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Archive for February, 2011

Photo © Barry Yanowitz

I'm going to be on tv Wednesday night... Photo © Barry Yanowitz via flickr

Tune in tonight at 10 pm to Brooklyn Independent Television to catch photographer and ATZ contributor Barry Yanowitz on Caught in the Act. The entire segment was shot in Coney Island, where Barry grew up and lived until graduating from college in 1995. The shots that we’ve reproduced here, including the above “accidental” double exposure, are among the photos he took during the shoot. The complete set may be viewed here.

“The show features Brooklyn artists and they wanted to interview me and film me doing street photography,” Barry told ATZ. “So of course I took them to my favorite place to shoot, where there are always interesting characters wandering about! They spent most of the time filming me shooting on and under Steeplechase Pier and the boardwalk.”

We first met Barry in Coney Island and began following his photos on flickr back in 2008. Among our many faves are Astro Cat (Coney Island in the Snow), a Mermaid Parader and the reflection of Luna Park’s lights on top of a car (City of Fire).

“I really only started seriously getting into photography in the last 10 years or so. Although I do remember trying to take photos of my Star Wars figures as a kid in the 70s,” jokes Barry, when we asked if he still has his first camera. “I can’t remember what my first camera was, but one of the cameras I shoot with now is my father’s old SLR, a Canon AE-1.”

From BCAT’s program notes…

Barry Yanowitz: A stroll on the boardwalk with this photographer, who uses both the latest digital equipment and a Kodak Brownie from half a century ago. His images reflect his love of the Coney Island he grew up in, and his fascination with how the water and light reflect the way it’s changing.

Coney Island

Coney Island Boardwalk. February 12, 2011. Photo © Barry Yanowitz via flickr

BCAT TV Network cablecasts in Brooklyn on Time Warner channels 34-35, and 56-57, Cablevision channels 67-70, RCN channels 82-85 and Verizon channels 42-45. For people outside of Brooklyn, go to BCAT’s website and launch channel 3. After the episode premieres, it will be rebroadcast on Mondays and Wednesdays at 2 pm and 10pm and may be viewed online. The segment is between 5-10 minutes and will be aired in an episode that also features Punk Jews and the LIU Television Writers Studio.

Produced by Jonathan Lief and Irina Khokhlova, Caught in the Act: Art in Brooklyn is a monthly show featuring profiles of Brooklyn professionals in fine art, dance, music, theatre and new forms of expression.

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October 11, 2010: Coney Island Mermaid Haiku by Patricia Carragon

April 6, 2010: Photo Album: Yes, We’re Open! Easter Sunday in Coney Island

March 14, 2010: Eldorado Auto Skooter: Coney Island’s Disco Palace of Bumper Cars

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

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Target the Cat

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

Last week ATZ dropped by to visit Coney Island Arcade & Game operator Manny Cohen and his world-famous cat. Even during the off-season, Target the Coney Island Cat can be seen making his rounds on the Bowery. We found him sitting on the hood of Manny’s car.

Pretty and Target

Pretty and Target, Coney Island Arcade Cats. February 11, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Last May, Target’s shy sister Targette aka Targeretty died in the terrible fire that destroyed the Coney Island Arcade. For weeks, Target kept searching for her in the ruins of the building and crying. A few months ago, Manny took in another cat to keep Target company. Pretty is a calico who roamed the amusement area. She’s not shy like Targette, but she is skittish. No one has been able to pet her yet, though we’re going to keep trying. In these photos, Pretty reminds us of our calicos Lola and Nadja, who are in cat heaven.

Pretty the Cat

Pretty the Cat, Coney Island. February 11, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

When the games are open for business, the gregarious Target is most likely to be found sitting on the counter of the Balloon Dart helping out Jimmy. Over the past couple of years, we’ve taken enough pix of our favorite Coney Island cat to make a flickr set called Target the World Famous Coney Island Arcade Cat. His photo has also been featured in a New York Times slide show about Coney Island and magazines all over the world.

Target

Target the Coney Island Cat. February 11, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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January 26, 2011: Photo of the Day: Henderson Music Hall Cats Now Homeless

September 6, 2010: Cutie & Patootie: Coney Island Kittens Up for Adoption!

May 6, 2010: R.I.P. Targette, the Coney Island Arcade Cat’s Shy Sister

January 27, 2010: I Love NYC Pets Month Preview: Coney Island Cat Rescue

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Beachfront Condos

Beachfront Condos Under Construction on Boardwalk at 32nd St, Coney Island. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via Android

The first private beachfront condominiums to be built on the Coney Island Boardwalk are under construction at West 32nd Street and are expected to be completed this summer. The four-story building will have 11 units including 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments, each with its own parking stall. Marina Krasnova of New Vision told ATZ that sales prices range from $685,000 for a one-bedroom to $1.55 million for the penthouse.

Located in the West End of Coney Island, across the street from the NYC Housing Authority’s Coney Island Houses, this new construction is a harbinger of more beachfront residential to come. The rezoning plan approved by the City Council in 2009 put 26 high rise residential towers and 5,000 new units of housing in Coney Island, including beachfront condos on Taconic Investment Partners 5.5 blocks of vacant land just west of MCU Park (West 20th Street).

We think it is the future beachfront residential, which Taconic has valued at $300-$900 per square foot, that is driving the City’s plan to gentrify the Boardwalk and make it into a year-round destination with upscale restaurants and bars.

Beachfront Condos Under Construction on Boardwalk at 32nd St, Coney Island. Photo © Bruce Handy/Coney Island Photo Diary via flickr

Coney Island History Project director Charles Denson, who grew up in Coney Island Houses, tells ATZ that the lot on West 32nd Street has been vacant since 1982. “It was the site of Sam’s Knishes and the Lincoln Baths,” said Denson, whose book Coney Island: Lost and Found combines a history of land use in his neighborhood and boyhood memoir. “Sam’s had the best cherry cheese knishes in the world and the Lincoln Baths go back over 110 years.” On the History Project’s blog “Ask Mr Coney Island,” Denson notes that the Lincoln Baths, along with the Washington Baths (W 21st St), Roosevelt Baths (W 30th St) and Jefferson Baths (W 33rd St) were Coney Island’s “presidential bathhouses.”

“The bathhouses were where people rented lockers and changed from street clothes to swim suits. You could also rent swimsuits and beach chairs and umbrellas,” writes Denson. “They were very social places and generations of families and friends from the same neighborhoods patronized the same bathhouses for years until the last one (Brighton Beach Baths) was demolished in the early 1990s.”

Coney Island Boardwalk

Coney Island Boardwalk east of West 33rd Street showing the Lincoln Baths in the foreground, 1924. Eugene L. Armbruster Collection, New York Public Library

How did it happen that land once occupied by bathhouses patronized by working class New Yorkers is destined to become luxury beachfront apartments? The Washington Baths site, which Thor Equities bought from Horace Bullard for $13 million, was flipped to Taconic for an exorbitant $90 million because both parties were sure the City would rezone it for residential.

Taconic Investment Partners plans to build a glittering city of 2,500 apartments and 200,000 square feet of retail west and north of MCU Park. According to Taconic’s website: “The North Venture consists of three city blocks on the North side of Surf Avenue totaling nearly 109,000 square feet. One block from the beach, these parcels include vacant or under-improved land. Coney Island South Venture encompasses 5.5 acres on the south side of Surf Avenue, interspersed over four blocks along the beachfront, and is also comprised of vacant or under-improved land totaling nearly 240,000 square feet.”

As Taconic CEO William Bendit told Eliot Brown of the New York Observer in an interview in 2009: “What attracted us to Coney Island was the fact that it’s vacant land—we didn’t have to dispossess anybody, relocate anybody. And it’s the beachfront. How much beachfront land is there in New York City? Not only that, but beachfront land that’s accessible to the subway. So, if you think about it, how many young people, or anybody, for that matter, would like to commute into New York or Brooklyn, and go home at night and live on the beach?”

What would it take to make you move to the new Coney Island?

Coney Island Aerial: Detail of Conceptual Rendering. CIDC Press Kit

Coney Island Aerial: Detail of Conceptual Rendering Shows Residential Towers West and North of MCU Park. CIDC Press Kit

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December 20, 2011: Update: Coney Island’s 1st Private Beachfront Condos on Boardwalk

January 11, 2010: Steeplechase Pool, Zip Coaster Sites to Be De-Mapped for Housing

July 27, 2009: Tall, Skinny & Destined to Kill Coney Island: High Rises on South Side of Surf

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