Sunday, August 9, 2009

Save Coney Island !

As Vanishing New York (and others) has reported with sadness and reflection, the Coney Island that was -- Astroland, the wooden rollercoaster, architectural glimpses of the 20s to the 50s that seem frozen in time -- will soon be gone as NYC's city council has approved a plan that will raze most of this country's original amusement park for "America's largest urban amusement park, about 4,500 new apartments and a bunch of major retail establishments (New York Post)." Ka-ching! So let's look back at the beautiful Coney that was ...probably for the last time. None of these structures are landmarked (save the parachute jump, I think), though they figure prominently in the dreams and memories of millions of New Yorkers.

From Tricia who works at Coney Island: "Coney's four NYC landmarks are the Cyclone Roller Coaster and wonder Wheel (both operating rides), the Parachute Jump, and the Childs Building on the Boardwalk (home of Lola Staar's Dreamland Roller Rink. Deno's Wonder Wheel Park has a long lease and will be back for the foreseeable future as will the CIUSA sideshow). More interim amusements will be brought in next year. Despite the passage of the flawed rezoning plan in the City Council, efforts to landmark historic structures and expand the area of outdoor amusements will continue. Groups like Save Coney Island,Coney Island USA and the Coney Island History Project need your support."


48 comments:

Tricia said...

Hi, I work in Coney Island. We have 56 rides and 30 days left in the season, so please come out and help keep existing amusements alive and thriving.

Coney's four NYC landmarks are the Cyclone Roller Coaster and wonder Wheel (both operating rides), the Parachute Jump (Brooklyn's "Eiffel Tower") and the Childs Building on the Boardwalk (home of Lola Staar's Dreamland Roller Rink. Deno's Wonder Wheel Park has a long lease and will be back for the foreseeable future as will the CIUSA sideshow. More interim amusements will be brought in next year

Despite the passage of the flawedrezoning plan in the City Council, efforts to landmark historic structures and expand the area of outdoor amusements will continue. Groups like Save Coney Island,Coney Island USA and the Coney Island History Project need your support.

altadenahiker said...

I was all set to stamp my feet and pull my hair until I read the comment above. Good luck to those groups -- few things sound so blandly awful as "America's largest urban amusement park."

James said...

I been wanting to see Coney Island and get some pictures. I guess I better hurry.

Virginia said...

Awww KM, when are they gonna stop the madness up there??? Is it just me or do other people start craving a hot dog when the words "Coney Island" are mentioned? Great top shot. That red reflection is the best.
V
PS I'm glad to be home in many ways but I left my heart there for sure!

Adam said...

Great photos - with the wet weather in most of them it reminds me a lot of similar amusement parks in the UK!

Hilda said...

I've never been there but even I've heard of Coney Island and some of those rides are even familiar to me. So sad.

Melanie said...

Great coverage-I especially love the parachute jump photo.

Birdman said...

Another sad commentary on these times we live in. One of the places around NYC that I have never set foot in. Thanks for taking me there in your pictures.

Field of View said...

Nice captures ! Thanks for sharing.

EV Grieve said...

Beuatiful photos, Ken.

Jean Spitzer said...

Oh, no! Sounds less than wonderful. Unlike your photos. That first photo is especially gorgeous.

Laurie said...

DKNY in Tinpan Alley, "largest urban amusement park" at Coney Island. Is NYC doing its best to lose its elan or what? How about branding the Statue of Liberty with a Nike symbol?

I hope the restoration groups can have some impact. All this country needs is yet another Magic Mountain. (Shudders.)

Great shots, Ken.

Jarart said...

I can't get my mind around a NYC without the CI that is so famous.

Wayne said...

I always thought Manhattan was America's largest urban amusement park.

You can always count on a city council to make the wrong choice when there are big bucks involved.

DAG said...

We seem to always be losing part of Americana. As Joni sang "you don't know what you have till it's gone, They paved paradise and put up a parking lot".

Coney Island is one of those places etched in our memories. Being a silent movie buff I love the Coney Island that was, such as in Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton at Coney Island. The only "view" I had at the turn of the century Coney Island. " They don't make 'em like that anymore "

Nice post Ken.

Tricia said...

If you love Coney, please pitch in and help the Coney Island groups involved in the effort to preserve and at the same time revitalize the neighborhood. Save Coney Island, which is an advocacy group, especially needs your help

Join Save Coney Island @ http://www.saveconeyisland.net/
and follow their updates on twitter and Facebook. A recent tweet says: "We're looking to strengthen connections/share ideas w/other orgs while we plan our next steps. Any ideas of folks we should be talking to?"

Coney Island USA @ http://www.coneyisland.com/
A few years ago, this nonproft arts organization led by Coney's unofficial Mayor Dick Zigun nominated several historic structures for landmark designation. LPC failed to act on the nominations while the ULURP was in progress. Now landmarking of the Shore Theatre seems to be moving ahead. But what about Nathan's, Henderson & Grasshorn bldgs? I expect this will be the next big lobbying effort

The Coney Island History Project is a nonprofit that aims to increase awareness of Coney Island's legendary and colorful past and to encourage appreciation of the Coney Island neighborhood of today. Check out CIHP's new audio tour of Coney Island highlighting historic landmarks and sites endangered by redevelopment. The tour script is written and narrated by Charles Denson, CIHP Executive Director, Coney Island native and author of the award-winning book "Coney Island Lost & Found." You may download the tour, which is in beta, for free @
http://www.coneyislandhistory.org/index.php?g=tours

Tricia said...

oh, and did I mention I love the photos? especially the one of the Jump. Very atmospheric..

Jacob said...

I've never been there, so what I know is from what I've read or from what I've seen in photos.

It's a shame we don't seem to be able to live with the past but have to tear it down to satisfy the needs of the developer crowd - of course they buy the politicians so it's a vicious circle.

That first photo, in particular, to coin a phrase, "is one of your best"!

sonia a. mascaro said...

I've never been there but I know that Coney Island is a very famous place. Love that first photo, it is amazing!

• Eliane • said...

The rain makes it so atmospheric. Look at those neon reflections on the wet street on the first one! Love it!!!
I've finally been there a few months ago - I've been to Brighton Beach a few times, but never really felt like I was missing anything by snobbing its neighbor. Love the parachute jump, not a fan of the tackiness of the whole thing. But if you let your imagination run, it's easy to picture how charming it must have been in the beginning of last century.

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skdd said...

We went there, the four of us kids, with our parents. Charley, my brother, was actually green whence he tumbled off the wooden roller coaster. It was a pretty neat place to visit.

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Anonymous said...

The famous Coney Island Parachute Jump should operate again. Mr. Zamperla,who recently opened the new Luna Park with much success, is probably the only one who could look into operating this thrill ride again.

Why, not!!!!! Coney Island would make a fortune on this ride alone and bring Mr. Zamperla the success he truly deserves.

I hope they really operate this original landmark ride again and belive me, people will be thrilled to go there to see this ride in action again, why just picture it!!!!!

Hoping to ride the Jump in the future!!!!!!

Go Coney Island and the spectacular Luna Park!!!!!!!

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