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Coney Island Baby September 2, 2007

Posted by judylobo in Photography, Politics.
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coney.jpgThe future of the Coney Island we all know and love is in the hands of the Real Estate gods and the City powers that be. It looks like Astroland will close this coming September 9th and it’s future is uncertain. The Cyclone, Wonder Wheel and Parachute are all landmarks so they will remain in place. What will surround these icons remains a mystery. I grew up in Brooklyn and was a frequent visitor to Coney Island as a kid. I still go there about once a month to this day. There is something about the place that just feels good. It has memories, smells and sights that can be found nowhere else. When we were kids, our mother would make sure my sister and I put 15 cents in our shoe to insure we had enough change to get back home on the subway after we spent all of our money on the rides, freak shows, hot dogs and other junk that we brought home. For those that don’t live in New York, the subway now costs $2 per ride and they do not take change or tokens these days.

– Check out some photos I took last week at Coney Island here:

– Here’s a short video from the same day.

– The Coney Island History Project, founded in 2004, is a not-for-profit organization that aims to increase awareness of Coney Island’s legendary and colorful past and to encourage appreciation of the Coney Island neighborhood of today. The public programs began in 2005 with the opening of the Coney Island Hall of Fame, an exhibit that honors influential figures in history, and Coney Island Voices, an oral history archive that preserves the stories and memories of people who visited or lived and worked in Brooklyn’s famous playground

– The Coney Island Film Festival is from September 28 to 30th, 2007. Check out the schedule here.

– A site devoted to the Wonder Wheel and more.

– A visit to Coney Island would not be complete without stopping at Nathan’s for the world’s best hot dogs and french fries.

The hot dog was invented by Charles Feltman in 1874. Although his fabulous restaurant (where Astroland Park currently sits) is gone the hot dog lives on at Nathan’s on the corner of Stillwell and Surf Avenues. It is here that a resourceful immigrant bested Feltman’s (the island’s most successful restaurant). Between the first and second decades of the Twentieth Century Feltman’s grew from serving 900,000 to 2,000,000 customers. One famous postcard depicted a clam, lobster, fish, an ear of corn, a hot dog, a crab and a mug of beer all walking to “Feltman’s famous restaurant.” One additional person who walked in was Nathan Handwerker (German for hand worker, or “day laborer”), a Manhattan restaurant manager. He responded to the HELP WANTED ad in the window and within a year (thanks in part to his ability to eat hot dogs for free while on the job) Handwerker had saved over $300 that he invested into the rental of a building at the corners of Stillwell and Surf Avenue.

– Of course there is something on Wikipedia about our beloved Coney Island. The influence of Coney Island on creative people cannot be overstated. The place has been featured in film, TV, song, slang, literature, stage and video games. Check the list here.

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