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Archive for March, 2011

New View

After the Demolition: New View of Surf Ave in Coney Island. February 11, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

In the words of T.S. Eliot: “April is the cruellest month…” Last April, Joe Sitt of Thor Equities announced plans to demolish the buildings he owned along Surf Avenue in Coney Island. Now when visitors step out of Stillwell Terminal, their first glimpse of Coney Island will be the blue construction fence surrounding Joe Sitt’s Wasteland–the newest empty lot in the real-estate speculator’s collection of empty lots. The temporary one-story building that Sitt filed a variety of plans to build beginning in October has yet to break ground because the DOB “DISAPPROVED” the plans as many as 16 times over the past six months.

Surf and Stillwell was the site of the now-demolished, century-old Henderson Music Hall. The Henderson had survived being cut in half in the 1920s to make way for the widening of Stillwell Avenue. When the City rezoned the parcel for a high-rise “hotel” in July 2009, the historic building was doomed, even though no hotel is scheduled to be built there anytime soon. At the end of the 2010 season, longtime tenants Popeye’s Chicken, Fascination Arcade and Maritza’s Souvenirs were booted out and haven’t been heard from since.

Thor’s proposed construction is a “ONE STORY NEW COMMERCIAL BUILDING WITH ASSEMBLY AND AMUSEMENT SPACES AS INDICATED ON PLANS FILED HEREWITH.” If you look under “plan examination” you’ll see that they have filed for a variety of types of permits (equipment, new building, general construction, foundation & earthworks, fencing) with a corresponding number of disapprovals for each.

Coney Island

Post No Bills: Thor Equities Empty Lot at Corner of Surf & Stillwell, Coney Island. February 28, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

As shown under “all permits,” they have applied for and been issued permits for Foundations, Earthwork, and a Construction Fence in connection with the project. This will allow them to do the excavation and pour the foundations for the job, even while the New Building and other applications remain disapproved.

Last April, Thor Equities released a rendering of a cheesy looking temporary one-story building occupied by hamburger and taco food joints. And a statement: “With the work we are commencing today, by Memorial Day, 2011, all of our parcels along Surf Avenue are scheduled to be activated with family-friendly games, food, shopping and other activities that visitors to, and residents of, Coney are clamoring for….”

Thinkwell rendering

Thinkwell's rendering for Thor's Temporary One-Story Building in Coney Island. April 2010

When we first read about Thor’s plan and saw the rendering in Eliot Brown’s piece in the Observer–”The New Coney Island? Sitt Sees Fast Food in Place of Current Buildings”–we thought Thinkwell, a well-known firm in the themed entertainment industry, should be renamed Thinkworst for creating this crappy rendering for the gateway to Coney Island. Thor’s plan to get demo permits from the City seemed calculated to put an end to Save Coney Island’s efforts to create an historic district in Coney Island.

Coney Island

Joe Sitt's Newest Empty Lot (Site of Demolished Henderson Building), Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Last April, ATZ complained about “Thor’s Coney Island: Tattered Tents and Deathwatch for Historic Buildings” (ATZ, April 21, 2010). The bedraggled tenting was removed and the City put up fence wraps with colorful advertisements for Coney attractions to camouflage the empty lots. We’re curious to see what kind of bills if any will be posted on Thor’s blue construction fence. Posters for Aqueduct Flea by the Sea?

UPDATE April 4, 2011:

Some readers have questioned whether Thor Equities ever really intended to build anything on the site. Were the building plans just an excuse to get a permit to demolish the Henderson? Why didn’t Thor’s architects resubmit a plan that would win DOB approval? Six months of disapprovals seems like an inordinately long time.

ATZ asked someone in the building trade to take a look at the DOB page and give an opinion. Here it is: it IS strange that they had so many disapprovals for what seems like such a simple building, and i have to think that if they are proceeding with foundations, they either think they are about to get the new building application approved, or they are sensing some change in the regulatory environment and want to get the foundations in so that they can claim to be “vested”. who knows what that would be in this case, but does seem like a lot of trouble to go thru for a one story building (am sure they’re thinking the same thing).

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December 20, 2010: Displaced Queens Flea Vendors Eye Coney Island’s Vacant Lots

September 24, 2010: Coney Island Cat Is Last Tenant of Henderson Building

April 21, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Tattered Tents, Deathwatch for Historic Buildings

June 7, 2010: Fence Wrap Advertising Comes to Coney Island’s Stillwell Avenue

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View of Stillwell Avenue East in Coney Island. February 28, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Is Thor Equities defunct Flea by the Sea about to become Aqueduct by the Sea? The City’s and Central Amusement International’s new Scream Zone amusement park may be getting a flea market as a next-door neighbor. The buzz in Coney Island is that the vendors from the displaced Aqueduct Flea Market are prepared to lease Thor’s Stillwell Avenue lots, which are adjacent to the City-owned land. The tent frames from 2009’s Flea by the Sea remain standing, though the lots were vacant last season. If all goes smoothly with the process of securing permits from the City, vendors from the City’s largest flea market may set up their wares on property next to the new high thrill rides. Um, so was this part of the Coney Island Development Corporation’s Strategic Plan? Is shopping at a flea by the sea what the city planner really meant by “entertainment retail”?

Since ATZ first reported the news in “Displaced Queens Flea Vendors Eye Coney Island’s Vacant Lots” (ATZ, December 20, 2010), nobody has followed up on the story. But Queens vendors who are coming to check out the Coney Island location helped keep the story alive for me. I figured the rumored deal would fall through due to high rent and onerous lease terms. Hey, maybe it will still fall through! Last May, Tennessee-based Universal Fairs plan to lease Thor’s lots for an amusement park fell through for those very reasons. The flea management is currently working to secure the permits. To be clear, it is not the operator of the Aqueduct Flea Market, but individuals who helped manage the flea market and know how to run such a business, who are trying to put together the deal.

Coney Island hasn’t seen a flea market since 2009, when Thor Equities inflicted Festival by the Sea aka Flea by the Sea on Stillwell Avenue. The flea market featured an array of incongruous items and was a spectacular flop. Just look at my Flea by the Sea flickr set –automotive supplies, bathtub remodeling, shoes galore at anchor store #7. Yeah, they had cheap sunglasses, cellphone cases, T-shirts and beach towels, too.

Shoes Galore at Anchor Store # 7 at Joe Sitt's Flea by the Sea. July 12, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

In 2001, the Giuliani administration repeatedly ticketed and finally got rid of the flea market that had operated on the north side of Surf since the 1980s. The headline in the Daily News read “CONEY SMALL BIZ BLITZ STORM OF TICKETS TIED TO DEBUT OF CYCLONES.” One vendor alludes to the previously unenforced zoning: “The city is telling us that we’re in the wrong zone. We’ve been in this wrong zone for 25 years, and now they say we have to stop doing business.”

At Thor’s flea market, I felt really sad walking on the hallowed ground where amusements had existed for more than 100 years until Joe Sitt bought the property and bulldozed everything. Stillwell Avenue, where the Tornado Roller coaster (1927-1977), the Bobsled (1941-1974), and Stauch’s Baths and Dance Hall (1930-1998) once stood, where Norman Kaufman’s Batting Range and Go Kart City amused the zillion until Joe Sitt emptied out the amusements.

This is not the place for a flea market. Some people would say to me, well it’s better than an empty lot. I can’t agree. Sadly, many amusement operators tried but failed to rent the property from Thor. I always felt the gi-normous enclosed tents were part of Thor Equities strategy to win a variance for 10,000 square foot retail from the next administration. The City made a huge mistake not to have driven a better bargain with Joe Sitt and bought all of Stillwell instead of merely half of it.

Thor Equities Flea Market in Coney Island. June 6, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

UPDATE April 5, 2011:

ATZ learned that event organizer Will McCarthy, who already applied for a Temporary Place of Assembly Permit for the market from the DOB, will meet with City officials on Thursday in hopes of speeding along necessary approvals from the FDNY and DEP. Sources say a meeting with the Brooklyn Borough President to discuss the “BK Festival’s” plans is also on this week’s schedule. Read more at “Thor’s Coney Island: Joe Sitt Scores Puff Piece in NY Times,” ATZ, April 5, 2011.

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May 26, 2011: Thor’s Coney Island: Aqueduct Flea Vendors Make Dismal Debut

May 4, 2011: Thor Equities Touts Coney Island as “RETAIL RIDE of a LIFETIME”

May 13, 2010: Scoop: Deal to Rent Thor’s Coney Island Lots a No-Go for Fair Producer

March 3, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: What Stillwell Looked Like Before Joe Sitt

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Die Cut Tag from Coney Island's Bostock Arena in Dreamland circa 1904. Courtesy of eBay Seller monsonantiques

We’ve been too busy to blog the past few days, much less browse on eBay. Luckily we found out about the auction of this century-old souvenir of Coney Island’s Bostock Arena via the blog ephemera. The circa 1904 tag depicts famed animal trainer and menagerist Frank C Bostock, whose show was a featured attraction at Coney Island’s Dreamland Park. The reverse side of the tag trumpets the 25-cent show as “Positively the Most Wonderful Wild Animal Exhibition in the World” and notes that “All Bostock’s Patrons Enter Dreamland Free.”

Seller monsonantiques has this rare item up for bid on eBay, where four bidders are vying for it in an auction that ends on Wednesday, March 23rd. The high bid is currently over $150, but that’s peanuts. We’ve seen tickets and advertising tags for Coney’s early rides and attractions sell for several hundred dollars. Good luck to everyone who plans to jump in!

Bostock was a third-generation showman who came to New York from his native England in 1893. He and his partners the Ferari Brothers first set up their carnival on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn and then moved to Coney Island. The show featured animal acts, sideshow curiosities, concession games, and such early amusement rides as an English gondola and a carousel.

According to the University of Sheffield’s National Fairground Archive, “The elaborate carved fronts of the wild animal shows Frank Bostock brought from England, some of them made by Burton-upon-Trent company Orton and Spooner, served as the prototype for wagon-mounted show fronts on American carnivals for the next half century.” Since the company toured New England in 1896, historians credit Bostock and his partners with introducing the traveling carnival concept to America. As a former carny kid, this aspect of Bostock’s career holds greater interest for me than his exploits as the best-known lion tamer of his day or his many narrow escapes from death.

If you’d like to read an engaging biographical essay, we recommend “Frank C. Bostock – The Animal King of Abney Park Cemetery.” Bostock died of the flu in England in 1912, more than a year after the fire that destroyed Coney Island’s Dreamland Park. His tomb at Stoke Newington in London is a magnificent marble lion.

UPDATE March 24, 2011:

The tag sold for $386.99 with the winning bid placed in the last few seconds of the auction!

Bostock Arena, Dreamland, Coney Island, N.Y. circa 1905. Library of Congress

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March 9, 2011: Inexhaustible Cows & Bottomless Cups of Chocolate Milk

January 24, 2011: Artifact of the Day: Souvenir of Henderson’s Restaurant

December 19, 2010: Rare & Vintage: Original Coney Island Motordrome Bike

November 16, 2009: Rare & Vintage: Coney Island Sideshow Banner by Dan Casola

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We’ve always enjoyed the rock poetry of Garland Jeffreys, especially Wild in the Streets (1973) and Hail Hail Rock ‘N’ Roll (1992). The good news is “The King Of In Between,” his first album in 13 years, will be released this spring. The Brooklyn-born singer songwriter grew up in Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach and Coney Island, and his new single “Coney Island Winter” riffs on the 22 stops to the City from his boyhood home. The lyrics, which are posted below, are as sharp and biting as the wind on the Boardwalk. Give a listen…

“Coney Island Winter” by Garland Jeffreys

Vanity strikes
Humility speaks
Insanity lives on the edge of the streets
This is a story, it happens every day
Politicians kiss my ass
Your promises they break like glass
Royalty looks down
Me, I want to kiss the ground
Twenty-two stops to the city
Twenty-two stops to the city
Twenty-two stops to the city
Twenty-two stops
Freezin’ cold no time to weep
Boardwalk’s dead on a midnight creep
It’s colder than a polar bear
But I don’t care

Coney Island Winter
Coney Island Winter

Woman walks down the street
Tears come rollin’ down her face
Frozen on her cheeks
Steeplechase, no time to waste
Heaven blessed, heaven sent
Hark the angels, can’t pay the rent
Jobs are gone, they came and went
All the money has been spent
All the games are broken down
Rust is fallin’ to the ground
They say they’re going to fix this town
Straight from City Hall

Coney Island winter
Coney Island winter

Last stop off for the Iron Horse
Ride shuts down on a winter course
Round and round, round and round
On the Ferris Wheel comes to a stop
Standin’ on Mermaid and Surf
Shutters have been shut
Colder than a knife that cut
Streets of summer
Coney Island strut
I’m on a mission of my own
Don’t wanna die on stage
With a microphone in my hand

Coney Island winter
Coney Island winter
Coney Island winter
Coney Island winter

© Garland Jeffreys

You can download “Coney Island Winter” on itunes or Amazon via links on Garland Jeffreys’ website. Jeffreys is scheduled to perform at Stony Brook University (March 20), the Highline Ballroom (April 30) and Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble in Woodstock (May 7). Hail Hail Rock ‘N’ Roll! Here’s a classic performance via YouTube…

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January 8, 2011: Music Video: Strange Powers by the Magnetic Fields

December 7, 2010: New Music Video: Little Silver’s Where We Met

November 30, 2010: Video: The Wanted’s Lose My Mind at Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel Park

August 27, 2010: Video: Coney Island Dancing by Jim McDonnell

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Lefty Lucy

Lefty Lucy celebrating her win at the Miss Coney Island Burlesque Pageant. September 17, 2010. Photo © NY_Man via flickr

What’s it like to be Miss Coney Island 2011? ATZ asked Lefty Lucy, who won the title in September at the 8th annual burlesque beauty pageant and is halfway into her reign.  Her predecessors are such luminaries of the New York sideshow and burlesque scene as Bambi the Mermaid, Insectavora Angelica, Julie Atlas Muz, Ekaterina, Serpentina, Gal Friday and Gigi LaFemme. The Great Fredini, who runs Coney Island USA’s Burlesque at the Beach, explains: “Bambi carefully curates the Miss Coney Island Pageant herself. We usually have 8 to 12 competitors and I emcee the show with a band. It’s run in a classic beauty pageant format with segments for runway, talent, lineup, etc. The thing is you just never know who will take it because the audience in the theater votes to decide who the new Miss Coney Island will be. So it’s really about who the audience loves the most. It’s very Coney Island!”

Q: When you were crowned Miss Coney Island, you looked very surprised. What is the secret of your success?

A: I was surprised! While I’ve been a performer all my life, I’ve only been performing burlesque for just over 2 years. The Miss Coney Island Burlesque Beauty Pageant has been an inspiration to me for years now; it was THE destination for my birthday for almost all of the past 6 years! I think that helped, really, as far as the “secret to my success” is concerned. Since I have seen the pageant, I had a pretty good sense of what a Coney Island audience wants. Coney Island lovers tend to be funny, original, sincere, and full of joy. The competitors who stuck with me over the years (Minnie Tonka, Nasty Canasta, Trixie Little) each had strong gimmicks that reflected who they are, and by being themselves they reflected the Coney Island spirit. I just tried to be true to me and also entertain.

Lefty Lucy

Emcee Fred Kahl intros Lefty Lucy. Miss Coney Island Burlesque Pageant, September 17, 2010. Photo © NY_Man via flickr

Q: How has being Miss Coney Island changed your everyday life?  Are there any official duties or perks that come with the title?

A: I get to be involved in shows I haven’t been in before, like the big Spring Gala on Thursday, April 28. I also got a banner painted by Coney Island USA’s artist in residence, Marie Roberts, which is absolutely stunning. As for official duties, they primarily include producing a few shows at Sideshows by the Seashore and heading the Mermaid Parade as the Queen of Coney Island. I co-produced “Mr. and Ms. Coney Island Play Favorites” with the reigning King of Coney Island, Glenn Marla and we’re hoping we get to do a few more before my time is up! Beyond that, I’m working with Bambi the Mermaid to create a Wikipedia entry and Facebook page for Miss Coney Island, trying to coordinate some big press pushes for the season this summer, and making sure that New Yorkers know that Coney Island is still alive and kicking.

Lefty Lucy

Lefty Lucy as a Robot in Sweet & Nasty Burlesque at Coney Island USA. Banner by Marie Roberts. October 7, 2010. Photo © NY_Man via flickr

Q: Your costumes in the pageant were a knockout!  One photographer wrote on flickr: “I am really impressed by this girl. Three interesting costume changes and silver make-up put on and removed!” Tell us a little about the inspiration for and creation of the costumes. Did you make them yourself?

A: Thank you! I am an incredibly lucky girl. One of my best friends of all time, David Withrow (DW professionally), is a brilliant costume designer. He and I both like to have a narrative in costumes, and once I settled on doing a brand new robot act for the show, I decided I wanted all of my looks to be robot inspired. The robot act costume I made out of duct tape and tin foil. It is sort of an homage to the costumes I grew up seeing on the Twilight Zone. For the gown, DW suggested doing a take on the Metropolis robot, and we decided to use all of the iconic architecture of Coney Island to emphasize that concept. We built that headdress the day of the show using foam core, toothpicks, and silver sharpies! Glamorous, no? Then for the swimsuit portion of the competition, I decided to go 60s Fembot, which is why I’m all pink and gogo-tastic. What you don’t see are my bullet pasties under the bra!

Miss Coney Island

Bambi the Mermaid with the newly crowned Miss Coney Island Lefty Lucy. Miss Coney Island Burlesque Pageant. September 17, 2010. Photo © NY_Man via flickr

Q: Are zany costumes your trademark?  You portrayed the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters in Epic Win Burlesque, Lot’s Wife as the Morton Salt Girl in Storybook Burlesque’s version of the Bible. Tell us about the costumes.  Do you ever get any ideas that are too over the top?

A: hahaha yes, Mr. Stay Puft was a fun one, for sure. It’s made of this awful gummy insulated fabric that we found on discount. I don’t know what it is supposed to be used for, but it’s perfect for a marshmallow man. The first two times I did the act, I filled the costume with marshmallows so every time I tore a piece off, marshmallows flew in to the audience. It was a lot of fun. Morton Salt Girl was easy as she has such an iconic look; the hard part was figuring out what she would wear under the dress!

Lefty Lucy

Lefty Lucy as the Morton Salt Girl/Lot's Wife in Storybook Burlesque's Bible Show II. December 3, 2010. Photo © Eric Harvey Brown/dogseat via flickr

I wouldn’t say that zany costumes are my trademark, but zany concepts definitely are. As I’m getting deeper into burlesque, I’m becoming less afraid of dreaming big. I love burlesque, and I love when I see someone take something off in an unexpected way. There’s an inherent sense of playfulness to much of my burlesque, and I think having costumes that can be removed in unique ways helps engage the audience and lets them partake in the fun I am having on stage. It makes burlesque more like a magic trick, and why go to live performance if not to experience magic?

As for ideas that are too over the top, I have them all the time! Some we make come true, like Mr. Stay Puft and my wall costume. For Storybook Burlesque’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play within a Play within a Burlesque show, I played the Wall, and did an Elizabethan take on the look. I had “walls” sticking out of my hips as panniers, and a cage bodice with bricks framing it that are removed throughout the act. Other acts I dream up are not possible now, but I’m still trying to find ways to make them happen. I’d love to do an act using the sort of wheel that knife throwers use, but I would be a record. You wouldn’t see a person at all until pieces began being removed and I would be revealed, attached to this spinning upright record. These wheels aren’t the sort of thing you can find on Craigslist, though, so that will definitely have to wait.

Lefty Lucy

Lefty Lucy in Storybook Burlesque's Midsummer Night's Dream. July 29, 2010. Photo © Matt Bresler via flickr

Q: Your bio says that you made your burlesque debut in the New York School of Burlesque Showcase in January 2009 at the Slipper Room.  What was your favorite part of the curriculum?  What inspired you to enroll in NYSB?

A: The first class I ever took with the NYSB was a 4 week intensive covering all of the basics of burlesque: pasty making and tassel twirling, the glove peel, stocking peel, etc. with Jo “Boobs” Weldon as teacher. It was incredibly freeing and I learned SO much. I don’t have a dance background, and this class helped me become comfortable with movement and feeling sexy instead of silly or self conscious. But my favorite part was tassel twirling, hands down. I took to it like a fish to water, and Jo called me a freak for getting it as quickly as I did.

What brought me to the NYSB was really what got me in to burlesque. It’s a long story, but it’s partially inspired by Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog and an application I was filling out to become a member of the Evil League of Evil. I needed an outlet, and burlesque was a perfect fit. My friend Dave had a huge crush on Jo and told me about the school, so I looked online and signed up immediately.

Lefty Lucy

Lefty Lucy in Storybook Burlesque's Midsummer Night's Dream. July 29, 2010. Photo © Eric Harvey Brown/dogseat via flickr

Q: How did you come up with your stage name “Lefty Lucy”?   What is your background and how does it inform your personality as a burlesque performer?

A: Before I took my first class, I knew I was going to need a name. I was going in a totally different direction, basing my ideas off of my muggle name, but Dave (the one who had a crush on Jo) pointed out that all of the options I was coming up with sounded more drag than burlesque. I made a list of who I wanted to model my performance style after, and I immediately thought of all the time I spent watching I Love Lucy as a kid. I also have a background in theater, from on stage to being a techie, and I would be nowhere without “Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty”! I Googled the name and (at the time) only found a band with the name, so it seemed ok for me to use it. I got lucky considering how much I didn’t know at the time about burlesque names. A lot of people pick a clever name they love, only to discover there are 10 other women around the world with names that sound similar, and it can be very frustrating. But Lefty Lucy is unique to me, and I love that.

Lefty Lucy

Lefty Lucy as Mr Stay Puft in Sweet & Nasty Burlesque at Coney Island USA. October 7, 2010. Photo © NY_Man via flickr

Q: Your comedic flair and range of facial expressions reminded me of Lucille Ball.  Is Lucy one of the inspirations for your stage persona Lefty Lucy?

A: That is an incredible compliment! Thank you! And yes, she is absolutely an inspiration.

Q: What’s your favorite episode or scene from I Love Lucy?

A: I think my absolute favorite is the one Harpo Marx is on. The Duck Soup mirror bit is classic and hilarious! I also love when Lucy tries to make the apartment feel like Cuba for Ricky, and does a great Carmen Miranda bit. I pay homage to that scene in one of my acts.

Q Who are some of your other heroines?

A: The two icons who got me through high school were Lucille Ball and Marilyn Monroe. They are still huge inspirations for me today, along with Goldie Hawn, Debbie Harry, Cyndi Lauper, and Ann Margaret. As for real-life heroines, Little Brooklyn is my all-time favorite performer. Her comedic timing and command of an audience is unbelievable, and her ideas are brilliant and spot-on. I also really admire BB Heart, who is one of my friends and co-founder of Storybook Burlesque. Her work is incredibly inspiring and uniquely her, which is fantastic.

Q: You’re a founding member of Storybook Burlesque, which is described as “literary burlesque” inspired by storybooks, including tabloids, the Bible, Shakespeare and Doctor Seuss. Which stories do you find inspiring and why?

A: I love Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and Peter Pan the most. I love the imagery and fanciful elements of Alice, not to mention all of the satire and social commentary involved. Peter Pan has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid; I always dreamt of being able to fly (and playing the part Mary Martin made famous!). Both books really get you out of the everyday and into your own imagination which is one of the most important things you can be in touch with as a performer. They make me want to be extraordinary, and to help others do it too. My favorite novel is Chuck Palahniuk’s Rant. He is one of very few authors who takes advantage of the uniqueness of books as a medium, and introduces you to characters that you only later discover look differently than you had imagined. I love this because it pushes me to reconsider the assumptions I make and why I make them, and also because it’s something any visual medium simply can’t do. I love artists who take advantage of what makes their medium special.

Lefty Lucy

Lefty Lucy in Storybook Burlesque's Dr Seuss Show. Banner by Marie Roberts. February 10, 2011. Photo © Eric Harvey Brown/dogseat via flickr

Lefty Lucy is Miss Coney Island 2011 and a founding member of Storybook Burlesque, which will be presenting Grimm’s Fairy Tales in Summer 2011. She is a member of Epic Win Burlesque, which is debuting their newest show, Rated R for Violence, on April 22nd & 23rd at the Tank, and will be performing as part of Nerdapalooza in Orlando on July 16. She also co-produces Drive Thru Burlesque with Sizzle Dizzle. Drive Thru Burlesque is a monthly 5 hour burlesque extravaganza one Friday a month at the Parkside Lounge.

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November 25, 2010: Happy Belated Birthday to Harpo Marx

October 21, 2010: Halloween In Coney Island: Behind the Scenes at Creep Show at the Freak Show

December 1, 2009: TLC’s Cake Boss Sweet on Marie Roberts’ Coney Island Sideshow Banners

July 6, 2009: Q & A with Zoltar: Coney Island Mermaid Parade’s Best Fortunetelling Float!

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/27469924@N06/5514450245/

Vintage Sign inside Denny's Ice Cream, Coney Island. February 28, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

After Denny’s Ice Cream Shop opens in April, we’ll be sure to post a close-up of their to die-for pistachio-banana soft serve in a sugar cone. With sprinkles on top! For now, here’s a vintage hand-painted sign that we just happened to see for the first time the other day. Passing by the Surf Avenue store, we found the metal shutter open a smidgen and called out a hello. Denny’s owner Dennis Corines rolled up the gate and invited us inside, where he and a helper were busy getting ready for the season’s opening day.

Denny has owned and operated the ice cream shop for 33 years, but it turns out the sign has been there even longer. How long? One Coney Islander tells ATZ that it was painted 40 years ago by Alex and Ethel Cohen, a couple whose first sign-painting shop was across from P.S. 239, now Mark Twain Junior High. The husband’s job was the lettering, the wife did the art. So much of Coney Island’s vernacular signage has been destroyed or is endangered by redevelopment, we’re happy to discover one sign that is safe and given pride of place.

Denny’s Ice Cream, 1212 Surf Avenue near Stillwell, Coney Island. 718-266-9371

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March 9, 2011: Paul’s Daughter: “We love Coney Island and we love what we do”

October 28, 2010: Photo Album: Requiem for Coney Island’s Shoot Out the Star

September 29, 2010: Saved or Not? Signs from Coney Island’s Henderson Building

September 12, 2010: Video: Coney Island’s Faber’s Fascination by Charles Denson

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Historian Charles Denson’s latest video on his Coneyologist channel is “Cyclone Roller Coaster: Four Seasons.” This behind-the-scenes look at Coney Island’s landmark roller coaster lets you walk the tracks–summer and winter–and get up close to the machinery in the motor room. The soundtrack is awesome! Denson is director of the Coney Island History Project and the author of Coney Island: Lost and Found and Wild Ride: A Coney Island Roller Coaster Family.

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January 27, 2011: Video: Coney Island: Secrets of the Universe by Charles Denson

January 15, 2011: ATZ Saturday Matinee: Shorty at Coney Island

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