landmark status, the Shore awaits a renovation that will make it the year-round entertainment center of a new Coney Island." When the long vacant building won New York City landmark designation in December 2010, Landmarks Preservation Commission Chairman Robert B Tierney said, "The theater shepherded Coney Island's transformation into New York City's playground. Its elegant style and substantial size were decidely more Broadway than Boardwalk."
Past inductees of the Coney Island Hall of Fame include such architectural wonders as the Elephant Hotel and the Parachute Jump. Pioneers and visionaries whose creativity and ingenuity helped shape and define Coney Island include George C Tilyou, founder of Steeplechase Park; Dr Martin Couney, inventor of the baby incubator; Marcus Illions, developer of the Coney Island style of carousel carving; and Granville T Woods, inventor of the figure eight roller coaster and the third rail. Coney Island Hall of Fame banners celebrating their accomplishments are among those on view at the History Project's exhibition center in Deno's Wonder Wheel Park and on our website.