Jamie and I were out at Coney Island to see the Fireworks on the Friday before the Friday before the Labor Day Weekend. As we sat eating hot dogs and fries at the boardwalk-adjacent tables by the Nathan’s that faces the beach, I noticed a Pink Panther earning some cash by posing for photos with tourists. Because a panther’s gotta make a living.
If you haven’t been out to Coney Island yet to see the Summer Fireworks, then don’t forget that the Friday of Labor Day Weekend is your last chance to experience the magic until they start again next June! So, you must plan your trip right now. Let’s go!
First of all, you should plan to arrive on the scene early enough so that you can get a Hot Dog and some Fries (or whatever else you like to eat) at Nathan’s. There is also a Nathan’s right on the Boardwalk, if you prefer a bumped up level of quality freak watching to that which is available at the original location on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues. The food is equally delicious at either location.
Don’t forget to stop by the Coney Art Walls, which will be up until October!
As you stroll along the Boardwalk, stop by this Snow Cone Stand and treat yourself to an additional refreshment!
At the north end of the Boardwalk you’ll find an old fashioned Carousel, for kids of all ages!
And don’t forget to check out the games and other fun attractions!
Even if you are going to pass on checking out any of the Luna Park rides, because you have just eaten at Nathan’s and do not want to barf, it is wonderful just to look at everything when it is all lit up against the night sky. Head out to the sand early and watch all of the action from the beach, while you listen to the delighted screams and shrieks from people on the rides! Wee!
Oh, the beautifulness.
Now it is 9:30 PM, and time for the Fireworks to begin! Lets go to the video!
The full show lasts much longer than 2 minutes, but you get the idea.
And then stop by Williams Candy Shop on the way to the train to pick up a sweet treat to take home! What a fun adventure!
Find out more about the Coney Island Fireworks, as well as other fun stuff to do on your visit, at This Link
Two of my most-memorable adventures of the summer of 2015 were a Saturday afternoon, and a Friday evening, that I spent having various types of crazy fun at Coney Island, Brooklyn — which is truly a magical place where there are endless wonders just waiting to be discovered. I just love it there. If you are also fan of Coney Island, then I hope you had the chance to see Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861 – 2008, which, sadly, just closed at the Brooklyn Museum this past weekend. Geoffrey made it out there just in time!
This exhibit was an unexpected delight; overflowing with vintage carnival ride and game props, photography spanning over 100 years, and artworks of every kind that were inspired by the vibe of Coney Island. Please enjoy a selection of my photos!
Carousels were being carved in England and Germany before they became popular in America. In 1907, the inventor William F. Mangels, who immigrated to New York from Germany, patented the overhead gears that controlled the galloping motion of the carousel horse. His design became standard in the field. Mangels collaborated with Coney Island’s best wood carvers, many of whom were also immigrants. Between 1880 and 1920, Coney Island produced a distinctive style of carved carousel animals characterized by flamboyant decorations and expressive faces. They were the product of Danish-born Charles I.D. Looff and the wood carvers he inspired, including Solomon Stein, Harry Goldstein, and Charles Carmel, whose horses are show in the photo above. Stein, Goldstein and Carmel were Eastern European Jewish wood-carvers who had fled anti-Semitism. They brought to America a tradition of carving symbolic animal imagery for synagogues, and found an outlet for their talent in the American carousel industry.
The bald eagle on this ride’s saddle (see detail, below) trumpets Coney Island as a symbol of American patriotism, while the Camel’s Arabian origin and tasseled breastplate evoke the Middle East, in keeping with the various parks’ exotic architecture. Charles I.D. Looff built the first hand-carved carousel at Coney Island in 1876, just six years after he emigrated from Denmark.
Six silver dragons form the spokes of this electrified gambling wheel. Their snakelike forms resemble Chinese dragons, legendary creatures that are historically associated with the emperor’s imperial power. As symbols of prosperity and good luck, dragons appealed to the diverse visitors who came to Coney Island.
In this painting, the distorting mirrors that clad the barker’s booth turn normal spectators into freaks, commenting on notions of perception and difference.
Coney Island, 1948 By George Tooker
Even if you did not get the chance to see this exhibit for yourself, I hope that all of my photos will be getting you inspired and exited to head out to Coney Island for your own adventures once the summer kicks off in just a few months!
Art Decade adopted its name from a Brian Eno-produced David Bowie instrumental track, which gives the band a sort of built-in, arsty fartsy clout right off the gate. Their new video for the song “Breeze” — soothing, Sunday morning orchestrated pop taken from the band’s 2012 album Western Sunrise — was filmed on a beach with bunch of 3-D geometric effects tossed in during post production. The visual result is like Pink FLoyd’s Dark Side of the Moon…on the Beach.
Here’s what Ben Talmi, Art Decade’s vocalist/guitarist/arranger has to say about this clip: “With the animation skills of Whitney Alexander and Kipp Jarden, I saw the opportunity to combined the Impressionistic styles of painters like Degas, Renoir and Turner with the world of surrealists like Dali and Ernst in a setting of the beach, which was influenced by Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal and Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2. The animated subconscious dreamscapes Whit and Kipp created in the video are just like what I see when I close my eyes.”
Art Decade is putting the finishing touches on 11 songs that will make up their new self-titled album due in September of 2013. Enjoy!
A couple of weeks back, a FaceBook friend posted the innocent-but-completely-clueless observation, “What happened to summer?” into her newsfeed. And I was like, “(Friend’s Name) summer has been over for awhile now.” Because, fall. Fall! It’s not hot out anymore, but it’s also not really cold yet: it’s just time to unpack all the comfy sweaters and light outerwear from wherever you store it (me = the closet). Wearing shorts and flip flops is heretofore declared inappropriate!
If you are one of those folks who must be dragged kicking and screaming into the seasonal weather transitions, you can try keeping summer alive for a bit longer by visiting a fun and rather “hidden away” venue that I experienced for the first time just last night, called The Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club. Located on the north side of the Pier 17 mall, this unique outdoor establishment, which opened in June 2011, has maintained the “sandy beach” motif of its predecessor (the confusingly named Water Taxi Beach), and it also features a covered area where you’ll find long communal tables for dining and drinking, Pool and other and games. But let’s get real: the beach is where it’s at.
Photo By Anne Raso
Grab a beer, cocktail or glass of wine from the recycled driftwood bar (they also have a delicious hot apple cider with rum that I will recommend), find a place to sit, and just relax from your long day. Views of the Brooklyn Bridge are spectacular and you can even keep track of how long you’ve been drinking courtesy of the digital clock attached to the glowing red Watchtower sign just across the river. Convenient! Now that a wee chill is in the air, clusters of illuminated, white plastic love seats (quite sturdy, and not entirely dissimilar to this thing here) have been strategically arranged around crackling fire pits to keep you warm and smelling like a campfire once you head home. We enjoyed a variety of passed party snacks courtesy of our host that included burger sliders, gooey cheese puffs, mini bratwursts, tiny crab cakes with mango salsa and something involving puff pastry, warm brie, toasted almonds and apricot jam that was just out of control. You can view the full menu of Beekman’s traditional beer garden favorites at This Link.
Close Up of Those Illuminated Love Seats
While I am not much for hanging out in the bright sun, the beach at night is magical. And the beach at night in NYC on the edge of the river is like another world. I mean, how cool will you sound when you tell your friends that in the middle of October you went to an outdoor bar/restaurant with a little beach where you sat around a campfire on chairs that lit up like lamps while drinking hot spiked cider, eating delicious snacks and looking at all the pretty lights reflecting on the water. You will sound so cool! As an aside, I also really enjoyed the Classic Rock Radio soundtrack which took me way back to the good times with gems like “Baby Don’t Do It” (!!!) by The Band and the Rolling Stones’ “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” – a song with an insane saxophone solo that just takes off on its own little journey. Holy cow, I love this place. Treat me right, and I’ll bring you along next time. Because there will be a next time.
Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club is located at 89 South Street (South Street Seaport at Beekman Street) on the North Side of Pier 17. Be advised that you will actually be walking through a back alley and an employee parking lot before you arrive at your destination, so don’t freak out. Beach Club Hours are 11:30 AM to 3:00 AM Daily. Phone (212) 896-4600 for any further information.
One week ago today I was on holiday in Tulum, Mexico, on the Yucatan Peninsula, enjoying the most delicious fish tacos I have yet eaten. The vast Mayan Ruins which we explored were ancient and awe-inspiring, while the beach below us was a stunning white sand with crystal blue waves, but it is the fish tacos, my friends, that I will be talking about for the rest of my life. Fish Tacos!
This is where I am right now!
A Pink Surfboard signals a rescue point on an empty beach, with a car in the background. I love this picture.
Herb Alpert, co-founder of A&M Records and trumpet player extraordinaire, was born on this day, March 31st in 1935. Let us celebrate Herb’s Birthday by enjoying this 1966 video of Herb and the Tijuana Brass performing “A Taste Of Honey” on the beach! It starts rocking at the 19 second point, so hang in there. Happy Birthday, Herb!