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Archive for September, 2009

Floss & Apples at San Gennaro. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Floss & Apples at San Gennaro. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Last Friday marked ATZ’s first weekend away from Coney Island and first weekend off since Memorial Day! After winding up the season at the People’s Playground on September 13, we soon began to miss the noise and the crowds. We headed over to the closest carnival—the 82nd Annual Feast of San Gennaro.

Strolling along Mulberry Street from Houston to Canal, we met quite a few Coney Islanders who’d brought their games, sideshows and food stands to Little Italy. In fact, the stand where we finally stopped for calamari because it looked the most appetizing turned out to be owned by the proprietors of Gyro Corner on Coney Island’s Boardwalk. Different menu in Little Italy, thanks to Mama’s sauce.

Carnival Rides on Grand Street. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Carnival Rides on Grand Street. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Hit the Hammer, Ring the Bell. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Monica from Dreamland. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Lucys Fabulous Marquee. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Lucy's Fabulous Marquee. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Lucy’s Palace is famous for their sausage sandwiches, but I was struck by the fabulous hand-painted marquee on their vintage trailer. A lot on Mulberry was filled with game concessionaires from Surf Ave and Dreamland and a trio of single-o’s direct from Coney Island. Kima “The Elephant Woman” made her sideshow debut this summer in Coney at John Strong’s Strangest Show on Earth. A ten-in-one sideshow with some former Coney freaks including Eak the Geek was there early in the week. You just never know who or what will turn up at this 10 day extravaganza in the narrow streets of Little Italy. This is the place where Coney Island’s world famous Shoot the Freak got its start!

Direct from Coney Island! Stephen was the talker at the Elephant Woman's single-o.  Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Direct from Coney Island! Stephen was the talker at one of the single-o's. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Toy Store Amusements Festival Wheel at San Gennaro. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Toy Store Amusements Festival Wheel at San Gennaro. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Toy Store Amusements’ Festival Wheel and three kiddie rides nudged up against the apartment buildings on Grand Street. In the increasingly gentrified streets of New York City, amusement rides at street fairs are becoming a rare sight. As far as carnival games, water race fun and one ball in wins were it.. The iPod Touch was the most hyped prize. The complete Photo Album: Coney Islanders and Carnies at San Gennaro can be viewed on flickr.

Lights at Figli di San Gennaro. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Lights at Figli di San Gennaro. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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Brooklyn Borough Prez Marty Markowitz and Borough Historian Ron Schweiger on the Cyclone’s Opening Day of the Season. After Labor Day, the Cyclone is open weekends through Sept 20. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Brooklyn Borough Prez Marty Markowitz, Borough Historian Ron Schweiger and Erik Knapp’s Tattoo on the Cyclone’s Opening Day of the Season. After Labor Day, the Cyclone is open weekends through Sept 20. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

UPDATE: This is a post from September 2009! Please see report from September 13, 2013: “Coney Island Always: Visiting the Big CI Year-Round” here.

After Labor Day, Coney Island’s beach “officially” closed for the summer, the Ringling Circus left for Europe and Thor Equities’ on-again, off-again “Dreamland Amusement Park” with its dozen rides became an empty lot again. Contrary to popular perception, the rest of Coney Island remains open. The amusement area still has over 40 operating rides including the City-owned Cyclone roller coaster, open weekends through September 20, McCullough’s Kiddie Park (12 rides), open weekends through September, and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park (22 rides) and Eldorado Bumper Cars open weekends through October. Weather permitting of course. Call ahead for hours.

Eldorado Auto Skooter. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Eldorado Auto Skooter. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

What’s more, Coney’s quirky performers and cultural entrepreneurs have dreamed up some unique events to lure you to our sandy shore. This weekend’s calendar includes the 1st annual Coney Island Performance Festival, the 2nd annual Beard and Moustache Competition, and a Pat Benatar Tribute at the Dreamland Roller Rink. Check the Coney Island Fun Guide for details of upcoming events such as the Coney Island Tattoo & Motorcycle Show (Sept 20), Shakespeare’s The Tempest on the Beach (Sept 26-27) and the Coney Island Film Festival (Oct 2-4). True to the spirit of the People’s Playground, the events are free or reasonably priced, so come out to “the Island” and have some post-beach season fun!

SATURDAY & SUNDAY, SEPT 12-13
Meet me by the Jellyfish Tank in the Aquarium for Parachute: The Coney Island Performance Festival.
Poet and festival organizer Amanda Deutch has lined up a talented array of Brooklyn-based writers and performers for the first annual event. Africasso, Patricia Spears Jones, John Ventimiglia from The Sopranos reading Henry Miller, Eileen Myles (“the rock star of modern poetry”), former Brooklyn Poet Laureate Dennis Nurkse and Coney historian Charles Denson are among the scheduled readers. The free event begins at 6:30 pm. Prior to the performance, visitors can stop by the Coney Island History Project under the Cyclone from 2-6 pm to pick up a festival program, have a free cup of Stumptown coffee, view photos of Astroland circa 1964, and ring the century-old Dreamland Pier Bell.
Parachute: The Coney Island Performance Festival, New York Aquarium, 6:30 pm, FREE. Surf Ave @ West 8th Street, (718) 265-FISH.
Coney Island History Project, 2 – 6 pm, FREE. 824 Surf Ave under the Cyclone, (718) 266-0012

Halston & Donny Vomit. Photo © ci_moustache via flickr

Halston & Donny Vomit. Photo © ci_moustache via flickr

SATURDAY, SEPT 12
The hairiest event of the season at the Coney Island Circus Sideshow is undoubtedly the Coney Island Beard and Moustache Competition. Hosted by the sideshow’s moustachioed m.c. and performer extraordinaire Donny Vomit, the Variety and Awards show features Albert Cadabra the Great Deceiver and special guest performer Jennifer Miller the Bearded Lady. Prizes will be awarded for best natural and best styled beard or moustache, best in show, worst in show and best female fake beard or stache. The Coney Island Circus Sideshow remains open weekends through the end of September. Special events are scheduled in October.
The Second Annual Coney Island Beard and Moustache Competition, Sideshows By The Seashore Theater, 6 – 9 pm, $10. 12th Street @ Surf Ave, 718 372 5159

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, Sept 11-13
Shadows of the Night! Pat Benatar Roller Skating Tribute Party at Lola Staar’s Dreamland Roller Rink. $12 admission/$10 with “80s Rock n’ roll glam attire.” Skate rentals available for $5, Free skate rentals before 8:30 pm. The Dreamland Roller Rink in the terracotta palace known as the Childs Building on the Boardwalk will be open weekends through the end of September.
–Every Friday Night: Funk-Gospel-Soul Skate Party, 7 -11 pm, $10
–Weekly Family Skate on Saturdays, 2 – 6 pm, $10
–Every Sunday: Retro Disco Skate at Dreamland Roller Rink, 3- 7 pm, $10
Dreamland Roller Rink, 3053 W 21st St on the Boardwalk, 800-362-5116

Dreamland Roller Rink

Lola Staars Dreamland Roller Rink. Photo © Bruce Handy (Pablo57) via flickr

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s open year round…..Nathan’s, New York Aquarium, the Coney Island Museum (Sat-Sun), Williams Candy, Coney Island Beach Shop. Visitors may tour the area 365 days a year with the Coney Island History Project’s free audio/video tour of “The Amusement Area: Past and Present.” The tour is downloadable to iPods and other portable players and may be listened to live via iPhone. The free download and a map are available on the History Project’s website.

Cotton candy is a summer treat, but the NY Aquarium is open year round.  Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Cotton candy is a summer treat, but the NY Aquarium is open year round. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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UPDATE January 2010…
All of the Coney Island kitties pictured below were adopted a few months ago and we don’t know of any Coney Island cat ladies looking for homes for any more CI kitties as of Jan 1, 2010. However….

ATZ came across the cutest Greenpoint kitties on our friend Miss Heather’s blog: “People are leaving cans of food out for these kittens. What they need is TLC and a home. Anyone interested in adopting these kittens should contact me via email at missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com. I’ll hook you up with the “owner” of these kittens.”

ATZ also recommends visiting www.petfinder.com, the virtual home of 290,884 adoptable pets from 12,973 adoption groups! You can browse through their database of pets in your area and look at photos and bios. We found our cat on petfinder and highly recommend the site!

Luna Park Kitty Needs Loving Home

Luna Park Kitty Needs Loving Home

I’m a genuine Coney Island Kitten, born & raised by a fine feline-loving family in Luna Park Houses . You can’t get any more Coney Island than that. Please adopt me! My brothers and sisters, too! Contact the humans via flickrmail or amusingthezillion[at]gmail.com

Rub my tummy, pleez!

Rub my tummy, pleez!

A few months ago ATZ helped find homes for some of these “Adorable & Adoptable: Genuine Coney Island Kittens.” If you would like an older kitten, this pretty, sweet-tempered cat is now nine months old….

Coney Island Kitten Up for Adoption

Coney Island Kitten Up for Adoption

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