Allan Yussim celebrating his birthday aboard Dennis Vourderis's fishing boat, 2019.

We were sad to learn that our friend Allan Yussim passed away last week at the age of 77. Allan was a really funny guy and an important member of the Deno's Wonder Wheel family where, for thirty-eight years, he was on call to help keep things running. He was a man of many talents: master electrician, carpenter, and the all around fix-it guy for the Coney Island community. In 2011, when we expanded the Coney Island History Project exhibit center, Allan was in charge of the project and did an incredible job. He also rebuilt the History Project after Hurricane Sandy and was always happy to consult on any problem we had.

Deno's Wonder Wheel Park co-owner Dennis Vourderis remembers him as his fishing buddy, and the two spent many days on the ocean catching stripers and porgies. "I am happy that I had the opportunity to be his friend and share with him the happiest days in his final years." Dennis said. "He demanded the best or nothing. His interest was only for the good of the park and for the long term. City electrical inspectors respected him and his work. I will truly miss him."

Services for Allan will be at Coney Island Memorial Chapel, W 20th Street & Mermaid Ave in Coney Island (2009 Mermaid Ave) on Friday Nov 15 from 4pm-8pm.

Allan building the Coney Island History Project exhibit center in 2011.

Veterans Monument Coney Island History Project

Today, on Veterans Day, we honor and remember those who served. There are two important veterans monuments in Coney Island that few people know about. In Asser Levy Park (Seaside Park) at Surf Avenue and Ocean Parkway sits a stone monument with brass plaques made from the the USS Maine, the battleship that sank in Havana Harbor in 1898, contributing to the outbreak of the Spanish–American War. The plaque, with President Theodore Roosevelt’s image, commemorates an encampment of Spanish-American War veterans that took place at that site in Coney Island from July 6th to 9th, 1924. The plaque was erected that year by Edward Tilyou and the Coney Island Chamber of Commerce. Across the street from the monument, at the base of a flagpole next to the Boardwalk, is a plaque honoring William J. Hennessy of 3010 West 1st Street in Coney Island, who was killed in action on October 9th, 1918 during World War I. Hennessy Triangle is at Surf Avenue and Sea Breeze Avenue. These monuments are easily overlooked, but those who served and gave their lives a century ago should be honored on this day of remembrance. 

Veterans Monument Coney Island History Project

Veterans Monument Coney Island History Project

Veterans Monument Coney Island History Project

posted Nov 11th, 2019 in History and tagged with Veterans Day, Veterans Monuments, Coney Island,...

Coney Island History Project Oral History Archive

Share and preserve your memories by recording an oral history with the Coney Island History Project. We are recording audio interviews in English, Russian, Chinese, Spanish and other languages with people who live or work - past or present - in Coney Island and adjacent Southern Brooklyn neighborhoods or have a special connection to the place. For inspiration, listen to some of the oral histories in our online archive. Interviews are recorded year-round in-person or via phone or Skype. You may schedule an appointment via our website.

posted Sep 4th, 2019 in Events and tagged with Oral History Archive, oral history, Oral Histories,...

Coney Island History Project

Coney Island historian Charles Denson joined WNYC's All Of It on August 20 to talk about the Coney Island History Project's latest exhibit, Salvation by the Sea. You may listen to the segment here. The show was guest-hosted by Nancy Giles. 

Photo credit: The Sea Breeze Hospital on Surf Avenue at West 29th Street, circa 1890s. (Coney Island History Project )


Loop the Loop Edwin Prescott

Happy Roller Coaster Day from the USA to the UK! National Roller Coaster Day commemorates Edwin Prescott's August 16, 1898 patent for a vertical Loop the Loop. The looping coaster was built in 1901 on Surf Avenue in Coney Island where the 1927 Cyclone roller coaster is now. Early this morning in the UK, Tricia Vita of the Coney Island History Project talked roller coasters and Coney Island with Paul Ross' Late Late Early Early Show on talkRADIO in London. Give a listen: 



Coney Island History Project Oral History Archive

Summer always goes by too fast! With only four more weekends till Labor Day, the Coney Island History Project announces a series of themed history weekends at our exhibition center to pique your interest in sharing your Coney Island stories. For inspiration, listen to some of the oral histories in our online archive before you visit. You may also listen to excerpts from the History Project's oral history archive at the exhibition center via our new SoundStik audio handset. 

Interviews are recorded in person during exhibition center hours- Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays thru Labor Day, 1-7 PM - or by appointment year-round. We have recorded interviews in English, Russian, Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish, Turkish and Italian!


August 10 and 11, Under the Boardwalk and On the Beach... Favorite memories, outings with family & friends, first trip to Coney Island--even if it's today--because memories are in the making.

August 17 and 18, Childhood Days... Carousel and kiddie ride memories, being tall enough to ride the Cyclone or Parachute Jump for the first time, your very first memory of Coney Island.

August 24 and 25, Neighborhood Coney Island... Did you grow up or live here? Visit family or friends who live here? Have a summer job in the amusement area or work in the neighborhood?

August 31 and September 1-2, Romantic Coney Island! Did you meet your true love in Coney Island, go on your first date or fall in love here?

The Coney Island History Project is located at 3059 West 12th Street at the entrance to Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, just a few steps off the Boardwalk. View historic artifacts, photographs, maps, ephemera and films, and this season's special exhibit "Salvation by the Sea." Admission is free of charge.

Coney Island History Project Oral History Archive
Listen to excerpts from the Coney Island History Project's oral history archive at the exhibition center via our new SoundStik audio handset.

Lead photo: Jiangxin Jin recording an oral history for the Coney Island History Project with Yi Xin Tong, an artist from China's Mount Lushan who has lived in Gravesend for six years. He describes Coney Island Creek as "the place that I can feel closest to home in New York."  Photo: Coney Island History Project

National Night Out

This Tuesday, August 6th, is National Night Out, an annual event that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie. Coney Island's 60th Precinct, PSA #1, and Transit District 34 are hosting this year's block party on our block - West 12th Street between Surf Avenue and the Boardwalk. Enjoy music, free food, bounce houses, vendors, giveaways and more from 5-8 PM. The Coney Island History Project will open our exhibition center for the event and give away souvenir buttons while supplies last. The 60th Precinct National Night Out is sponsored by Deno's Wonder Wheel and Investors Bank.

posted Aug 5th, 2019 in Events and tagged with National Night Out, Night Out New York, Night Out,...

City of Water Day

Wildlife Conservation Society volunteers visit with Charles Denson at the History Project's exhibit table; group photo of City of Water Day attendees; and Charles Denson frees a live horseshoe crab found tangled in monofilament fishing line.

On July 13, the Coney Island History Project exhibited at the 5th annual City of Water Day in Kaiser Park. Our table offered our "CreekWalk" walking tour brochures for Kaiser Park and Calvert Vaux Park, as well as the illustrated panels from the History Project's Coney Island Creek exhibit. Hundreds of community members spent a day on the shoreline of Coney Island Creek, learning about the history, future, and ecology of the once neglected waterway. The educational event was sponsored by the Coney Island Beautification Project and the Waterfront Alliance.

posted Jul 19th, 2019 in News and tagged with City of Water Day, Coney Island Creek, Kaiser Park,...

Coney Island History Project

Red, white and blue-clad visitors at the Coney Island History Project on July 4th. 

In the tradition of Coney Island's sidewalk photo studios of the past, visitors to the Coney Island History Project are invited to take free souvenir photos with Cy, the Spook-A-Rama Cyclops, and Coney Island's only original Steeplechase horse. Browse through our Flickr album to see photos from the Coney Island History Project's 15th anniversary season and previous years.

Enjoy this video recap of our 8th Annual Coney Island History Day at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park and the Coney Island History Project. This year’s event, on June 9th, celebrated Coney Island’s immigrant heritage with performances of classical ballet and Ukrainian folk dance by the Russian Ballet Theater School of Russian Ballet; Afro Haitian drumming by Gaston “Bonga” Jean-Baptiste; songs in the Turkish and Rumeli tradition by Jenny Luna; traditional Chinese dance by New York Music and Dance Organization; and mariachi music by Mariachi Real de Mexico de Ramon Ponce. 

Charles Denson, director of the Coney Island History Project spoke of the historic role that Coney Island has played in welcoming immigrants: “When immigrants sailed into New York Harbor at the turn of the last century, the first thing they saw wasn’t the Statue of Liberty; it was the towers and bright lights of Coney Island,” Denson said.

“Twenty million immigrants came through New York between 1880 and 1920. Immigrants fleeing persecution and seeking freedom didn’t find it right away. Instead they found life in stifling tenements, and backbreaking labor. Most worked long hours, six days a week. Coney Island became their escape. At Coney Island they found fresh air and affordable recreation. Coney Island became the pressure valve for New York City.”

The Coney Island History Project's programs are supported in part by public funds from the NYC Dept of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the NYC City Council, New York City Councilman Mark Treyger, and our members and contributors. 

posted Jul 1st, 2019 in Video Posts and tagged with