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Coney Island Fireworks

Coney Island Fireworks from Steeplechase Pier, July 29, 2011, Photo © Jim McDonnell. All Rights Reserved

UPDATE May 10, 2014: Readers are already starting to ask about this year’s fireworks, so here you go: The first Friday night fireworks show of Coney Island’s 2014 season will be on June 20, the eve of both the first day of summer and the Mermaid Parade. Schedule for 2014 fireworks is here.

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.

It’s that time of year when we start to get queries about whether Coney Island has fireworks on Memorial Day. The answer is Coney Island’s tradition of Friday night fireworks begins in mid-June. But if you come out on Memorial Day Weekend, the beach opens for the season and you’ll also be able to ride a record number of new rides as well as old favorites.

The first Coney Island fireworks show of the 2012 season is on June 15 and this free weekly event continues every Friday through August 31. The pyrotechnic extravaganza starts at 9:30 pm. Best viewing is on the Boardwalk from West 10th to West 12th Streets, on the Wonder Wheel or from Steeplechase Pier. Coney Island will also have fireworks on the Fourth of July this year for the first time in years since the date is a Brooklyn Cyclones home game!

Please patronize the sponsors of the fireworks: Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park; Luna Park, including Scream Zone and the Cyclone; and the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball team.

In addition, the Brooklyn Cyclones have scheduled fireworks on the following four Saturdays after their home games as well as on one Monday–Opening Day–and one Wednesday, which falls on July 4th:

Monday June 18th – OPENING DAY – vs. Staten Island Yankess
Wednesday July 4th – vs. Williamsport Crosscutters
Saturday July 7th – vs. Jamestown Jammers
Saturday Aug 4th – vs. Auburn Doubledays
Saturday Aug 11th – vs. Vermont Lake Monsters
Saturday Aug 25 – vs. Staten Island Yankees

The fireworks after the home games are shot off from the stadium located between West 16th and West 19th Streets and are best viewed from the Boardwalk or nearby streets.

When the weather is iffy on a day that fireworks are scheduled, check the Coney Island tweeters on Coney Island Fun’s list for updates.

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

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

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

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Coney Island Barrels of Fun

Coney Barrels of Fun Painting. May 7, 2011. Photo © Bruce Handy

Here’s your chance to create art that will be seen by zillions in Coney Island this summer! On Saturday, May 5th, the public is invited to paint the Parks Department’s trash barrels at the 6th annual Boardwalk of Barrels of Fun event. Registration for the free event begins at 10 am on the Boardwalk between West 10th and West 12th Streets in front of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park and Luna Park. Paint and brushes are provided.

For inspiration, take a look at Coney Island photographer Bruce Handy’s slide show of last season’s Barrels of Fun. Amid a sea of colorful abstract compositions, you’ll find mermaids and other marine species as well as a gold-toothed Funny Face, Popeye the Sailor Man and the Wonder Wheel.

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May 3, 2011: Photo of the Day: Street Art by RAE in Coney Island

April 15, 2011: Photo Album: Whimsical Murals Blossom in Coney Island

May 4, 2010: Rare & Vintage: Major Debert the Tiniest Man’s Sideshow Banner

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

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“Everyone likes to dance at Coney Island,” says photographer and Coney regular Jim McDonnell, who has been shooting Coney Island Dancing 2011 all summer long. We’ve been anticipating the debut of the second vid in what promises to be an annual series. Jim is a professional film editor and self-described “footage guru” who has a knack for distilling a season’s worth of dance moves at the People’s Playground into a short video.

The 2011 vid clocks in at four minutes and 48 seconds–one minute and 19 seconds longer than Coney Island Dancing 2010–so you’ll get to see more dancers this year. In addition, it’s set to music with a less frenetic tempo and a mellow mood: Intodeep’s “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life.” Highlights include the Coney Island Dancers, Mermaid Paraders and performers in Luna Park and the Coney Island Talent Show on the Boardwalk. Music at the Polar Express, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park and Coney Island Flicks on the Beach also sets the stage for impromptu boogying.

If you’re not in this video, or on the cutting room floor, chances are you haven’t spent enough time dancing on the boards. There’s always next summer.

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December 16, 2010: Blast from the Past: LFO’s Summer Girls Music Video

November 30, 2010: Video: The Wanted’s Lose My Mind at Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel Park

August 7, 2010: Video: Coney Island Dancing by Jim McDonnell

April 17, 2010: Our Fave Coney Island Song: Joe McGinty’s Million Dollar Mermaid

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Composite

Composite Hand Painted Trash Can - Three Sides, Coney Island. July 22, 2008. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

Calling Picassos of all ages! On Saturday at 10 am, you’re invited to create trash can art that will be displayed on Coney Island’s world-famous Boardwalk all season long. The Parks Department provides the barrels and painting supplies for the 5th annual Boardwalk Barrels of Fun, you supply the talent.

On flickr, ATZ found almost 200 photos of Boardwalk trash can art from past seasons, including abstracts, seascapes, and carnival-themed art. The above composite by Coney Island photographer Bruce Handy shows the three sides of a striking Cyclone, Wonder Wheel and mermaid-themed barrel from 2008.

To get an early start on your masterpiece, register in advance by phoning 718-965-8917. You may also register at the event, which begins at 10 am on the Coney Island Boardwalk between W. 10th and W 12th Street. Judging starts at 12 noon and awards are presented at 1 pm.

The free event is sponsored by New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement & Kiddie Park, Coney Island Development Corporation, New York Aquarium, Brooklyn Cyclones, Luna Park & Scream Zone.

UPDATE May 8, 2011…The new crop of Boardwalk Barrels of Fun are looking good! Here’s a link to Bruce Handy’s flickr slide show of Saturday’s event.

UPDATE May 2, 2012…This season’s Boardwalk Barrels of Fun is scheduled for Saturday, May 5th. Registration starts at 10 am on the Boardwalk between West 10th and West 12th Streets in front of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park and Luna Park. Paint and brushes are provided.

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May 4, 2012: Photo Album: Art Seen By Zillions in Coney Island

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

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Rooftop Films

Rooftop Films outdoor movie screenings include such venues as the roof of El Museo del Barrio in East Harlem. Photo © Dillon DeWaters via Rooftop Films

UPDATE… JULY 9, 2012… The 2012 season of Coney Island Flicks on the Beach began on July 2 and continues on Monday nights through August 6. The schedule includes Bound for Glory featuring David Carradine as Woody Guthrie, Woody Allen’s Manhattan, and Jim Henson’s The Muppets. Full schedule at “Coney Island 2012: Free Movie Screenings on the Beach” (ATZ, July 9, 2012).

Rooftop Films, a nonprofit which has been showing underground films outdoors in New York City since 1997, will bring free movie screenings to Coney Island’s beach this summer. The Coney Island Development Corporation (CIDC), NYC & Company and EpixHD are partnering with Rooftop to launch the new Coney Island Film Series.

Lela Scott-MacNeil of Rooftop Films tells ATZ that the Coney Island screenings will be free of charge and the program is being put together especially for the new venue. “It is not part of our regular summer series,” said Scott-McNeil. When details of the Coney Island program are announced, ATZ will post an update.

Rooftop’s 14th Summer Series of “Underground Movies Outdoors” includes 25 feature films and over 150 short films in themed programs. Screening venues include Fort Greene Park, Socrates Sculpture Park and the roofs of Brooklyn Tech, El Museo del Barrio and Brooklyn Grange in Long Island City. According to Rooftop’s website: “We couple films with venues, and connect artists with audiences so that each event is unique and memorable.”

A tip of the hat to our friend Brian Hedden of the South Brooklyn blog BK Southie, who wrote in January, “Dear Luna Park, make this happen, movies at the beach.” Today he says: “Hey, I’m glad someone was listening back when I was begging for beachside movies!” ATZ urges BK Southie and everyone else to keep the ideas coming for event programming in Coney Island. Your idea could turn out to be the next new thing! We also ask our readers: What movies would you like to see on the big screen at Coney Island’s beach?

UPDATE, May 16, 2011…

NYC & Co. announced the schedule for the new film series today.  Coney Island Flicks on the Beach will be shown on Monday nights at sundown on the beach between W 10th and W 12th Streets. The series begins on July 11 with Saturday Night Fever. Here’s the full schedule…

July 11
- Saturday Night Fever (1977)
The ’70s disco-kid flick stars a young John Travolta in an Oscar-nominated performance as Tony Manero, a Brooklyn teen who works a dead-end job and suffers from “night fever,” but knows how to boogie it off. The film is famously set in NYC, largely in the now-closed Bay Ridge disco 2001 Odyssey.

July 18
- Rango (2011)
This animated comedy-western follows Rango (Johnny Depp), a domesticated lizard, as he stumbles upon a town in the Old West and winds up becoming sheriff, only to brave a rattlesnake showdown.

July 25 – Top Gun (1986)
Revisit the time when Tom Cruise was Maverick, a too-cool-for-school Navy fighter pilot recruit, fueled by the need for speed. The hit film celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

August 1- Iron Man 2 (2010)
Now that the world knows the double identity of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) as the armored superhero, everyone wants the Iron Man technology. Stark refuses to hand it over. But the evil Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) has built his own weapon to retaliate.

August 8
 – Annie Hall (1977)
Woody Allen and Diane Keaton star in this romantic comedy as a neurotic yet charming New York couple who fall in love after an awkward meeting, flirt in Central Park, argue over lobsters in the Hamptons and, eventually, split.

August 15
 – Moonstruck (1987)
Cher plays Loretta, a widowed, 30-something Brooklyn bookkeeper who, while indifferently engaged to Johnny (Danny Aiello), falls for her fiancé’s estranged brother, Ronny (a young, hairy and angry Nicolas Cage).

August 22
 – Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (2011)
Watch the Biebs prepare for his first sold-out show at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. This documentary is titled for his song and mantra: “Never Say Never.”

August 29
 – How She Move (2008)
After her older sister dies suddenly, a talented teen flubs her chance at a private-school scholarship and moves back home to her family’s crime-ridden neighborhood. But after she earns a spot on a respected step crew, she discovers how her dance skills can deliver the future she dreams of.

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

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This Friday at 4 pm, Coney Island artist and rogue taxidermist Takeshi Yamada is giving his annual art talk at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Coney Island branch. Titled “Dragons and Mermaids: Coney Island Sideshow Special,” the free show-and-tell will feature rogue taxidermy specimens of dragons and mermaids created by the artist for his Museum of World Wonders. You’ll get to meet the six-foot-long mermaid pictured below at Secret Science’s Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest.

The Japanese-born artist and 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 Beach and Boardwalk with his taxidermied sea bunny Seara.

Takeshi Yamada with his Six Foot Fiji Mermaid.  November 2, 2007. Photo © istolethetv via flickr

Takeshi Yamada with his Six Foot Fiji Mermaid. November 2, 2007. Photo © istolethetv via flickr

If you haven’t seen Yamada’s long-running “Museum of World Wonders: Cabinet of Curiosities” yet, the exhibition is on view through Dec. 31 at the Coney Island Library.

–“Dragons and Mermaids: Coney Island Sideshow Special,” Art Lecture by Takeshi Yamada, October 29, Friday, 4 – 5pm, FREE. The library is a five-minute walk from the Stillwell Avenue subway terminal.
–“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, FREE. Check library hours here.

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

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

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Skydiving in Coney Island? © 2009 Norman Blake by NB Photo Flash via flickr. All rights reserved

Skydiving in Coney Island? © 2009 Norman Blake by NB Photo Flash via flickr. All rights reserved

UPDATE…the 2015 Coney Island Kite Festival is this weekend, September 26 and 27. Go fly your kite or go take photos – FREE!

Last August in Coney Island, photographer Norman Blake photographed this airborne octopus and his skydiver friend. This weekend in Coney, you’re invited to go fly a kite at the Coney Island Kite Festival. The event will be held this Saturday and Sunday, October 2nd and 3rd, from 10 am to 5 pm on Coney Island’s beach. It’s free!

“This will be our first big official event of this year, ” said Leucio Parrella, a member of the American Kitefliers Association (AKA), who adds that the festival of 2009 was cancelled. “Our first test run of the Coney Island Kite Festival was the weekend before Thanksgiving of 2008. We had bad weather.” The good news for kitefliers and their friends is this weekend’s forecast is sunny, in the 60s.

From the official description of “The 2nd Coney Island Kite Fest” on the AKA calendar:

Fly for fun. On the beach there will be big kites such as an octopus kite. We also will have dual kites and Quad kites. Large area for free flights of kites for everyone. On the beach from Bay West 8th Street to the Steeplechase fishing pier. For additional info contact Leucio Parrella of the Kite in Motion Club at buggylou8[AT]yahoo.com or 646-912-2447

Parrella told ATZ there will be three kite fields: “Two fields for AKA members and one field for public use. AKA Dual Kites and Quad kite field is 300 x 300 square feet and starts from West Bay 8 Street, AKA Big One Line Kites is from about West Bay 10 Street (Playground Area ) to Stillwell Avenue, and Public fly field is between Stillwell Avenue and West Bay 15 Street to the Fishing Pier on the beach.”

The festival is sanctioned by the American Kitefliers Association (AKA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to sharing kiting with the world.

The American Kitefliers Association was founded in 1964 by the late Robert M. Ingraham of New Mexico. Now, with over 3,000 members, in 25 countries, we are the largest association of kiters in the world. Our purpose is to educate the public in the art, history, technology, and practice of building and flying kites – to advance the joys and values of kiting in all nations.

We are men, women, adults and children, from all walks of life. Our interests run from kitebuilding to multi-line kite competition, from miniature kites, to aerial photography and more. Some of us are in the kite trade, but we are not a trade organization.

Octopus Spotted in Coney Island © 2009 Norman Blake by NB Photo Flash via flickr. All rights reserved

Octopus Spotted in Coney Island © 2009 Norman Blake by by NB Photo Flash via flickr. All rights reserved

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October 3, 2010: Photo of the Day: Kite Aerial Photography of Coney Island

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