Posts Tagged ‘New York City’

Christmas Vendor

Christmas Card Vendor, New York City, ca. 1908-1917. Bain News Service, Library of Congress Collection

These century-old photos of peddlers hawking holiday cards–one cent each!– teddy bears and ingenious toys on New York City streets, circa 1908-1917, are a window onto Christmases past for street vending. Exchange the clothing and the goods for the 21st century equivalent and they could be on the street today. Or maybe not…

Vendor of Christmas Toys

Vendor of Christmas Toys, 6th Ave, ca. 1908-1917. Bain News Service, Library of Congress Collection

According to the Street Vendor Project, a membership-based non-profit creating a grassroots movement for vendors, if you want to sell such items, you may be out of luck. In 1979, the New York City Council created a cap of 853 on the number of merchandise licenses. The waiting list is so long that the Department of Consumer Affairs closed it more than 20 years ago.

An exception is made for veterans who were discharged from the service as disabled and for those selling books, magazines, CDs, and art, which are protected by the First Amendment right to free speech. More than 90% of New York City’s street vendors are immigrants and about 10% of vendors are veterans granted a special license under a New York State Law passed in the 1890s.

Selling Xmas Toys on Street

Selling Xmas Toys on Street, ca. 1908-1917. Bain News Service, Library of Congress Collection

City regulation of street vending began in 1906, when a Mayoral Commission inquired into the so-called “Push-Cart Evil.” They concluded that the number of pushcart vendors and sidewalk stands should be regulated.

While adding materially to the picturesqueness of the city’s streets and imparting that air of foreign life which is so interesting to the traveler, lending an element of gaiety and charm to the scene which is otherwise lacking, the practical disadvantages from the undue congestion of peddlers in certain localities are so great as to lead to a demand in many quarters for the entire abolition of this industry, if it may be dignified by that term. It is argued, and with much reason, that when the city was smaller and there was no congestion of street traffic, there was no harm in permitting a few persons to earn their livelihood by peddling their wares along the highways.– Report of the Mayor’s Push-Cart Commission, The City of New York

At the time 97% of the vendors were Jewish, Italian and Greek immigrants who had lived in the U.S. from five to ten years. For many, peddling was not their sole occupation, and was often only a temporary way to make a living, as it was in my grandfather’s day, when he and my father had a wagon selling popcorn and 5- and 10-cent lunch.

Christmas toy seller

Christmas Toy Seller, New York City, ca. 1908-1917. Bain News Service, Library of Congress Collection

Pitching one’s wares was also strictly regulated according to the Annual Report of the Police Department of the City of New York for 1920.

Peddlers, Hawkers, and Vendors Generally

6. Section 133. No street peddler, or vendor, shall blow upon or use any horn or other instrument, nor make any noise tending to disturb the peace or quiet of a neighborhood, for the purpose of directing attention to his wares or trade. No peddler shall cry or sell his or her wares, or merchandise, on Sunday, nor after 9 o’clock P. M., nor cry his or her wares before 8 o’clock in the morning of any day except Saturdays, when they will be allowed to cry or sell their wares or merchandise until 11:30 o’clock P.M.

Xmas Peddler

Xmas Peddler, New York City, ca. 1908-1917. Bain News Service, Library of Congress Collection

7. No peddler shall be allowed to cry his or her wares within a distance of 250 feet of any school, court house, church or building in which religious services are held, during hours they may be in session: nor at any time within a like distance of any hospital, asylum or other like institution; nor within a distance of 250 feet of any dwelling house or other building, when directed by an occupant thereof not to do so.

Street Peddlers

Christmas Street Peddlers. Bain News Service, Library of Congress Collection

“Our economy is changing and work is changing,” writes Braeden Lentz, a staffer at the Street Vendor Project. “Yet street vendors have been creating their own economy, one that is not subject to the whims of corporations, for two centuries.” With more than 1,500 active vendor members, SVP offers programs such as The Pushcart Fund’s small business loans, legal and technical assistance, classes for people thinking of becoming food vendors and the Vendy Awards for the best in the business.

Xmas Postcards

Xmas Postcards, New York City, ca. 1908-1917. Bain News Service, Library of Congress Collection


Related posts on ATZ…

December 13, 2013: Photo Album: Gingerbread Coney Island in City Harvest Extravaganza

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

December 24, 2011: Video of the Day: Winter Wonderland for Christmas Eve

December 18, 2011: Playing Santa at the Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge

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Coney Island Fireworks

Alliance for Coney Island’s Poster for the 2013 Friday Night Fireworks. Photo via Facebook.com/coneyislandfun

Coney Island tourism was one of the winners in the third year of Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils competition. An award of $225,000 to the Alliance for Coney Island for improvements to the tourism initiative “The One and Only Coney” was among 824 statewide projects receiving a share of $715.9 million in New York State economic development funding.

“The campaign aims to draw tourists by marketing and expanding seasonal events and programs that will reintroduce Coney Island as America’s Playground, furthering the appeal of Coney Island as a tourism destination,” according to a release from the Governor’s Press Office. New York City received $57.4 million, including funding for a tech incubator in Queens and program expansion and improved accessibility at New York Botanical Gardens.

Alliance for Coney Island

Johanna Zaki, Alliance for Coney Island’s Director of Operations at a presentation on the 2013 season at Tom’s Coney Island. November 15, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

Founded in 2012, the Alliance for Coney Island is a successor to the Coney Island Development Corporation. The non-profit’s mission is “continuing the transformation of Coney Island into a year-round, world-class recreational oceanfront destination while improving the quality of life of the entire Coney Island community.”

Current opportunities on the organization’s website include RFPs for a creative agency/graphic designer firm as well as for fireworks shows and outdoor movie screening vendor services for the annual Flicks on the Beach program for 2014. The Alliance is also seeking sponsors for programming.

Free events such as Coney Island’s Friday night fireworks are currently supported by funding from the Alliance’s founding members. In the past, Schaefer Beer sponsored free Tuesday night fireworks from 1949 till they pulled out in 1968, writes Charles Denson in Coney Island: Lost and Found. The Village Voice sponsored the much-missed Siren Music Festival, a free indie rock concert from 2001-2010.

This promotional short “Coney Is…” showcases the Parachute Jump’s new lights, restored B&B Carousell and future improvements at the New York Aquarium. “The One and Only Coney” is Back, it says.


Related posts on ATZ…

December 2, 2013: New Construction: Coney Island Area’s 1st Hotel in Decades

November 8, 2013: Photo Album: Early November in Coney Island

October 30, 2013: Photo Album: Four Transformations, One Year After Sandy

June 4, 2013: Coney Island Fireworks 2013: Fridays, 6 Saturdays and July 4th

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Today's Banksy is in Coney Island. October 28, 2013. Photos via banksyny.com

Banksy in Coney Island. October 28, 2013. Photos via banksyny.com

WOW! Ask and you shall receive. On Friday, ATZ posted “Banksy Does Bumper Car, Has Yet to Do Coney Island” entreating the famed artist to visit Coney during his month-long “Better Out Than In” tour of New York City streets. Today he made it and our wish came true! Thank you so much, #banksyny. Banksy left this endearing robot spray-painting a barcode on a wall at Stillwell and Neptune. If you’re wondering about the significance of the number, it’s a nucleotide sequence for homo sapiens, according to Street Art News.

Banksy Coney Island

New Banksy on Neptune Avenue in Coney Island. October 28, 2013. Photo © Edward Muniz

The artwork is located at 1402 Neptune Avenue on the Stillwell side of a building that once housed a sign shop called Sign-O-Rama–how appropriate! Since Sandy devastated the neighborhood a year ago, it’s a former convenience store. This morning, ATZ messaged building owner Anthony Ruocco, a cousin to the Russo brothers of Gargiulo’s Restaurant, to give him a heads up about his good fortune and ask him to protect it. Since one of Banksy’s murals has sold for over $1 million, New York building owners who become the “accidental owner of a Banksy” have been hiring security guards and installing rolldown gates.

Banksy in Coney Island

Photographing the photographers taking photos of Banksy in Coney Island. October 28, 2013. Photo © Edward Muniz

Ruocco had been asked by the NYPD if he wanted to file a complaint against Banksy. Photographer Edward Muniz interviewed the building’s co-owner who said “I’m happy he chose us” and ordered a rolldown gate after his brother almost painted over the mural by mistake. Muniz had bicycled over to Neptune Avenue to take photos of people who had gathered to admire the Banksy. He noted that no one had tagged or defaced the artwork. “I’m so proud of Coney Island today! Everyone is respecting the piece and each other, everyone is getting their shots and having a good time,” he said in a post on a Facebook group. “I talked to people from all five boros, New Jersey, France and London! And after they got their shots they all walked down to the Boardwalk and Nathan’s to enjoy the sun.”

Banksy Coney Island

Rolldown Gate Installed to Protect Banksy in Coney Island. October 28, 2013. Photo © Bruce Handy

By 5PM, when photographer Bruce Handy arrived, the gate had been installed and the Banksy show was about to close for the day. A pregnant woman persuaded a worker to open the gate so she could pose for picture. Who knows, maybe she’ll name her baby Banksy? Jay Dow of WPIX also showed up, so you can see Coney Island’s Banksy on the 10 o’clock news.

We’ll update this post on Tuesday with info about viewing hours. The work, which is two blocks north of Surf Avenue, has the potential to draw tourists north of Stillwell Terminal.

Banksy Coney Island

Selfie with Banksy in Coney Island. October 28, 2013. Photo © Bruce Handy

As noted in our previous post, Coney Island has a rich tradition of street art. Os Gemeos, the Brazilian twins whom Banksy collaborated with on 24th Street in Chelsea have a 130-foot mural on Coney’s Stillwell Avenue across from the terminal that dates back to 2005. Work by Steve Powers, whose Dreamland Artists Club in collaboration with Creative Time brought new signage to Coney Island, can be seen on the staircase at Coney Island USA, the facade of West 12th Street’s Miss Coney Island and Skin the Wire, and the Eldorado Bumper Cars on Surf Ave. Sideshow banners by Marie Roberts have emblazoned the facade of Coney Island USA’s headquarters since 1997.

Banksy Coney Island

The Banksy artwork in Coney Island is two blocks north of Stillwell Terminal. October 28, 2013. Photo © Edward Muniz

UPDATE October 30, 2013:

The rolldown gate has been closed since it was installed on Monday evening. Pix of the gate and graffiti added to the wall are being posted on social media by people who came out to Coney to see the Banksy and were disappointed. The building owner needs to have a viewing schedule like the one in Williamsburg!


Related posts on ATZ…

October 26, 2013: Banksy Does Bumper Car, Has Yet to Do Coney Island

February 16, 2013: Photo Album: Post-Sandy MERCY Graffiti in Coney Island

October 10, 2011: Photo of the Day: Coney Island’s Famed “Hey Joey!” Doomed

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

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Space Shuttle over Coney Island

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

Two icons of American air and space history meet in Eric Kowalsky’s awesome photo of the Space Shuttle Enterprise flying over the Parachute Jump. On Friday, the Coney Island photographer captured the moment when the Space Shuttle flew over Brooklyn’s landmark tower.

Originally designed by retired Naval commander James Hale Strong to train military paratroopers in the 1930s, parachute towers were modified into amusement attractions when civilians clamored to ride. Strong’s Parachute Jump became a popular attraction at Coney Island’s Steeplechase Park after moving here from the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair. Though the ride hasn’t been in operation since the park closed in 1964, “Brooklyn’s Eiffel Tower” is an official New York City landmark.

The Space Shuttle Enterprise was the first Space Shuttle Orbiter. Named after the fictional Enterprise in “Star Trek,” it was designed to take off like a rocket and land like a plane. The Space Shuttle flew on its own for the first time in 1977 and was retired to the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum in 1985. Ferried by a jet, the Space Shuttle made a final, 45-minute flight over the Hudson and several New York City landmarks before landing at JFK. Its new home will be the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on Manhattan’s West side.


Related posts on ATZ…

April 20, 2012: Photo of the Day: Eldorado Auto Skooter Marquee

March 23, 2012: Up for Auction: Coney Island Parachutist Shooting Gallery Target

January 18, 2012: Video of the Day: Climbing Coney Island’s Parachute Jump

December 15, 2011: Photo of the Day: Friday Night Fireworks from the Pier

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Thunderbolt Roller Coaster from Photographs of New York by Reginald Marsh. ca. 1938-1945, printed 1976. Reginald Marsh. Courtesy AntiquePhotographics.com

Best known for his drawings and paintings of crowds at Coney Island’s beach, artist Reginald Marsh also took photos with a 35mm Leica beginning in 1938. These images from the 1930’s and ’40s by Marsh are from a portfolio of 50 photographs of New York City published in 1977, which is currently offered for sale. The limited edition of 25, plus four artist proof sets, were printed from the original negatives with the provision that the negatives could not be used for any further publication. “The sets are very rare,” photography dealer Jeffrey Kraus of Antique Photographics, told ATZ. “I sold one a number of years ago and this is the second set I am offering.” The portfolio is available for $6500.

Reginald Marsh

Beach Gymnasts from Photographs of New York by Reginald Marsh. ca. 1938-1945, printed 1976. Reginald Marsh. Courtesy AntiquePhotographics.com

Coney Island was one of Reginald Marsh’s favorite places to sketch and photograph. On a hot summer’s day he’d take the subway from his studio high above Manhattan’s Union Square. “I like to go to Coney Island,” said Marsh, “because of the sea, the open air, and the crowds—crowds of people in all directions, in all positions, without clothing, moving—like the great compositions of Michelangelo and Rubens.”

Beauty Contest from Photographs of New York by Reginald Marsh. ca. 1938-1945, printed 1976. Reginald Marsh. Courtesy AntiquePhotographics.com

Marsh was also drawn to the front of the shows, where people stood entranced by the talkers, and the whirl of rides like the carousel and the Virginia Reel, which also attracted onlookers. The Virginia Reel was invented by Henry Elmer Riehl, who named the ride after his daughter, Luna Virginia Riehl. Originally in Luna Park, it later operated at Bowery and West 12th Street as part of Kyrimes Park, where it shared a lot with such now vanished rides as the Gyro Globe, the Looper and the Whip.

Back in the day, there were more independently owned rides and attractions and all had their own distinctively-lettered, open-air ticket booths. The only ride in Coney Island that exists today with its original ticket booth is the Wonder Wheel. Like the Wheel, the ticket booth was built in 1920.

Virginia Reel from Photographs of New York by Reginald Marsh. ca. 1938-1945, printed 1976. Reginald Marsh. Courtesy AntiquePhotographics.com

In an essay published with the portfolio, Norman Sasowsky, who worked as a curator/cataloguer for the Marsh estate, notes that the artist had a pass to Steeplechase Park given to him by park founder and operator George C Tilyou. Steeplechase’s carousel was a favorite subject. “Even though Marsh did not think of himself as a photographer–trying to make a photograph as an end in itself–he produced an exceptional array of photographic images. He selected unerringly the frame for the bit of reality he was about to record,” writes Sasowsky. “Marsh used his camera to photograph other events, such as family gatherings or friends, but his photographs of the places and people he used as themes for his paintings and prints are of special interest because of their intrinsic value and their relationship to his work.”


Carousel with Attendant from Photographs of New York by Reginald Marsh. ca. 1938-1945, printed 1976. Reginald Marsh. Courtesy AntiquePhotographics.com


Related posts on ATZ…

October 2, 2011: Lucille Fornasieri Gold’s Coney Island Photos from the 1970s

July 13, 2011: Circus Portraits: Photography by Kevin C Downs

March 22, 2011: Rare & Vintage: Souvenir of Frank Bostock’s Coney Island

December 19, 2010: Rare & Vintage: Original Coney Island Motordrome Bike

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Coney Island Lifeguard

Coney Island Lifeguard. Photo © Joe Fishman. All Rights Reserved

Wanna spend your summer getting paid to get a great tan and sand between your toes on Coney Island’s Beach? If you’re a strong swimmer, the time to apply to be a New York City Parks lifeguard is now. The qualifying test for the 2012 summer season is being held through January 13 at Chelsea Recreation Center in Manhattan on weekdays at 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm. Additional sites and dates are listed on the “Become a Lifeguard” page of the New York City Parks Department’s website.

Swimmers who pass the test will be enrolled in the 40-hour Municipal Lifeguard Training Program and upon completion may be offered one of 1,200 jobs watching over New York City’s 20 million swimmers. First-year lifeguards earn a minimum of $13.57 per hour for a weekly salary of over $650.

Can you request Coney Island duty? A Parks spokesman tells ATZ that assignments are by seniority, but lifeguards may request a preferred or convenient location. Beach lifeguards must be able to swim 440 yards in 6 minutes and 40 seconds and must also complete a 300-yard ocean swim prior to receiving their assignment.

To qualify, you must:

— Be able to swim 50 yards in 35 seconds with proper form.
— Have a minimum of 20/30 vision in one eye and 20/40 in the other, without corrective lenses. Glasses and contact lenses
may not be worn during the eye exam.
— Be at least 16 years old when the position begins.

Oh, and it can’t hurt to memorize the lyrics to Blotto’s ’80s hit “I, I, I Wanna Be a Lifeguard…” According to the band’s official history, in 1980, “Blotto even had something most other bands didn’t at the time – a music video, thanks to the efforts of two SUNY students who filmed the band for a senior project. ‘I Wanna Be A Lifeguard’ was among the videos aired on MTV’s first broadcast day, and remained in heavy rotation for months.”


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Day to Night

Coney Island Boardwalk, Day to Night. Photo © Stephen Wilkes. Click on image for larger view

On a sunny Saturday in July, we noticed a photographer with a large format camera perched in a cherry picker above the Boardwalk at West 12th Street. The Coney Island Rumor Mill had no idea what the photo shoot was for, but it was an unusual sight and we snapped a few photos. Our first guess was that Google had sent someone to do panoramic photos of Coney Island, but as the hours went by it became clear he was shooting from a fixed perspective all day and into the night.

Yesterday we realized the mystery photographer was Stephen Wilkes after coming across his stunning “Day to Night” photo of Coney Island’s beach, boardwalk and amusement rides. “That was indeed me in the cherry picker on July 16th,” wrote Wilkes in an email. “A perfect Saturday on Coney Island.”

Coney Island

Stephen Wilkes Photographing Coney Island. July 16, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita

Wilkes says that he photographs a scene continuously for up to 15 hours. “A select group of images are then digitally blended into one photograph, capturing the changing of time in a single frame.” In regard to the Coney Island photo, Wilkes told ATZ: “We will be launching a really cool time lapse video from that particular shoot, which will also be in the gallery exhibition.” The “Day to Night” series includes images of Times Square, the High Line and Central Park, among others, and will be on view at ClampArt Gallery in Chelsea from September 8 through October 29.

In an interview with Jen Doll in the Village Voice, Wilkes said his favorite photo of the series is the one of Coney Island:

The perspective is from floating above the boardwalk. The amusement park is night, the beach is day, and it’s full of activity. The level of detail — I’m working with a large-format camera, and it’s exciting that people can see the detail online, but in person, you can see it 60 inches big, and the photos look like windows, and you can actually see into people’s windows…

Coney Island

Stephen Wilkes Photographing Coney Island. July 16, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita

“Stephen Wilkes: Day to Night,” September 8-October 29, 2011. ClampArt, 521-531 West 25th Street, Ground Floor, New York, NY 10001, 646-230-0020. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11-6. Opening reception: Thursday, September 8, 6-8pm


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