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Posts Tagged ‘Kenny Lombardi’

Wonder Moon cCney Island

Wonder Moon in Coney Island, March 26, 2013. Photo © Bruce Handy

One night last March, as Coney Island’s amusement parks stood dark and silent, a full moon peered over the track of the landmark Cyclone roller coaster and the Wonder Wheel’s “Thrills” sign. Surf Avenue resident and “street photographer” Bruce Handy was taking his daily photo walk with a friend and brought home this exquisite capture. Beginning on Saturday, “A Stroll Through Coney Island Among Friends,” a photo exhibit featuring the work of five Coney Island photographers and friends who take photos of the People’s Playground year-round on a daily or weekly basis will be on view at Coney Island USA.

Bruce Handy, Jim McDonnell, Norman Blake, Kenny Lombardi and Eric Kowalsky are longtime friends of ATZ and contributors to this blog, so we selected five favorite photos from our archive for this post. You should know the work of these local photographers because in contrast to the many world-renowned photographers, occasional visitors and tourists who are drawn here, they know Coney inside out and in all of its seasons.

Rubys

Rubys Old Tyme Bar and Grill. November 20, 2010. Copyright © Kenny Lombardi 2010. All Rights Reserved

The show’s title should be taken literally as well as metaphorically because these friends are often seen together, cameras in hand, riding the Wonder Wheel at sunset and strolling on the boardwalk and the pier. Bruce Handy and Eric Kowalsky live right across the street from Coney Island’s amusement parks while Jim McDonnell resides a couple of subway stops away. Brooklynites Norman Blake and Kenny Lombardi are official photographers for Coney Island USA, where they take photos of sideshow and burlesque performers and mermaids galore. Norman’s delightfully quirky photos of kite flying on the beach and a sea lion smooch at the Aquarium have appeared on ATZ, as have Kenny’s atmospheric photos of the Boardwalk bars Ruby’s and Cha Cha’s.

Anjelica performing during the opening night party at the 2007 Coney Island Film Festival. © 2007 Norman Blake. All rights reserved. NB Photo Flash via flickr

Anjelica performing during the opening night party at the 2007 Coney Island Film Festival. © 2007 Norman Blake. All rights reserved. NB Photo Flash via flickr

As members of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club, Bruce Handy and Jim McDonnell are among the hardy group who go for Sunday swims from November through April. On the Fourth of July back in 2011, Jim took the amazing shot below of Coney’s beach brimming with colorful umbrellas, which calls to mind photos from the 1930s and ’40s of the beach jam-packed with people, sans umbrellas. Among other notable photos of Jim’s that have appeared on ATZ are his heartbreaking set of images shot the day after Superstorm Sandy struck Coney Island. Jim, who works professionally as a footage guru as well as a photographer for Luna Park, has been compiling a summer’s worth of dance moves into “Coney Island Dancing” videos every September since 2010.

Beach Umbrellas in Coney Island

Beach Umbrellas in Coney Island. July 4, 2011. Photo © Jim McDonnell via smugmug

Eric Kowalsky, 23, is like a kid brother to the other four photographers, who are in their 40s and 50s. Born and raised in Coney Island, he takes his inspiration from his grandfather Abe Feinstein, who has been documenting Coney Island since he moved to Luna Park Houses with his family in 1962. Among the notable photos by Eric that are posted on ATZ are images of the demolition of Thor Equities-owned Henderson Building and the Bank of Coney Island. On a happier note, two icons of American air and space history meet in Eric’s awesome photo of the Space Shuttle Enterprise flying over the Parachute Jump in 2012.

“A Stroll Through Coney Island Among Friends,” Saturdays and Sundays, February 22 -April 6, 12pm to 5pm. Opening reception on February 22 from noon to 5pm. Coney Island USA Shooting Gallery/Arts Annex, 1214 Surf Avenue, Coney Island

Space Shuttle over Coney Island

Space Shuttle Enterprise Flies Over Coney Island’s Parachute Jump. April 27, 2012. Photo © Eric Kowalsky. All Rights Reserved

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Related posts on ATZ…

December 31, 2013: Amusing the Zillion’s Coney Island 2013 Year in Review

December 9, 2013: Photo Album: First Snow of the Season in Coney Island by Bruce Handy

September 17, 2013: ATZ’s Top 10 Coney Island Film Festival Picks

September 13, 2013: Coney Island Always: Visiting the Big CI Year-Round

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Rubys

Rubys Old Tyme Bar and Grill. November 20, 2010. Copyright © Kenny Lombardi 2010. All Rights Reserved

Ruby’s Bar was closed on Saturday for Yom Kippur, but they’re open today and every day at 11 am till the end of October. Last fall, there were a slew of “last call” parties at Ruby’s, but sadly this year’s goodbye party on October 29th really is goodbye. The fact that Ruby’s merited a Critics’ Picks in New York Magazine and was voted one of the World’s 21 Sexiest Beach Bars by the Travel Channel means nothing to people bent on gentrifying and corporatizing the Boardwalk. As we wrote yesterday, the one-year reprieve is over for the Boardwalk Mom-and-Pops who were first served “surrender the premises” notices by Zamperla’s Central Amusement International last November.

Seven businesses–Ruby’s Bar, Paul’s Daughter, Cha Cha’s, Gyro Corner, Steve’s Grill House, Beer Island and the Suh family’s Coney Island Souvenir Shop– must vacate their City-owned storefronts by November 4, 2011 as per the terms of the one-year lease extension.

ATZ is saying goodbye to old friends with a favorite photo a day from October 8 through November 4. Click the tag “Countdown to Corporatization” to find all of the photos. Thanks to Kenny Lombardi–KeneL9999 on flickr– who frequently photographs Coney Island and its denizens, for this timeless photo of Ruby’s Old Tyme Bar and Grill.

UPDATE October 27, 2011, 11:40 am

Ruby’s “Final Closing Party” was changed to Sunday, October 30, due to weather forecast for Saturday. Same time–11am till ??–same place. Check Ruby’s Facebook page for updates.

Related posts on ATZ…

October 20, 2011: Reversal of Fortune on the Coney Island Boardwalk

September 26, 2011: 85th Birthday Party for Beloved Bartender at Ruby’s Bar

January 7, 2011: Photo of the Day: Greetings from Ruby’s Snow Mountain Resort!

November 3, 2010: Friends of Ruby’s Bar Launch Petition, Plan Nov 6 Rally

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Robert Ross Band at Cha Cha's of Coney Island. October 15, 2010. Copyright © Kenny Lombardi 2010. All Rights Reserved.

Robert Ross Band at Cha Cha's of Coney Island. October 15, 2010. Copyright © Kenny Lombardi 2010. All Rights Reserved.

ATZ enjoyed some great music and great company last night at Cha Cha’s in Coney Island. The fact that both the 2010 season and the leases of the Boardwalk businesses end on October 31 makes us appreciate the good times even more. Last night, Robert “Bluesman” Ross and his Bluesmanian Devils played some smoking hot blues and kicked off a weekend tribute to JT.

John Thomas, who passed away in September, was the general manager of Cha Cha’s and its predecessor Club Atlantis for many years. He gave quite a few bands their start, which is reflected in the line up for Sunday’s all-day jam session: Classic Rock with Girls on Top, Bridgid Bibbens of Viper Vixens, Mel “Guitar” Williams, Amy Madden, Phoenix Rivera, Stephen Porro and Paul Sanchez are among the musicians who will perform beginning at 2:30 pm.

ATZ will be back on the Boardwalk tonight to hang out at Ruby’s with South Brooklyn bloggers Brian Hedden of BK Southie and Ned Berke of Sheepshead Bites, among others. Then we’ll adjourn to Cha Cha’s to catch Bluesball’s set. The group performs music by Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, Little Walter, and Howling Wolf. Perhaps they will play “How Many More Years”…

Cha Cha's Bar & Cafe on the Boardwalk in Coney Island. June 1, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i  via flickr

Cha Cha's Bar & Cafe on the Boardwalk in Coney Island. June 1, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Last night we asked John “Cha Cha” Ciarcia, owner of Cha Cha’s and nearby Beer Island, if he expected to be back next year. “I’ll be back,” he vowed, “If they let me.” Ciarcia and other longtime business owners on the Boardwalk were required to submit business proposals to new landlord Luna Park/Zamperla to qualify for a 9-year lease. The City purchased the land from Thor Equities last year. Zamperla USA CEO Valerio Ferrari tells us some of the Boardwalk businesses will be back in 2011 and some won’t. Will the good times roll in 2011 at Cha Cha’s and Ruby’s? An announcement is expected on October 31. In the meantime, go and enjoy the last few weeks of the season. If you have a sentimental favorite, take some photos as a souvenir. Word on the street is the Boardwalk is going to look a lot different next season.

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Related posts on ATZ…

October 10, 2010: Coney Island After Columbus Day: We’re Still Open!

August 18 2010: Luna Park NYC Halloween Gig for Famed Haunted House Creator

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

October 30 2009: Nov 1: Coney Island Polar Bear Club’s First Swim of the Season!

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