“Henderson’s and Inman’s still offer the cream of the vaudeville acts to be seen at Coney Island…” according to a story in The New York Dramatic Mirror back in the summer of 1898. Both music halls are long gone from Coney Island’s Henderson’s Walk and the Walk itself is now a private parking lot thanks to property owner Joe Sitt’s demolition of the Shore Hotel and the Henderson Building. Henderson’s and Inman’s are among dozens of entertainment venues in old Coney Island catalogued in the newly published The Brooklyn Theatre Index Vol III. The third volume of theater historian Cezar Del Valle’s borough-wide opus covers Coney Island, Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach.
Del Valle’s area of expertise is New York City popular entertainment between 1850 and the 1950s, including special emphasis on actual theater buildings. The book project began with listings compiled over a 25-year-period by Dario Marotta, whose interest in theater history was inspired by a photo of his late uncle standing in front of his nickelodeon in Williamsburgh circa 1912. Marotta never discovered the location of his uncle’s theater, proving the ephemeral nature of many of these venues. In 2002, he gave his research to Del Valle, who kept the information on file for use in articles, talks, and walking tours. Eventually he began adding to the listings with library and internet research of his own at the Theatre Historical Society of America’s Michael Miller Collection.
Del Valle also pored over newspaper clipping files in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle “morgue,” which is housed in over 150 filing cabinets at the Brooklyn Public Library. “Both Marotta and Miller had problems researching Coney Island. I was fortunate because more and more publications became available online, between 2010-2014, and these were searchable,” Del Valle told ATZ. “Trade publications like Variety and The New York Clipper are now available along with a staggering number of newspapers.”
Henderson’s Music Hall. Staley’s Views of Coney Island by Frank W. Staley, 1907. Cezar Del Valle Collection
The 250-page book is organized alphabetically by street name with the Bowery and Surf Avenue having the lion’s share of performing venues. Among the quaintly named places are Perry’s Glass Pavilion, a music hall and Continue Reading »
Posted in Books, Reading & Writing | Tagged book review, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn Theatre Index, Cezar Del Valle, Coney Island, Manhattan Beach, theater, theater history | Leave a Comment »
Alex’s Tomato Farm from Carlisle, NY, at Coney Island Farmer’s Market, November 16, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita
There’s no funnel cake for sale this time of year in Coney Island, but you can get Brussels sprouts on the stalk. The Coney Island Farmers’ Market is on Surf Avenue at West 16th Street in front of MCU every Sunday from July to mid-November. Hours are 7am through 3pm, but Alex’s Tomato Farm was still there when we strolled by after 4 on Sunday.
Alex’s Tomato Farm from Carlisle, NY, at Coney Island Farmer’s Market, November 16, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita
Related posts on ATZ…
April 6, 2014: Photo of the Day: Miss Coney Island’s Dancing Cat
March 25, 2013: Photo of the Day: Palms on Palm Sunday in Coney Island
December 23, 2012: Photo of the Day: It’s a Wrap at Tom’s Coney Island
June 9, 2011: Photo of the Day: Mango Vendor in Coney Island
Posted in Photo of the Day, Photography | Tagged Alex's Tomato Farm, Coney Island, Coney Island Farmers' Market, Farmers market, MCU Park | Leave a Comment »
Coney Island Brewing Co has applied for a brewer’s license at the 1904 Surf Ave store formerly occupied by Danny Boy’s Pizza. November 16, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita
The Coney Island Brewing Company, which relaunched a year ago after being sold to Alchemy & Science, a division of Samuel Adams, has applied for a license to open a brewery at 1904 Surf Avenue in Coney Island, sources tell ATZ. The new brewery will mark a return to Coney for the namesake brand, which under Shmaltz Brewing ownership operated the “World’s Smallest Brewery” in a tiny storefront next to the freak show. That brewery was part of Coney Island USA’s small business incubator program from 2011 until it got washed away by Sandy. The new retail space at 1904 Surf on the outside of MCU Park was formerly occupied by Danny Boy’s Pizza and is adjacent to Peggy O’Neill’s and the MCU Credit Union.
“We’re not ready to make an official announcement, there is paperwork still being processed,” Kathleen Barnes of the Coney Island Brewing Company told ATZ. According to the New York State Liquor Authority, the application was filed on September 26 and is pending. The NYSLA has no set timetable for approval, but after a brewer’s license is granted, the permittee has the option of Continue Reading »
Posted in Food & Drink | Tagged Alchemy and Science, brewery, Coney Island Brewing Company, Craft beer, MCU Park, Sam Adams, Surf Avenue | 3 Comments »
Dewey Albert Place and Milton Berger Place, Surf Ave and W 10th St, Coney Island. November 16, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita
Have you ever looked up at the names immortalized on the street signs in front of the Cyclone roller coaster and wondered– who are Dewey Albert and Milton Berger? ATZ’s compendium of Coney Island’s Honorary Walks and Places, both official and unofficial, includes Coney Island luminaries of the past as well as the present-day paparazzi of People’s Playground Paparazzi Plaza. While there are no streets in Coney named after women, two powerful women in the Bloomberg administration had the rare honor of having new rides named after them.
Dewey Albert Place, Surf Ave and W 10th st, Coney Island. November 16, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita
Honorary street namings are sponsored by New York City Council members, voted upon by the Council and signed into law by the Mayor. “Proposed honorees must be individuals who are deceased and of significant importance to New York City,” according to the City Council. In June 1997, in recognition of the work and life of Dewey Albert, founder of Astroland, and in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Cyclone Roller Coaster, 10th Street between Surf Avenue and the Boardwalk was named Dewey Albert Place. Continue Reading »
Posted in amusement park, Visitor Info | Tagged Denos D. Vourderis Place, Dewey Albert Place, Granville T. Woods Way, Jones Walk, Lynn Kelly, Milton Berger Place, People's Playground Paparazzi Plaza, Polar Bear Club Walk, Ruby Jacobs Place, Tricia Zenobio | 4 Comments »
This weekend is your last chance to dance with the life-size dancing doll “Miss Coney Island” and enjoy the miniature animated rides of “Coney Island Always” before they close for the year. These independently owned amusements cost only 25 cents each and are located on West 12th Street off the Boardwalk, beneath Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park.
When ATZ “interviewed” Miss Coney after she moved from Jones Walk in 2012, it was revealed that in a past life she was an Indian princess automaton at Connecticut’s Great Danbury Fair. Though you’d never guess it after her glam makeover, this doll dates back to the 1930s. The shimmying mannequin is a magnet for visiting divas. Catch her at 2:20 in Beyonce’s music vid XO and with Rita Ora in a fashion shoot for Vibe Magazine. Miss Coney Island’s taglines on twitter are “Don’t Postpone Joy” and “25 cents to fall in LOVE.” Continue Reading »
Posted in Amusement Game, amusement park, Artifacts | Tagged automaton, Coney Island, Coney Island Always, dancing doll, Miss Coney Island | 1 Comment »
Ad for a Chance Turbo ride in Zhejiang, China, which recently sold to an amusement park in Canada via usedrides.com. November 7, 2014
A surreal-looking amusement ride from the 1970′s called the Turbo has hundreds of devoted fans ready to schedule their vacations and travel to distant places for its comeback. Though only 23 Turbos were manufactured by Chance Rides from 1970 through 1976, and none are currently in operation, two are being lovingly restored in California and Australia. The 635 members of the Turbo Amusement Ride Fan Club, a private group on Facebook, are eagerly awaiting the chance to go for a retro spin.
A few days ago, when an ad for a Turbo for sale in Zhejiang, China appeared on usedrides.com, excitement ensued. The price: $49,000. No sooner were the pros and cons of a crowdfunding campaign to buy it being discussed than ATZ learned from the seller that the ride, which had been brought from Australia a decade ago, had sold to a park in Canada. “Playland in Vancouver,” seller Jack Su told ATZ via email. A call to the park seeking comment has yet to be returned.
UPDATE, November 14: ATZ just received confirmation from PNE Maintenance Supervisor Peter Tremblay that Playland Vancouver has indeed purchased the Turbo from China and expects it to debut in 2016. Will the PNE modify their plan to replace the iconic buckets as the overhaul of the ride moves forward? It is always controversial when a park Continue Reading »
Posted in Amusement ride, historic preservation | Tagged Chance Rides, Classic Rides Amusements, Derek Wise, Facebook group, Gerald L Barber, Jerry Baque, Jerry Barber, Mark Hackett, Playland, Turbo, Vancouver | 8 Comments »
In 1905, when Coney Island had a trio of three grand amusement parks–Steeplechase, Luna and Dreamland–popular attractions included a scenic railway that transported visitors to the North Pole, Africa, the Grand Canyon and Hades, and live shows such as a Midget City and Dr. Couney’s Infant Incubators. “None of this season’s novelties at Coney Island is better worth seeing than the Igorrote Village in Luna Park,” wrote a Brooklyn Eagle reporter of a brand-new attraction where nearly naked, tattooed tribespeople from the Philippines entertained the masses by performing dances and rituals. “For obvious reasons the surroundings of the Filipino headhunter are not so realistic as at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition last summer, but otherwise the exhibition has the same impression in its sheer contrast of savages with civilized people,” said the reporter.
Journalist Claire Prentice scoured innumerable archives to piece together and vividly bring to life this fascinating, long-forgotten episode of amusement park history in her new book The Lost Tribe of Coney Island. Touted as “headhunting, dog-eating savages” by the press, the Igorrotes were a show biz sensation and a gold mine for their increasingly unscrupulous manager Truman K. Hunt, the former lieutenant governor of Bontoc. He obtained permission from the U.S. government to bring the group to America after having managed the government’s own Igorrote Village at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. The exhibits were “used to push the case that America had a duty to protect, educate and civilize such savage beings, and later, when the treatment they experienced became a national scandal, they were used to argue that America had no place in the Philippines at all,” writes Prentice.
“Uncle Sam” and the Igorrotes at Luna Park, June 1905. The New York Tribune
Upon arrival at Luna Park in May, the Igorrotes energetically built and rebuilt the thatched huts of their Village and presented “an amusement park version of their daily lives.” Hunt staged sham romances and weddings and a fake dog-napping as publicity stunts. At home, the Igorrotes feasted on dog meat for special occasions but were forced to eat it daily in Coney Island Continue Reading »
Posted in Books, Reading & Writing | Tagged Bontoc, book review, Claire Prentice, Coney Island, Dreamland, Igorot, Igorrote, Igorrotes, Luna Park, Philippines, The Lost Tribe of Coney Island | Leave a Comment »