Advertisements
Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for November, 2009

We were working in Coney Island on Saturday, August 15th, when the Supertones and a bunch of other surf bands played on the Boardwalk in front of Deno’s. So we missed hearing “I Surf in Black” and lots more. Tonight we happened to come across this tune on “TV” via YouTube. Why do I have the feeling we’ll be listening to it obsessively until surf’s up again?

Written by Tim Sullivan and Ted Lawrence in 1989 for the Supertones album “The Big Wet Twang.”

Happy Thanksgiving from Coney Island, everyone! Enjoy…

Share

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Coney Island was in the spotlight at the November 16-20 IAAPA (The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions) Expo 2009 in Las Vegas. Among the 1000-plus exhibitors at the world’s largest conference and trade show for the attractions industry was the Coney Island Development Corporation, whose RFP for a 10-year lease with the City of New York for a “Coney Island Amusement Operator” was the talk of the show floor. (Read our take on “The Contenders from A to Z.”) At the show’s Kickoff Event on Nov. 17, Fred Thompson and Skip Dundy, the creators of Coney Island’s legendary Luna Park (1903-1946), were posthumously inducted into the IAAPA Hall of Fame.

Accepting the IAAPA Hall of Fame Award on behalf of Coney Island’s amusement pioneers were historian Charles Denson, Executive Director of the Coney Island History Project, and Carol Hill Albert, co-founder of the Coney Island History Project and operator of Coney Island’s Cyclone roller coaster. “We’d like to see Coney Island rebuilt with the same sense of creativity and wonder that Thompson and Dundy showed 100 years ago,” said Denson, who accepted the award on behalf of Elmer “Skip” Dundy. According to Dundy’s obituary in the New York Times, “Mr. Thompson supplied the inventive faculty for the concern, and Mr. Dundy attended to the no less complicated matter of obtaining three-quarters of a million required to start the enterprise. When the gates were thrust open to the public, the partners had just $11 between them.”

“I’m thrilled for the Coney Island History Project to be accepting this award on behalf of Fred Thompson,” said Carol Hill Albert, who founded the History Project with her husband Jerome Albert in honor of Dewey Albert, creator of Astroland Park. “Coney Island’s fabulous history was always an answer to ‘Can You Top This’ and Fred Thompson placed the bar so high that even today amusement parks all over the world are reaping its benefit.” The award, which is considered the industry’s highest honor, was presented by Tim O’Brien, VP Communications for Ripley Entertainment Inc. and chairman of the IAAPA Hall of Fame and Archives Committee. Additional info about the IAAPA Hall of Fame and Thompson & Dundy’s work is available on the IAAPA and Coney Island History Project websites.

Nate Bliss and Lynn Kelly of the Coney Island Development Corporation and Laura Kirschbaum from NYCEDC drummed up interest in “Coney Island’s Next Act” at their booth at the trade show. The CIDC was a first time exhibitor at the IAAPA Attractions Expo 2008 in Orlando. This year, the CIDC went to Vegas as a Silver Sponsor (banner signage in lobbies, enhanced Show Guide listing and more) to showcase the City of New York’s RFP for a “Coney Island Amusement Operator.” “We’re looking for the new Luna Park developers, if you will,” said Lynn Kelly, president of the CIDC, at a special information session for prospective bidders. “This is a unique moment in time for Coney Island, to bring it back to life in a 21st century way. We’re thrilled to be here again and to have something substantive to offer this industry.”

Coney Islanders in Vegas: Dennis Vourderis of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park (center) visits Manny Cohen and Stan Fox of Coney Island Arcade USA in their booth. For Coney Island’s amusement operators, attending the IAAPA conference and trade show for the attractions industry is an annual ritual. Coney Island Arcade manufactures and sells coin op amusement games. Cohen also operates an arcade on the Bowery at 12th Street in the heart of Brooklyn’s world-famous amusement area. “Business was better than I expected. There was a lot of activity and interest,” said Fox, whose family owned arcades in Coney Island since the 1940s.

IAAPA estimates that 24,000 people, including approximately 14,700 buyers, from 108 nations participated in the IAAPA Attractions Expo 2009 in Las Vegas. Attendees from Coney Island included Steve Vourderis and sons, of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, and Cyclone roller coaster staff and crew members, who enrolled in IAAPA’s educational programs and ride safety seminars. On IAAPA Museum Day, Charles Denson of the Coney Island History Project attended the seminar “Museums, Arts and Culture, and Economic Development” presented by Jack Rouse and Stephen Sheppard. On November 20, it was goodbye Vegas, see you on Palm Sunday (opening day of the season) in Coney Island and next November at the IAAPA Attractions Expo 2010 in Orlando! A big thank you to Charles Denson for sharing his IAAPA photo album.

Related posts on ATZ…

January 2, 2010: Photo Album: Coney Island Boardwalk, New Year’s Day 2010

December 18, 2009: Ciao Coney Island! Will Ruby’s, Shoot the Freak, Astrotower & Other Oldies Survive?

November 23, 2009: The Contenders from A to Z: Coney Island Amusement Operator RFP

August 5, 2009: Coney Island Has 56 Rides and 33 More Days of Summer!

Share

Read Full Post »

At the IAAPA Attractions Expo 2009 in Las Vegas, the Coney Island Development Corporation (CIDC) hosted an information session regarding the City's RFP for a development contract.  Photo © Charles Denson

At the IAAPA Attractions Expo 2009 in Las Vegas, the Coney Island Development Corporation (CIDC) hosted an information session regarding the City

Who is bidding on the RFP (Request for Proposals) to bring amusements to the City of New York’s soon-to-be-purchased 6.9 acres in Coney Island? It’s more like—who isn’t bidding? The contenders are quite literally from A for Astroland and Amusements of America to Z for Zamperla.

At last week’s IAAPA Attractions Expo in Vegas, amusement park and carnival operators and ride manufacturers were busy forming alliances and putting together proposals for the Astroland site (Parcel A) and Boardwalk properties (Parcels B and C). The City is offering up to a 10 year lease to a single operator or a team to develop what CIDC president Lynn Kelly described as “a new park that feels like Coney Island—it can’t be any cookie-cutter establishment.” The stakes are high: The person or team who pulls this off successfully is likely to be the top candidate ten years in the future for the RFP to operate the proposed 12-acre “Permanent Amusement Park” in Coney Island.

Parcels A, B & C Are Up for Bid. Detail of the CIDC’s Map of the Coney Island Amusement Operator RFP Sites.  Credit: Coney Island Development Corporation

Parcels A, B & C Are Up for Bid. Detail of the CIDC’s Map of the Coney Island Amusement Operator RFP Sites. Credit: Coney Island Development Corporation

Most Likely To Succeed? The A’s and the Z

A is for Amusements of America, the Vivona family’s traveling carnival, which advertises itself as “America’s Most Imaginative Midway.” Based in New Jersey with winter quarters in South Carolina, A of A has been in negotiations with Joe Sitt since August to bring rides and attractions to Coney Island in 2010. The Vivonas made their first of two or three site visits to Coney Island when Thor Equities’ Dreamland Park and flea market were still open for business.

Asked if they’d apply for the Coney Island RFP, Amusement of America’s Dominic Vivona told ATZ, “”We’ve got our hat in the ring and we’re hoping we’ll get picked. So is everybody else.” As for the rumor they’re set to lease what remains of Sitt’s property on Stillwell and Surf: “It might happen. But nothing’s happening now,” said Vivona. Then he added: “We’re interested in going to Coney Island, whether it’s with the City or someone else.”

Amusements of America was founded in 1940 with the purchase of the Ferris Wheel from the 1939 World’s Fair and now has a mighty arsenal of rides. The Vivona’s route stretches from the Ohio State Fair to winter dates in the Caribbean. Among their innovations is one of the first traveling schools for children whose parents work with the carnival. If you’ve been to the State Fair Meadowlands in New Jersey, which boasts “over 150 rides and attractions,” you’ve been to Amusements of America’s midway. Will A of A send their Crazy Mouse coaster to Coney Island for the season?

Astroland's Iconic Sign at Night. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Astroland's Iconic Sign at Night. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

A is for Astroland, the hometown favorite, and for Carol Albert, the longtime operator of Coney Island’s Cyclone roller coaster and co-sponsor of the Friday night fireworks. The public perception is that Astroland is Coney Island and the City’s purchase of the former Astroland site assures the return of the beloved park. Astroland was founded by Albert’s father-in-law Dewey Albert in 1962. In 1987, on the 25th anniversary of Astroland, the New York Post hailed the Alberts as “the family that keeps Coney Island rolling,” adding that while so much of Coney Island had burned down or was in decay, the Alberts kept the Cyclone running and kept expanding the park. By way of explanation, Dewey’s son Jerome Albert told the reporter, “We have sand in our shoes.”

When we first met Carol Albert in 2004 to interview her for a story about Astroland for IAAPA’s Funworld Magazine, we learned that before Albert began managing the family owned park, she had a successful career as a novelist and editor in chief. Our favorite Carol Albert quote in the story is “I think the amusement business engages a lot of the same sensibilities as the literary field. I mean it helps if you’re a close observer of people and what they like.”

Albert has been working for some time on plans for a futuristic Astroland Park featuring a majority of new rides. It makes us think about George C. Tilyou building a bigger, better Steeplechase after his first park was damaged by a fire. The second Steeplechase captured people’s imagination with its new steel and glass Pavilion of Fun, unique rides like the Human Pool Table, an array of carousels, and a longer and improved Steeplechase ride. The second Astroland’s new rides and attractions would be a potent symbol of the rebirth of Coney Island. At the same time, we yearn for the return of the iconic Surf Avenue gate and the demon from Dante’s Inferno.

Ride manufacturer Zamperla's booth at the IAAPA Attractions Expo 2009 in Las Vegas. Photo © Charles Denson

Ride manufacturer Zamperla's booth at the IAAPA Attractions Expo 2009 in Las Vegas. Photo © Charles Denson

Z is for the international ride manufacturer Zamperla, which operates Victorian Gardens in New York’s Central Park as well as its own amusement park in Italy. According to “MinitaliaLeolandia – Zamperla’s New Showroom!” in the July issue of Park World, the company took a stake in a park 90 minutes from their factory to showcase their rides and now two thirds of the park’s major attractions are Zamperla-built. Alberto Zamperla told Park World: “First of all, my family used to be ride operators. Zamperla is one of the most innovative companies in the business and we have come up with many new rides in recent years. To have all these new rides not far away from the factory, it’s a great thing. The park also benefits because it gets new rides on the market that no on else has; there is a very good synergy.” Will Coney Island’s new amusement park become a showroom for Zamperla’s New Jersey-based North American operation?

Zamperla’s website has 80 rides including some of our favorite kiddie rides as well as thrill rides: the Power Surge, Disk’O Coaster and Surf’s Up. The Vertical Swing is Zamperla’s version of the Star Flyer ride featured in the CIDC’s original renderings. The Coney Island Rumor Mill got wind of Zamperla’s interest in Coney Island this summer. The idea was the company would try out prototypes in Coney Island, an exciting prospect that calls to mind the heyday of Coney when the first models of any new rides would come here. But there wasn’t much point in speculating about it until the City announced the $100M land buy on Nov 11, one week after the re-election of Mayor Bloomberg. ATZ’s sources at the IAAPA show confirmed that Zamperla is indeed a contender.

Zamperla Rockin' Tug at McCullough's Kiddie Park, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Zamperla Rockin' Tug at McCullough's Kiddie Park, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Zamperla, whose CEO of their US division is on the CIDC’s Amusement Advisory Board, is considered the front runner by other potential bidders. Some of them were saying “done deal” due to the short time frame and terms of the RFP. But a number of other CIDC Amusement Advisory Board members are rumored to be fielding their own proposals. Notable among them is Board Chair Jim Seay of Premier Rides, a coaster manufacturer. A reread of the EDC’s original press release from March 2009 confirms that these experts were invited to “help structure and expedite the City’s plans for interim amusements at Coney Island in Summer 2010. The panel will also assist the City in continued planning efforts for a permanent amusement operation and development of a 27-acre amusement and entertainment district at Coney Island.” Foot in door? Definitely. Done deal? We’ll find out who won soon enough. The RFP deadline is December 18. In mid-December, the NYCEDC “selects a short list of respondents and sends draft lease for respondent review.” The final selection will be made in January 2010.

Other members of the Coney Island Amusement Advisory Panel are Chip Cleary, Senior VP, Palace Entertainment and First Vice Chair, IAAPA Executive Board; Jim Pattison, President, Ripley Entertainment, Inc.; Tony Catanoso, President & CEO, Atlantic City Steel Pier; Nikki Nolan, Executive VP & Managing Director of International, Great Wolf Resorts; David Rockwell, Founder and CEO, Rockwell Group; Valerio Ferrari, President & CEO, Zamperla USA; Kieran E. Burke, former Chairman and CEO of Six Flags, Inc.; Al Weber, Management Affiliate, MidOcean Partners and former President & CEO, Palace Entertainment; Will Morey and Jack Morey, Co-Owners, The Morey Organization.

It’s more like—who isn’t bidding?

C is for current, former and wannabe Coney Island operators who are reported to be bidding on Parcel B to replace the lost batting cages and go karts, which were bulldozed by Joe Sitt when he acquired the land from Hy Singer. Since the RFP favors a single operator for all three parcels, we have to wonder if they’ve teamed up with operators bidding on the other two lots?

Geren Rides' Reverchon Himalaya at Dreamland Park, Coney Island. Labor Day Weekend 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Geren Rides' Reverchon Himalaya at Dreamland Park, Coney Island. Labor Day Weekend 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

D is for three separate bidders associated with two different Dreamlands. We just want to clarify that this trio of Dreamlanders has no connection whatsoever with Lola Staar’s Dreamland Roller Rink or the recently rediscovered Dreamland Bell! The proliferation of Dreamlands was inspired by Coney’s original Dreamland Park (1904-1911).

Anthony Raffaele, who operated Dreamland Park on Thor Equities’ property in 2009 is said to be applying. Glenn Geren, who owned the majority of rides at Thor’s Dreamland in 2008 and 2009 told ATZ “I will definitely apply.” Before Joe Sitt shuttered Dreamland and sold the property to the city, Geren completed purchase of a Reverchon Himalaya, a Schwarzkopf Wildcat Coaster and other rides with the intention of bringing them to Coney Island in 2010. Bob DeStefano’s Dreamland Amusements, a Long Island-based carnival that has no association whatsoever with Thor Equities’ Dreamland is reportedly preparing a bid as well.

We know some potential bidders are being secretive or cagey, so we’ll keep their names a secret for now. With 14,700 VIP registrants at the IAAPA Attractions Expo and the Coney Island Development Corporation’s high visibility as a Silver Sponsor, we’re pretty sure there are other bidders who aren’t on our radar. This makes it hard to predict who will end up getting the job. We’re just thrilled that it looks like it’s going to be a Happy New Year for Coney Island’s amusement area and we’re going to be getting a lot of new rides and attractions starting Memorial Day 2010. We can’t wait till ATZ readers stop asking the question “Is Coney Island closed?”

Share

Related posts on ATZ…

January 26, 2010: Scoop: Zamperla’s $24M Coney Island Park to be Named Luna Park!

December 18, 2009: Ciao Coney Island! Will Ruby’s, Shoot the Freak, Astrotower & Other Oldies Survive?

November 25, 2009: Photo Album: Coney Island Shines at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2009 in Vegas

August 5, 2009: Coney Island Has 56 Rides and 33 More Days of Summer!

Read Full Post »

Target the Coney Island Arcade Cat on Patrol. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Target the Coney Island Arcade Cat on Patrol. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Don’t worry, Manny Cohen and Target the Cat, who operate the world-famous Coney Island Arcade at Bowery and 12th Street in the heart of Coney Island, aren’t going anywhere. They’ll be open for business in 2010. On Saturday, November 28, Coney Island Arcade is making way for new equipment by auctioning old coin-op arcade games, pinball machines and more. The list of items includes Ms Pac Man, Carnevil, Addams Family and Austin Powers Pinball Machines, and Kiddie Ride Horses similar to the one pictured above. You can’t buy this one because Target likes to lounge on the saddle!

Last summer, Cohen operated a second arcade on Surf Avenue near Jones Walk. The auction and preview will be held at that location. The auction is on Saturday, November 28 at 10 am. Preview on Black Friday, the first day of the traditional Christmas shopping season (hint, hint) 1-6 pm, and on Saturday 8-10 am prior to the auction. For more info visit the auction site.

If you go to Saturday’s auction, you’ll find the Coney Island Museum, the New York Aquarium, Coney Island Beach Shop, Nathan’s Famous, and other shops and restaurants open for business. You can also download the Coney Island History Project’s free audio/video walking tour to your iPod or listen to it live on your iPhone and go for a stroll on the Boardwalk.

Share

Related posts on ATZ…

November 5, 2009: Museum Piece or Obsolete? Old Carnival Games, Stick Joints on eBay

November 3, 2009: Coney Island’s Shoot Out the Star Still Open… Players Wanted!

August 16, 2009: Coney Island Carnival Games: My Photo Album

July 8, 2009: Coney Island Wish List: Michael Jackson’s Bumper Car Ride for Sale on eBay

Read Full Post »

A Trip to Coney Island with Uncle Zero Boy. Photo © Scott A Ettin/www.tankboy.com

A Trip to Coney Island with Uncle Zero Boy. Photo © Scott A Ettin/www.tankboy.com

If you missed Zero Boy‘s electrifying one-man show at Coney Island USA in October, we highly recommend that you get yourself over to the Gershwin Hotel tonight at 8 pm to see and hear “A Trip to Coney Island with Uncle Zero Boy.” The audience is the nephew.

“I do a comic romp through the past, present, and future of Coney Island,” the virtuoso “vocal acrobat” told ATZ in a Q & A with Uncle Zero Boy last month. “It’s sort of like a cartoon of certain big historical elements starting with the beginning of Coney Island all the way up to the 80s, 90s, to now. It is a Zero Boy style show in that it’s like Bugs Bunny going through history.”

Read the full Q & A and watch a video clip of the show here.

Neke Carson and Michael Wiener Present “Live from the Gershwin”: “A Trip to Coney Island with Uncle Zero Boy” 8 pm, cover $10. Gershwin Hotel, 7 E 27th St, New York, 212 545-8000

Share

Read Full Post »

Vintage Sideshow Art: Armless Wonder by Dan Casola of 2525 Surf Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Vintage Sideshow Art: Armless Wonder by Dan Casola of 2525 Surf Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Vintage sideshow banners painted by Coney Island’s Dan Casola are hard to come by. In fact we’d never seen a Casola banner until we discovered The Armless Wonder–Lot #459 in the Mosby & Co. online auction of the late Bob McCord’s circus collection. We were wowed. In the late 90s, we had a cottage industry writing for Art & Antiques and other art magazines about collectors snapping up sideshow banners from the heyday of the midway. We learned that Coney Island’s Millard and Bulsterbaum, who had their banner painting shop at 2894 West 8th Street from 1915 until the end of the Depression, were considered the best in the biz. Their ads proclaimed “We Paint Banners That Get Top Money for Carnivals and Circus.” The banners that have survived are highly prized by collectors.

In a note on Mosby’s auction page, banner painter Johnny Meah says Casola was “a good artist, working mostly for the Millard & Bulsterbaum scenic art house in Brooklyn—–but largely unheard of.” He notes that the artist’s work was on view primarily in Coney Island and occasionally at fairs in nearby states where Dave Rosen, a Coney Island operator, fielded a sideshow. Rosen’s Wonderland Circus Sideshow was by the way in the building currently owned and occupied by Coney Island USA’s Sideshows by the Seashore. Casola was Meah’s favorite banner painter and he shares further reminscences in an essay “Cunning Crafters of Dreams.”

Now, thanks to Google Books, which has indexed selected issues of the Billboard, we’ve been able to find additional biographical info on Casola. In June 1942: “New on Surf Avenue is girl-underwater illusion, a 10-center operated by Dan Casola, designer and decorator. Dan is the one who designed the Atlantis Bar and Grille new last season on the Boardwalk.” The now-legendary Atlantis Nightclub was on the site currently occupied by Cha Cha’s and Nathan’s Boardwalk location at Stillwell Avenue.

In July 1942, in the Pittsburgh Gazette’s “Dimouts, Rationing Hit Coney Island Hard,” Casola is the talker for his illusion show and is said to have been in Coney Island for 25 years. “He says business is good at the illusion show he presents with ‘three nifty girls.’ ‘Ya only spend a dime folks and a ya get an eyeful, and ya got two eyes aintcha, so what are ya waiting for,’ he yells. That he said, gets em every time, dimout or no dimout.”

At the height of sideshow bannermania (1998), we actually did an unofficial “census” of banners in public and private collections. While Fred Johnson and Snap Wyatt were prolific artists and a body of their work has survived, other master banner painters have not been so lucky. We’d love to be able to close this post with a photo of another Casola banner. If anyone has more info about Dan Casola, please let us know. As for the marvelously gifted Armless Wonder, who painted pictures to sell to sideshow visitors, we’d like to identify him and see more of his paintings, too.

Mosby & Co Auctions, Fall Toy & Americana Sale, Lot 459, Circus Sideshow Banners, Armless Wonder, 92″ tall x 118″ wide, opening bid $750. Estimate: $1,500-$2,500. The sale end date is November 22, 2009 at midnight and on the 20th for liveauctioneers absentee bids.

Share

Related posts on ATZ...

May 8, 2011: Up for Auction: Sideshow Banners by Johnny Meah

December 2, 2009: Dec 12-13: Open Studio with Coney Island Artist & Banner Painter Marie Roberts

November 7, 2009: Thru Dec 31 at Coney Island Library: Artist Takeshi Yamada’s Cabinet of Curiosities

October 4, 2009: The Wonder of Artist Philomena Marano’s Wonder Wheel

Read Full Post »

Mummified Six Fingered Witch Hand & Giant Stag Beetle by Takeshi Yamada. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Mummified Six Fingered Witch Hand & Giant Stag Beetle by Takeshi Yamada. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

For the past three years the glass cabinets at the Coney Island branch of the Brooklyn Public Library have showcased a rotating display of artwork that befits Coney Island’s history as host to oddities and curiosities from around the world. If you haven’t seen Takeshi Yamada’s long-running “Museum of World Wonders: Cabinet of Curiosities” yet, the exhibition is on view through Dec. 31 at the Mermaid Avenue library. [Dec. 19 Update: we received an e-mail from Yamada with the good news that the Cabinet of Curiosities show has been extended for another year –through December 31, 2010— at the Coney Island Library.]

Skull of the Sea Dragon by Takeshi Yamada. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Skull of the Sea Dragon by Takeshi Yamada. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

When I stopped by during Halloween week, the curiosities included a mummified six-fingered witch’s hand, a cat frog (“There are about a dozen species of frogs with whiskers in this world”), samurai warrior horseshoe crab mask, three-eyed human skull, giant sea dragon’s skull (purportedly “discovered” by Yamada on the beach in 1790), a Nuclear Radiation Giant Stag Beetle of Bikini Atoll, and fancifully labeled cans of Coney Island brand King Tarantula and Coelacanth. “An Extra Fancy Living Fossil.” Oh, yum!…

T Rex Bone, NYC Giant Subway Bug & Coney Island Fancy Canned Goods by Takeshi Yamada. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

T Rex Bone, NYC Giant Subway Bug & Coney Island Fancy Canned Goods by Takeshi Yamada. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Yamada, who has an MFA in fine art from the University of Michigan School of Art and is Grand Champion of the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists, considers his artwork “specimens” rather than examples of self expression. He uses a variety of natural materials to create his curiosities including some that might be considered controversial. The two-headed babies exhibited this summer in his “Baby Museum” at Coney Island’s Dreamland amusement area are rogue taxidermied artifacts made from his own skin, says Yamada. [Scroll down to “Comments” for details.]

Artist Takeshi Yamada's Freak Baby Show in Coney Island's Dreamland, Summer 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Artist Takeshi Yamada's Freak Baby Show in Coney Island's Dreamland, Summer 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The Japanese-born artist and longtime Neptune Avenue resident is one of Coney Island’s most recognizable eccentrics. In the summer, you’re apt to find Yamada clad in a black tuxedo and Mardi Gras beads strolling the Boardwalk with his sea rabbit Seara, a taxidermied wonder with webbed feet and a mermaid’s tail. On November 15, he’ll be defending his Grand Master title at the 4th Annual Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest at the Bell House in Gowanus. In the meantime, you can visit Yamada in his studio and get a peek at his Fiji mermaid, two headed baby, dog-headed spider and other sideshow gaff art via this video from Brooklyn Cable Access TV

Takeshi Yamada’s “Museum of World Wonders: Cabinet of Curiosities”
Coney Island Library, 1901 Mermaid Ave (at W 19th St), Coney Island, Brooklyn, 718-265-3220. Through December 31, 2010 June 28, 2011. The library is a five-minute walk from the Stillwell Avenue subway terminal. Check library hours here

This exhibition closed on June 28, 2011. Please visit Takeshi Yamada’s Museum of World Wonders flickr photostream to view his work.

Share

Related posts on ATZ…

November 29, 2012: Coney Island Taxidermist Takeshi Yamada in AMC Reality Show

December 8, 2011: Takeshi Yamada’s Jersey Devil Set for Bell House Taxidermy Contest

December 7, 2010: Art of the Day: Freak Taxidermy Skull by Takeshi Yamada

October 27, 2010: Oct 29 at Coney Island Library: Dragon and Mermaid Show & Tell with Takeshi Yamada

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: