Tara Altebrando

Author of Dreamland Social Club, a novel set in Coney Island, who got engaged on the Wonder Wheel

Tara Altebrando is a native New Yorker who rediscovered what a magical place Coney Island was when she was in her 20's. The author of 11 novels, she says her favorite is Dreamland Social Club, which is set in Coney Island and was published in 2011. "It had to do with this idea that Coney Island is always two places at once. How it's the Coney that it is now, but also, its whole history seems to be like right there under the surface for you at all times," says the author. "It's the story of a girl who inherits her grandfather's old house on Coney Island and moves there, not really knowing anything about the place or about her family's carny ancestry."

Tara talks about how iconic places in Coney Island, past and present, inspired and provided a backdrop for the story of Dreamland Social Club. She also shares memories of a first date on the Cyclone and getting engaged on the Wonder Wheel in 2004. During the pandemic, Tara and her husband Nick began adapting the novel into a stage musical with her 13-year old daughter singing the part of the main character Jane. The interview ends with a demo of the first song from the show, "Introducing Normal Girl," in which Jane has just arrived in Coney Island to move into her grandfather's old house.