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Archive for June, 2012

Queen Mermaid Annabella Sciorra

Queen Mermaid Annabella Sciorra, Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2012. Photo © East Coast Images. All Rights Reserved

With temps in the mid-90s, today is a perfect beach day. If you haven’t taken a dip in the ocean yet at Coney Island’s Beach, what are you waiting for? The City’s Parks Department officially opened Coney’s beach for the season on Memorial Day Weekend, but the ceremonial Opening of the Ocean took place at last Saturday’s Mermaid Parade. In this photo by East Coast Images, Queen Mermaid and Brooklyn-born actress Annabella Sciorra uses a giant pair of scissors to cut the ribbon representing the seasons. More East Coast Images of the 30th Annual Mermaid here.

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Coney Island Zip LineThis summer in Coney Island may be remembered as the year people harnessed up and took flight over the upturned heads of astonished visitors. Scream Zone’s 110-foot-tall SkyCoaster, which debuted in May as “Boardwalk Flight,” has riders soaring out over the Boardwalk. Next month, Patrick Ingram of Category 5 Ziplines plans to install a 60-foot-high, 400-foot-long zip line in Coney Island that will let riders glide in the sky over Stillwell Avenue.

“I’m a skydiver who has taught people how to skydive without jumping out of airplanes,” says Ingram, owner of Michigan-based Category 5 Productions. “I started with wind tunnels twelve years ago. It evolved into zip lines over the past three years.” Coney Island Zip Line is expected to open July 21st with four stationary zip lines.

Ingram tells ATZ that the starting point will be just beyond the new MegaWhirl ride in Cha Cha’s Steeplechase Park on the east side of Stillwell. The zip line will traverse Stillwell Avenue, with its ending point being on the other side of the BK Festival’s vendors behind Nathan’s Famous! “It’s a little longer than your typical zip line, which is 200 to 300 feet,” he says. The ride itself is about 25 seconds but the entire experience from the time the rider gets into the harness is 15 to 20 minutes.

Ingram says that he has installed and operated zip lines at college events as well as last year’s Oshkosh Air Show. In addition to Coney Island, Category 5 Ziplines are planned for Miami and Alabama’s Gulf Shore this year. An ad on New York’s Craigslist is seeking a crew of eight to ten to help operate the Coney Island Zip Line. Says Ingram, “We expect to be there in the next couple of weeks, putting the rigging together and getting the staff trained.”

Coney Island Zip Line

Originally planned to open on July 1, the zip line’s debut has been rescheduled for July 21 due to paperwork delays. “It’s taken a bit longer than we thought to get the engineering drawings required for this project,” says Ingram, who adds that everyone he’s working with in New York City is excited about the zip line.

An introductory special on Pinchit offering 50 per cent off regular prices expires today, but he plans to offer similar deals via Living Social and Groupon. The regular price will be $20 on weekdays and $25 on weekends, with a $100 All-Day Zip Pass including an express line. Customers must weigh between 85 and 230 pounds, wear closed toe shoes and sign a waiver.

UPDATE September 14, 2012

The abandoned zipline was finally dismantled and trucked away in May of 2013! Exclusive: Coney Island Zip Line to Be Dismantled Today (ATZ, April 30, 2013)

UPDATE September 14, 2012

Long-Delayed Coney Island Zipline Is Officially Open!
PS: Please read this post and news updates in comments before coming out to ride!

UPDATE August 5, 2012

Coney Island Zip Line Still Under Construction, ATZ, August 5, 2012.

UPDATE July 31, 2012

The zip line is currently being assembled by a crew of about 17 or 18 people! It is being set up behind Nathan’s and runs from the Bowery and Stillwell Avenue to West 15th Street.

UPDATE July 22, 2012

BK Festival spokesman William McCarthy responded to an email query that we sent today: “Working on permits – I will give you positive update as soon as we get through process.”

UPDATE July 21, 2012

The zip line was nowhere to be found today. It wasn’t set up in Coney Island. Rumor on the street is it won’t be opening, but we can’t confirm it. The person who was set to be the on-site manager of the operation did not return calls for comment.

UPDATE July 15, 2012

On Saturday in Coney Island flyers along Stillwell Avenue advertised interviews for jobs working the zip line. Mark Zientek, operations manager at Cha Cha’s Steeplechase Park, told ATZ that the zip line is expected to arrive in Coney Island on Wednesday. He said the zip line will be located on the west side of Stillwell Avenue in the BK Festival lot behind Nathan’s. It will not traverse Stillwell Avenue as originally planned by the operator.

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August 19, 2012: BK Festival Vendors Back in Business, Coney Zipline Isn’t

June 15, 2012: Amusing the Zillion’s Guide to Free Summer Events in Coney Island

February 24, 2012: Summer Jobs: From Coney Island to the Carnival Midway

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

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Club Atlantis

Cha Cha’s new outdoor Club Atlantis Bar, Coney Island. June 23, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Over the first weekend of summer, a few more Coney Island businesses opened their doors. As we reported on Saturday, Grimaldi’s new pizzeria on the north side of Surf Avenue served its first pies in Coney Island on Mermaid Day.  Across the street, Luna Park’s new state-of-the-art arcade, which takes only Luna cards–no spare change, please!– opened in the former Astroland Arcade. The surprise of surprises was to see Cha Cha’s Steeplechase Park open for business after a four week delay. The Coney Island Rumor Mill had been speculating that the park, which was scheduled to open on Memorial Day Weekend, would never open. The Rumor Mill was wrong.

MegaWhirl

MegaWhirl Cars in Coney Island. May 6, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Jonathan Gordon, the designer of the MegaWhirl, a prototype ride that is the centerpiece of Cha Cha’s Steeplechase Park, told ATZ that the delay in opening the park had nothing whatsoever to do with the rides. It was a matter of filing of paperwork with City agencies and bureaucratic red tape that kept the park from opening until now.

Friday’s ride inspection by the City’s ride inspector was cut short by a torrential rainstorm, but they received a checklist of what needed to be done, Gordon said. The inspection resumed on Saturday afternoon after the Mermaid Parade. The MegaWhirl and the majority of the other rides, including a Scrambler, Himalaya and Bumper Cars, passed inspection on Saturday and opened on Sunday. Only the Cobra and one of the kiddie rides need additional work before they’re ready to open.

Cobra Ride

Cobra Ride, Cha Cha’s Steeplechase Park. June 23, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The cost of a single ride on the MegaWhirl is $5, according to Gordon. In early May, the ride designer and the manufacturer Larson International brought the MegaWhirl from the factory floor in Texas to make its world debut in Coney Island. As previously reported, the ride combines the thrill of the Tilt-A-Whirl and the Whip. The new ride’s arrival is another promising sign of Coney Island’s revival. Back in the day, the first models of new park or carnival rides would make their debut here.

The opening of Cha Cha’s Steeplechase Park marks the return of rides to Thor Equities’ Stillwell Avenue lots for the first time since July 2008. Amusements existed here for more than 100 years until Joe Sitt bought the property and booted longtime ride and game operators in 2006. The Thor-owned Stillwell sites were used for a carnival in 2008, a flea market in 2009 and 2011, and remained vacant in 2010.

Mozzarepa and other street fair food at Cha Cha’s Steeplechase Park, June 23, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

On Saturday, the flea vendors of the BK Festival on the west side of Thor Equities’ Stillwell lot were once again doing business. On the east side of Stillwell, Cha Cha’s new outdoor Club Atlantis Bar was serving customers. Adjacent to Wonder Wheel Way and Scream Zone, the bar has a lot of space for table seating. It combines elements of Cha Cha’s former Club Atlantis on the Boardwalk with Beer Island minus the sand — for now.

Also open were a variety of food stands of the type one finds at street fairs. The food looked appetizing and less pricey than similar fare at Nathan’s. After seeing a friend enjoying a chicken shish-kebob, we tried one for $5 and would eat there again. Oddly enough, shish-kebob has been eliminated from the menus of the Boardwalk eateries Paul’s Daughter and Ruby’s Bar. The only other places you can get it in Coney Island are Gyro Corner, which has a location on the Bowery, and Pete’s Clam Stop on Surf.

Basketball Game

Ray’s Basketball Game, Coney Island. May 28, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Sadly, two Coney Island veterans previously displaced by redevelopment will not be able to open their businesses anytime soon. Ray’s Basketball, which is on the Steeplechase lot facing the Bowery, and Steve’s Grill House, currently on Thor’s 12th Street lot, got new locations that have literally left them up against a fence. The original plans for the new Steeplechase park and two satellite locations on Surf Avenue called for opening the fencing during business hours. It turns out that city regulations will not permit it.

Steve Bitetzakis’ Grill House has lost its location twice in the past year. On the Coney Island Boardwalk since 1993, Steve’s was one of the “Coney Island 8″ evicted by Zamperla. In February he sold his modular building to Zamperla, which is remodeling it and the former Beer Island to create the Place To Beach Bar. After purchasing a concession trailer, Steve’s opened for Easter on Thor Equities’ Stillwell East lot leased to the BK Festival. He lost his spot and was relocated to Surf when the festival closed to make way for the new Steeplechase Park.

Ray’s Basketball, which was moved from the Coney Island Arcade lot, is not on wheels and would require a crane to pick it up and turn it around 180 degrees. Anybody want to help these guys out?

Steve's Grill House

Up Against the Fence: Steve’s Grill House. June 22, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

UPDATE June 30, 2012

Ray's Basketball Coney IslandYay for Ray! His basketball game is no longer “fenced off” and will be able to do biz on 4th of July. Ray finally managed to open on Friday, June 29, for the first time this season after the chain link fence next to his awning was opened. Note the portable fencing placed in front of the basketball game, probably as per the letter of the law. Steve’s Grill House and the West 12th Street lot remain closed.

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Related posts on ATZ…

June 15, 2012: Amusing the Zillion’s Guide to Free Summer Events in Coney Island

May 17, 2012: Coney Island’s Cha Cha Puts His Name on Steeplechase

May 1, 2012: MegaWhirl Ride Prototype to Debut in Coney Island

April 19, 2012: Rides Return to Thor’s Stillwell Lots for 1st Time Since 2008

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Coney Island Pina Colada

Coney Island Pina Colada Girl, Surf Avenue. June 23, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

If you’re thirsty for a pina colada, look no further than Desree’s Hawaiian hut. Free refills! Coney Island’s Pina Colada Girl is one of the Jones Walk evictees who was lucky enough to lease a new spot. Mermaid Parade Day found her on Surf Avenue. One of the signs on her booth stopped us in our tracks– EGG CREAMS! We’ll be back.

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June 23, 2012: Opening Today: Coney Island Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

April 7, 2012: Cheers! First Drink at Relocated Cha Cha’s of Coney Island

May 29, 2012: Photo Album: Coney Island Lights & Signs of the Times

May 22, 2012: Photo Album: Welcome Back, Paul’s Daughter & Ruby’s Bar!

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Grimaldi's Coney Island

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, Coney Island. June 22, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Yesterday, ATZ peeked inside the new Grimaldi’s Pizzeria on Surf Avenue in Coney Island to see what we could see. Workers inside said the restaurant was opening today! Today is of course Mermaid Parade Day and Surf Avenue will be thronged with tens of thousands of mer-people as well as folks watching the parade. We predict a very busy first day in Coney Island for the famed Brooklyn pizzeria.

Under construction for three months, Grimaldi’s is on the less traveled north side of Surf Avenue directly across from the Eldorado Skooters. Its sign is highly visible from the subway as well as the amusement area and should help attract customers. This week, a 3-D Brooklyn Bridge that lights up was hoisted by crane onto the sign’s New York City skyline. Inside the cavernous space, vintage photos of old Coney Island and the City’s rendering of the new Coney Island line the walls. Tables and chairs are set up and ready to welcome customers. Buon appetito, mermaids and mermen!

Grimaldi’s, 1215 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11224

UPDATE April 1, 2013

In reply to numerous queries: No, Grimaldi’s Surf Avenue has not yet opened post-Sandy. It’s expected to re-open by May 1st
https://amusingthezillion.com/2013/04/17/sandy-damaged-grimaldis-pizzeria-in-coney-island-to-reopen-in-2-weeks/

UPDATE December 30, 2012:

Readers have been asking if Grimaldi’s is open year round. It would be open if it hadn’t been for Hurricane Sandy. The last time we dined there was on the eve of the hurricane! Unfortunately, Grimaldi’s is among the many local businesses that remain closed due to flood damage from Sandy and is expected to reopen in the spring. In the meantime you can visit the restaurant’s other locations, including DUMBO, Queens, Manhattan and Hoboken. This post about Grimaldi’s opening on Mermaid Day was #4 on “Amusing the Zillion’s Top 10 Coney Island News Stories of 2012.”

UPDATE June 30, 2012, 12 noon:

Grimaldi’s is open. Buon appetito!

UPDATE June 28, 2012:

After opening on Mermaid Parade Weekend, the new Surf Avenue Grimaldi’s got its first review from Devour NYC, who called it “a great tasting pizza and for $14 for a large pie, it may be the best deal in Coney Island.” The reviewer said there was an hour wait, so we decided to try it today–a Thursday. But Grimaldi’s was closed and our Coney friends were wondering if it was only open on weekends for now. ATZ phoned Joe, Grimaldi’s General Manager, who said they were closed temporarily due to a permitting issue with the City, and expected to reopen on Friday, June 29, or by July 1st. The pizzeria will be open daily from 11:30am or 12 noon. The Coney Island location does not have a phone yet, but we’ll post an update as soon as possible after it reopens.

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June 25, 2012: New Club Atlantis, MegaWhirl Ride Open in Coney Island

June 15, 2012: Amusing the Zillion’s Guide to Free Summer Events in Coney Island

May 29, 2012: Photo Album: Coney Island Lights & Signs of the Times

May 19, 2012: Paul’s Daughter & Ruby’s Bar Reopen on Saturday, Restored Signs to Return!

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Funny Face

Mermaid Avenue Funny Face. June 18, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

In Coney Island’s revamped amusement area, hand-painted vernacular signage and public art are rapidly being displaced by custom lighted signs or painted over. Just a few blocks away on Mermaid Avenue, mural painting by local artists is still thriving. Walking from Stillwell Avenue to West 28th Street, ATZ came across work on almost every block, including a Funny Face touting “Parking for Puertoricans Only,” murals memorializing lost friends and a community art project celebrating growth and diversity.

Église  Evangelique Haitienne

Église Evangelique Haitienne, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

One block north of Surf Avenue, Mermaid Avenue is the neighborhood’s shopping district, populated with stores, restaurants, churches and community organizations such as Astella Development and South Brooklyn Youth Consortium. As Woody Guthrie famously says in his song “Mermaid’s Avenue” written in 1950: “Mermaid Avenue that’s the street where all colors of goodfolks meet.”

Mural Memorializing Jose Chin, Five Deli Grocery, West 28th Street, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The mural pictured above dedicated to the memory of Jose Chin is painted on a wall outside of Five Deli Grocery on West 28th Street and Mermaid Avenue. Coney Island artist Kwamin Serguson finished it on April 21, 2012, two years after Jose’s passing at age 22, according to an article in Astella Action News. The mural is one of several poignant memorials to lost youth that can be found on the sides of buildings.

Memorial Mural

Memorial Mural at Five Deli Grocery, West 28th Street, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Vision of Growth, created by Groundswell in collaboration with South Brooklyn Youth Consortium, is on West 27th Street at Mermaid Avenue. The 15 by 80 foot acrylic on cinderblock mural features images of Coney Island landmarks and highlights the diversity of the community. The project was part of Groundswell’s 2008 Summer Leadership Institute. “Artists Alex Pimienta and Jessica Poplawski worked with a team of youth to create a colorful mural celebrating the people, changing communities, and future of Coney Island,” says the project description.

Groundswell

Detail of A Vision of Growth: Groundswell in collaboration with South Brooklyn Youth Consortium. Mermaid Ave at W 27th St, Coney Island. Photo by Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The young mural artists from the South Brooklyn Youth Consortium are Mohamed Abdelrahman, Michael Coleman, Shani Coleman, Nicholas Collazo, Ahmathya Edwards, Mashayach Edwards, Michael Ferrera, Angel Garcia, Andrea Gil, Doris Huey, Emily Lew, Carla Pierre Paul and Ken Zheng.

Groundswell

Detail of A Vision of Growth: Groundswell in collaboration with South Brooklyn Youth Consortium. Mermaid Ave at W 27th St, Coney Island. Photo by Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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May 29, 2012: Photo Album: Coney Island Lights & Signs of the Times

March 2, 2012: Coney Island Murals by Street Artists Await Their Fate

February 5, 2012: Botched Job: Coney Island Art Exiled by Thor Equities

June 1, 2011: Photo Album: Street Art Down by the Coney Island Bowery

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Coney Island Fireworks Posters. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Coney Island is still the People’s Playground. You can come here with a couple of bucks in your pocket and have a great time people watching on the boardwalk. Here’s our guide to more than a dozen free events this summer, including fireworks, music, dancing and movies on the beach. Stay tuned for the 2012 schedule of the Seaside Summer Concert Series, which will once again be held at Surf Avenue and 21st Street in Coney Island beginning in mid-July. Update July 7: The free concerts begin on July 12 with Gloria Gaynor and the Village People. Among the six summer concerts are Joan Jett and the Blackhearts on August 9 and Gladys Knight and the Commodores on August 16. Check the Seaside Concert website for full schedule and details.

Friday Night Fireworks, June 15 through August 31. Coney Island Boardwalk. The first Friday night fireworks of Coney’s 2012 season begin today at 9:30 pm. The free summer-long show is once again sponsored by Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, Luna Park including the Scream Zone and the Cyclone, and the Brooklyn Cyclones. In addition, the Cyclones have scheduled fireworks on their Opening Day– Monday, June 18th—as well as on Wednesday, July 4th, and four Saturdays when they have home games: July 7, August 4, August 11 and August 25. Friday night “Karaoke on the Boardwalk” in front of the Wonder Wheel also starts today from 7pm.

Coney Island Dancers

Coney Island Dancers. Photo © Jim McDonnell via smugmug

Coney Island Dancers Outdoor Dance Parties, Boardwalk at W 10th Street and W 15th Street. Dance and party at two locations on the Boardwalk this summer with the Coney Island Dancers. CID’s Commander-in-chief Rican Vargas–he’s the guy in military whites– says the group has been performing on the boardwalk for almost 15 years: “Just follow your ears to the beat and your eyes to the gathering.” The weekend parties are 12 noon till 8pm, with a street festival set for Saturday, August 18th on West 10th Street. Check the schedule on CID’s website.

Pet Costume Contest. Photo © Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park

Pet Day and Pet Costume Contest, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. Saturday, June 16. Last Year’s 1st Annual Pet Day was an occasion for costumed dogs and one lucky parrot to parade on the Boardwalk and ride in miniature floats. The pooches wore a sailor hat, an opera hat, sunglasses and even a Hawaiian skirt. We’re hoping to see a Noah’s Ark of exotic pets this year–how about a hermit crab or an iguana? The costume contest begins at 2pm, with preregistration recommended for the 25 slots. Pets are also invited to ride the Wonder Wheel with their owners. Sonny, a Rottweiler owned by Wonder Wheel Park’s Vourderis family, used to ride all day in his very own car. He loved the Wonder Wheel. RIP Sonny.

Abe Feinstein at the Coney Island History Project. Photo © Coney Island History Project.

“Abe Feinstein: 50 Years of Coney Island Photography,” Coney Island History Project, through July 1. In the History Project’s free exhibit center on 12th Street, you’ll see photos of a vanished Coney Island that you won’t find anywhere else. Abe Feinstein, 83, has been photographing his neighborhood since he moved to Luna Park Houses in 1962. Selected and printed by History Project director Charles Denson, the images include icons like Steeplechase Park’s Pavilion of Fun, the Parachute Jump in action, and Shatzkin’s Knishes, where signs advertised huckleberry and cherry knishes. The show runs through July 1 at the exhibit center, which is open Saturdays and Sundays from 12 noon till 6pm.

Mermaid Parade

Mermaid Parade founder Dick Zigun of Coney Island USA beating his drum. Photo © Tricia Vita

Mermaid Parade, June 23. We’ve met New Yorkers who passionately proclaim their love for Coney Island though they come here only once a year for the Mermaid Parade. It’s worth the trip from anywhere. If you plan to join the parade as a mermaid or other sea creature, we recommend registering in advance. Our fave free spot to watch (and photograph) the parade is near the reviewing stand on Surf Avenue at West 12th Street, where marching groups strut their stuff and bribe the judges. Other good spots to watch the parade for free are on Surf Avenue at the corner of Stillwell facing Nathan’s or West 10th near the Cyclone. The Boardwalk has great ambiance, but you’ll miss seeing the hippie buses and vintage cars. This year the parade is celebrating its 30th anniversary and is bound to be jam-packed. It starts at 2pm. Don’t be late–or you may find yourself unable to swim across Surf Avenue!

Hot Dog Eating Contest

Sound Check for Nathan’s 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest. Photo © Tricia Vita

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, July 4. The Road to Coney for 15 regional qualifiers leads to the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues for “The Big Dance.” If you can’t make it, the event will be televised live on ESPN at 3 pm. Yes, that’s right, the traditional starting time of “high noon” has been changed due to ESPN’s live coverage of the Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals. On the plus side, the one-hour telecast will also include coverage of the Women’s Championship. Go, Sonya! UPDATE June 26: According to a press release from Major League Eating, the contest was changed back to its original starting time of 12 noon, with the women’s championship at 11:30 am. Traffic jam averted: “An expected crowd of some 40,000 for the contest followed by an early evening Cyclones game required the contest to be moved back to 12 Noon.”

Coney Island Film Series

Coney Island Flicks on the Beach Summer Film Series. Photo Courtesy of EPIX

Flicks on the Beach, Schedule TBA. Last summer, Flicks on the Beach was a welcome new addition to Coney’s roster of free summer-long events and will be returning this season though the schedule has yet to be announced. The Coney Island Development Corporation (CIDC), NYC & Company and EpixHD partnered with Rooftop Films to launch the free Monday night film series on the beach. The event drew over 3,000 attendees to its eight movie screenings featuring such popular films as Saturday Night Fever, Annie Hall and Moonstruck along with pre-show entertainment and contests. Which flicks would you like to see this summer? UPDATE July 9: The 2012 season of Flicks on the Beach began on July 2 and continues on Monday nights through August 6 August 13. The schedule includes Bound for Glory featuring David Carradine as Woody Guthrie, Woody Allen’s Manhattan, and Jim Henson’s The Muppets. Full schedule here. The show begins at dusk on the beach near West 10th Street.

Sand Sculpting Contest

Sand Sculpting Contest, Coney Island. Photo © Bruce Handy/Coney Island Photo Diary via flickr

22nd Annual Sand Sculpting Contest & Unity Day, July 21. According to the contest sponsor Astella Development, amateur sculptors will compete in five categories for cash prizes of $400, $200 and $100. The contest takes place on the beach from West 10th to West 12th Streets, where fifty mounds of sand are prepared by the Parks Department for the sand sculptors to transform into works of art. Pre-register online at Astella’s website.

Coney Island Talent Show

Coney Island Talent Show. Photo © Bruce Handy/Coney Island Photo Diary via flickr

3rd Annual Coney Island Talent Show, July 28. The first Coney Island Talent Show – “A spectacle of sunshine and lollipops on the Boardwalk!”–was the most successful new Coney event of the season. It featured singers, dancers, magicians and jugglers, as well as a contortionist, a sword swallower, and Justin Bieber and Jackie Gleason impersonators. The 3rd annual talent show might feature — you! Producer Jen Gapay of Thirsty Girl Productions has posted an open call for contestants for this year’s contest. The talent show’s four categories are Creative Kids 9-12 years old, Creative Kids 13-17 years old, Circus Freaks and Sideshow Geeks, Song and Dance, and Best Drag Performance or Celebrity Impersonator. For an application visit coneyislandtalentshow.com.

Witches in Bikinis

Wonder Wheel Music Marathon. Photo © Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park

7th Annual Deno’s Wonder Wheel Music Marathon, August 4 and 18. A dozen rock and surf bands including The Clams, Strange But Surf, and Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion! will play on the Boardwalk in front of the Wonder Wheel for two Saturdays in August from 2pm. Brooklyn babes Witches in Bikinis are perennial faves. According to their bio, the group formed in 2005 for a performance of ‘Witches In Bikinis’ with one singer and two witch back-ups at The Slipper Room in Manhattan’s Lower East Side for a fundraiser. Current witches Ali, Dreamie, Kaitlin, Kendra and Ruthie will cast their spell on August 18.

History Day

Spook-A-Rama’s Cyclops on History Day. Photo © Jim McDonnell

2nd Annual History Day at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park and The Coney Island History Project, August 11 August 12. For the second year in a row, the 92-year-old landmark Wonder Wheel teams up with the non-profit Coney Island History Project to bring live music, entertainment and history to the heart of Coney Island. Last year, Spook-A-Rama’s legendary Cyclops came out of retirement to join in the fun. At this season’s event, the Hungry March Band, Banjo Rascals, Benjamin Ickies & the Coney Island Screamers, and Lady Circus will perform on the Boardwalk, West 12th Street and throughout Wonder Wheel Park. A Coney trivia contest with historian Charles Denson and a Wonder Wheel Draw-a-thon are some of this year’s activities. Prizes include ride passes and souvenirs of good ol’ Coney Island.

Luna Park Dancers

Dancers at Luna Park. Photo © Jim McDonnell via smugmug

New York City’s Got Talent and End of Summer Concert, Luna Park. August. Luna Park is launching two brand-new free events in August. On three consecutive Fridays–August 3, 10 and 17–performers will compete in “New York City’s Got Talent” for the chance to perform in Z100’s End of Summer Concert at Luna Park. The concert promises “today’s hottest performers, as well as known & loved Brooklyn talent” and will be held on West 10th Street on August 24. (Update…August 10 show rescheduled for Sunday, August 12, 4-7pm)

Many thanks to Coney Island photographers Bruce Handy and Jim McDonnell for their photos.

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Related posts on ATZ…

July 9, 2012: Coney Island 2012: Free Movie Screenings on the Beach

May 29, 2012: Photo Album: Coney Island Lights & Signs of the Times

May 13, 2012: Coney Island Fireworks 2012: Fridays, 4 Saturdays & July 4th

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

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