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Archive for June, 2010

On Saturday, we joined “Hands Across the Sand” on Coney Island’s Beach. The June 26th event was part of a worldwide protest against offshore drilling. The line in the sand included people who had come to Coney Island specifically for the noontime protest as well as beach-goers who spontaneously joined the event. Look for more photos in our flickr set.

Hands Across the Sand: Coney Island joins worldwide protest against offshore drilling. June 26, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Hands Across the Sand: Coney Island joins worldwide protest against offshore drilling. June 26, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Charles Denson and Jimmy Prince Join Hands Across the Sand. Coney Island, June 26, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Charles Denson and Jimmy Prince Join Hands Across the Sand. Coney Island, June 26, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Hands Across the Sand: Coney Island joins worldwide protest against offshore drilling. June 26, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Hands Across the Sand: Coney Island joins worldwide protest against offshore drilling. June 26, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Hands Across the Sand: Coney Island joins worldwide protest against offshore drilling. June 26, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Hands Across the Sand: Coney Island joins worldwide protest against offshore drilling. June 26, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

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Mermaids carrying signs that said “Oil Makes My Scales Fall Off!” were among the dozens of BP oil spill-themed groups in Saturday’s Mermaid Parade. This Saturday at 11 am, New Yorkers will have a chance to join “Hands Across the Sand” on Coney Island’s Beach in an international protest against offshore drilling. According to a map on the group’s website, the event is being held on June 26 in all 50 states and 20 countries. Participants will gather at 11 am and join hands at 12 noon in their local time zones.

A statement on Hands Across the Sand NYC’s Facebook page says: “In the wake of the catastrophic BP OIL SPILL that has devastated the Gulf of Mexico and put the entire North Atlantic Ocean at risk: JOIN thousands around the world and draw OUR line in the sand: NO to OFFSHORE DRILLING/YES to CLEAN ENERGY.”

Hands Across the Sand began in February in Seaside, Florida, with a chain of people standing hand in hand on the beach to symbolize a wall of opposition to offshore drilling in Florida. The BP oil spill spurred the creation of Saturday’s worldwide event. Hands Across the Sand on Coney Island’s beach is one of 645 events being held in the U.S. on June 26.

Mermaid Parade 2010: Oil Makes My Scales Fall Off! Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Mermaid Parade 2010: Oil Makes My Scales Fall Off! June 19, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

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Mermaid Parade 2009: Metrocard Chrysler Building Mermaid. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Mermaid Parade 2009: Metrocard Chrysler Building Mermaid. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

If you’re coming to Coney Island to see the Mermaid Parade, we recommend taking the subway ( F, Q to West 8th Street; D, F, N, Q to Stillwell Ave) as this Metrocard Chrysler Building Mermaid did last year. Or take your submarine….

Mermaid Parade 2009: Yellow Submarine Merman. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Mermaid Parade 2009: Yellow Submarine Merman. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

If you want to avoid traffic jams, leave your car at home! Although parking is available at MCU Park, New York Aquarium and private lots, Mermaid Day is one of Coney’s busiest days of the season. If you must come by car and want to avoid traffic jams, we recommend parking a few subway stops away and then hopping on the train. Bicycling is also the way to go!

Mermaid Parade 2009: Rabbi Abraham Abraham & Bob Stewart of the Coney Island Ice Breakers.  Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Mermaid Parade 2009: Rabbi Abraham Abraham & Bob Stewart of the Coney Island Ice Breakers. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

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Door of the Grill House: Free Fireworks 9:30 Friday Night. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Door of the Grill House: Free Fireworks 9:30 Friday Night. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

UPDATE June 4, 2013: For 2013 Fireworks Schedule see “Coney Island Fireworks 2013: Fridays, 6 Saturdays and More…” The first Friday night fireworks show of Coney Island’s 2013 season will be on June 21 and this free weekly event continues every Friday through August 30.

UPDATE…May 25, 2011… Coney Island’s tradition of Friday night fireworks begins for the 2011 season on June 17 and continues through September 2. The pyrotechnic extravaganza starts at 9:30 pm. Best viewing is from the Boardwalk or the Wonder Wheel. Please patronize the main sponsors of the fireworks:  Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park; Luna Park, Scream Zone and the Cyclone; and the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball team. In addition, the Brooklyn Cyclones have scheduled fireworks on the following five Saturdays after their home games as well as on one Wednesday and Sunday night:

Saturday, June 18th – OPENING DAY – vs. Staten Island
Saturday, June 25th – vs. Hudson Valley
Wednesday, June 29th – END OF SCHOOL SPECTACULAR – vs. Hudson Valley
Sunday, July 3rd – HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA – vs. Staten Island
Saturday, July 16th – Lowell
Saturday, August 6th – vs. Staten Island
Saturday, August 20th – DSNY APPRECIATION NIGHT – vs. Tri-City

When the weather is iffy, check the Coney Island tweeters on Coney Island Fun’s list for updates here.

* * *

Coney Island’s first fireworks show of the 2010 season is this Friday, June 18th. On the eve of the Mermaid Parade! The free shows continue every Friday through September 3 and begin at approximately 9:30 pm. Best viewing is from the Boardwalk or the Wonder Wheel. Please patronize the main sponsors of the fireworks: Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, the Cyclone Roller Coaster, Luna Park and the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball team.

The Brooklyn Cyclones also sponsor free post-game fireworks on Saturday nights when they play a home game. Saturday night fireworks in Coney Island are scheduled for July 3, July 10, July 31, August 7 and September 4, 2010

UPDATE June 19 Fireworks!!

This weekend is going to be a double header as far as fireworks: Walking by MCU Park on the way to the circus, we passed by the Brooklyn Cyclones banner advertising the fireworks and just realized there’s a show on Saturday, June 19! Catch the fireworks after the Brooklyn Cyclones opening game of the season or the Mermaid Parade and Ball. Either way, Saturday is going to be an even more eventful day than we thought.

Related posts on ATZ…

June 23, 2011: Casting Call for Second Annual Coney Island Talent Show

May 11, 2011: Coney Island 2011: Summer Photography Workshop

April 27, 2011: Coney Island 2011: Free Movie Screenings on the Beach

April 22, 2011: Coney Island Has 64 Rides and 30 Weekends of Summer!

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Coney Island, Ruby's, Mermaid Day Parade 2007. Photo © Kevin C Downs

Coney Island, Ruby's, Mermaid Day Parade 2007. Photo © Kevin C Downs

Kevin Downs’ annual summer photo documentary workshop at Coney Island USA began earlier this month, but there’s still time to join. Consider it your passport to see Coney in a new light all summer long. The Saturday sessions, which continue through September 4, generally begin with a review at noon in the Coney Island Museum and go through the evening. Tuition is a very reasonable $300. From the course description:

Throughout its history, Coney Island has drawn many famous photographers: from Walker Evans to Weegee; Lou Stettner to Bruce Gilden. All have come to document this part of Brooklyn that is full of energy and creativity.

During this workshop, students will be documenting the changing conditions of this historic and magical place. Students will be shooting during the day and night, the icons of Coney Island: the Cyclone, Deno’s Wonder Wheel, the Mermaid Parade, and the personalities that inhabit the Boardwalk and the surrounding areas, from the water to Mermaid Avenue, developing their powers of observaton and their techniques.

Students will be asked to think of a specific documentary theme to focus on for the entire 14 sessions. Some examples could include: “The People of Coney Island”, “Architecture of Coney Island”, etc. The documentary theme can be anything that tells a story and documents the people, architecture and/or landscape of Coney Island. All themes must be approved by the instructor.

Coney Island, The Zipper from The Last Days of Coney Island and The Real Brooklyn. Photo © Kevin C Downs

Coney Island, The Zipper from The Last Days of Coney Island and The Real Brooklyn. Photo © Kevin C Downs

Full disclosure: Kevin Downs as well as workshop participants Bruce Handy and Suzy Lafferty are friends of ATZ. We’ve learned a lot about photography from looking at their flickr photostreams and have selected their photos for our magazine articles and blog posts.

Coney Island resident and ATZ contributor Bruce Handy has taken Kevin’s class for the past three seasons and has assembled an impressive flickr set of his favorite photos from the workshop. “Kevin is an excellent teacher who brings 125% to the table,” says Bruce.  “Our classes last year included field trips to see famous photographers, among them Louis Stettner.  At least four times last year prominent photographers were guest lecturers at our class.  Kevin arranges all this with joy.  Kevin is a champion of Coney Island.  He brings out the best in people.  He is a very humble person, a passionate, natural teacher.”

Coney Island. Photo © Kevin C Downs

Coney Island. Photo © Kevin C Downs

Suzy Lafferty’s photos from the 2009 workshop appear on her blog Satsuma’s Junkyard, beginning with the Coney Island Dancers in Coney #1 and ending with a couple kissing at twilight on Henderson Walk. Says Suzy: “After having gone to grad school for photojournalism, a rather mummifying experience, Kevin’s workshop helped me to resurrect my love of photography: the search and the longing and the state of being that defines documentary photography for me.”

On the Boardwalk, Coney Island. Photo © Kevin C Downs

On the Boardwalk, Coney Island. Photo © Kevin C Downs

Suzy describes the Coney Island Workshop: “We would gather and talk about photography for hours, often losing track of time, and then we would set out in droves or make solitary rounds of the candy apples, the atlantic splash zone, or the boardwalk, seeking our moments or following a story.  The class was the rarest of finds.  It’s dimensions stretch three months in length, it costs close to nothing, and the hours each Saturday are sprawling.  Many times Kevin stayed out with us until midnight, roaming and combing the night for twisted and heartfelt tales.”

For info contact Kevin C Downs at kevincdownsphoto@mac.com or 917-607-3935. Kevin’s website is kevincdownsphoto.com. You can register online at Coney Island USA’s website.

Coney Island, 2008. Photo © Kevin C Downs

Coney Island, 2008. Photo © Kevin C Downs

Related posts on ATZ...

May 8, 2010: Photo of the Day: Iconic Luna Park Logo Rises on Coney Island’s Horizon

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

December 20, 2009: Coney Island Photo of the Day: First Snow on the Cyclone

June 22, 2009: A Judge’s Photo Album of the 2009 Coney Island Mermaid Parade

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New Ride at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, Coney Island.  June 12, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

New Ride at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, Coney Island. June 12, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Last week Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park in Coney Island debuted a brand-new Samba Balloon ride. Manufactured by Zamperla, the family ride seats 32 children or 16 children plus 8 adults in colorful spinning tubs designed to resemble hot air balloons. Deno’s amusement park features 22 rides including the landmark Wonder Wheel. Bon Voyage!

Related posts on ATZ…

May 15, 2010: Photo of the Day: Whale Vibrations in Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel Park

April 28, 2010: New Coney Island Coaster Pays Homage to Luna Park’s 1906 Tickler

March 29, 2010: Photo of the Day: First Ride of the Season on Coney Island’s Cyclone!

May 21, 2009: Astroland Closed But Your Kid Can Still Ride the USS Astroland This Summer!

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 What's behind the newly erected tarp atop Bank of Coney Island? Asbestos removal in progress!

What's behind the newly erected tarp atop Bank of Coney Island? Asbestos removal in progress! June 14, 2010

We’re shocked that the City has issued permits to Thor Equities for pre-demolition asbestos abatement during Coney Island’s summer season. Couldn’t Joe Sitt be persuaded to wait till October to get on with his dirty work of demolishing the historic buildings that he owns in Coney Island?

Joey Bulldozer Sitt, who has ZERO rides and attractions on his Stillwell lots this season, contributes ZERO to the Coney Island community. While Coney Island’s stakeholders are busy working to make this summer the best in decades, the only thing Joe Sitt is busy doing is turning the rest of his Coney property into empty lots asap. Too bad New York City is not ancient Athens, where citizens considered dangerous to public welfare were banished!

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The permit from the City’s Department of Environmental Protection is dated June 1, 2010 and runs through January 2011. Is the City monitoring the air around the doomed Bank of Coney Island or leaving it up to Thor’s team to keep us safe from inhaling asbestos fibers and dust? Here’s where we start to be concerned…

Workers have been doing asbestos abatement at the bank building on weeknights for the past two weeks. Last week another Coney Island photographer was threatened by a thuggish worker who made a grab for his camera as he was snapping photos. Did they have something to hide or were they merely camera shy? Today for the first time the crew worked daytime hours. Early this morning some kind of white covering appeared on the rooftop, but caution tape did not materialize on the street until 1 pm. Sounds of heavy machinery in bank. Observers tell ATZ it looked like they were cutting and removing pipes and metal. While some workers wore hazmat-type gear, others were seen working inside the building in street clothes, no hard hats. Around 3 pm, they put garbage bags full of material in the back of a closed unmarked truck.

Uh, do we have to point out that asbestos is considered dangerous? Since there is no known safe level of exposure, all asbestos exposure should be avoided. Anyone who is exposed to asbestos can get mesothelioma. “Workers who deal with this deadly material often carried microscopic asbestos fibers home with them in their clothes and hair, which caused secondary exposure to their families and friends. Over time, these innocent victims can develop mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other fatal conditions.”

NPU ducts protrude from second story of Bank of Coney Island.  Photo by Capt Nemo.

NPU ducts protrude from second story of Bank of Coney Island. Photo by Capt Nemo.

See “A Rare Peek Inside Endangered Bank of Coney Island” (ATZ, Oct 9 2009) for a look at a building that is not long for this world. The City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission rejected Save Coney Island’s proposal to landmark the bank building and three other historic buildings. The other three –the Grashorn and Henderson and the Shore Hotel — are probably next on the abatement list. One day last week when we passed by the vacant Shore Hotel, we saw the shuttered first floor open. A man was inside taking notes. Since the Henderson and Bank of Coney were doomed by last year’s rezoning for 30 story hotel towers, it’s doubtful that Save Coney Island’s continuing efforts to save them will succeed. So what’s your hurry, Joe?

UPDATE August 14, 2010:

We’re sorry to report the demolition permit for the bank building was issued yesterday– Friday the 13th. It was no surprise because on Wednesday the sidewalks around the Thor-owned building were being dug up to disconnect sewer and water lines in preparation. How inexpressibly sad to see the potential here and what will be gone forever in a matter of days. Don’t bother calling the DOB to complain either. It’s final! According to the permit: “This job is not subject to the Department’s Development Challenge Process. For any issues, please contact the relevant borough office.” Joe Sitt will soon have another empty lot to add to his collection of empty lots.

UPDATE June 14, 2010:

Soon after our post, we received an email from contributing photographer Bruce Handy with links to his flickr photo set of asbestos removal signs at the Shore Hotel, seen during Save Coney Island’s Historic Walking Tour on June 13. We bet the other two buildings have permits, too. Too bad the DOB doesn’t list these permits on the Bank of Coney’s and Shore Hotel’s pages on the DOB site, where people have been keeping an eye out for news! According to the DEP’s website, the City’s permitting process for asbestos abatement has been moved from the DOB to the DEP’s office in Lefrak City.

Shore Hotel Asbestos Set, June 14, 2010.  Photo © Bruce Handy via flickr

Shore Hotel Asbestos Set, June 13, 2010. Photo © Bruce Handy via flickr

Related posts on ATZ…

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

April 29, 2010: Photo of the Day: Interior of Coney Island’s Doomed Henderson Music Hall

April 29, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Joey “Bulldozer” Sitt Is Baaack Playing Games!

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

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