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 this coming Friday, September 2nd 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 available at the original location on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues. The food is exactly the same at either location.
Don’t forget to stop by the Coney Art Walls, which will be up until October!
While you stroll along the Boardwalk, stop by this Snow Cone Stand and treat yourself to an additional refreshment!
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!
The Parachute Jump is a defunct amusement ride in Coney Island, whose iconic open-frame steel structure remains a Brooklyn landmark. Standing 250 feet tall and weighing 170 tons, it has been called the Eiffel Tower of Brooklyn. Well, I’ve never called it that, but apparently some people have.
If you Google “Photos of Coney Island” you will see that it is arguably the single most photographed landmark near the Boardwalk. Originally built for the 1939 New York World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, Queens, the tower was moved to its current site, then part of the Steeplechase Park amusement park, in 1941.
It is the only portion of Steeplechase Park still standing today. The ride ceased operations in 1964, when that park shut down for good. How old were you in 1964? I was 3.
The ride was based on functional parachutes which were held open by metal rings throughout the ascent and descent. Twelve cantilevered steel arms sprout from the top of the tower, each of which supported a parachute attached to a lift rope and a set of surrounding guide cables.
Riders were belted into a two-person canvas seat hanging below the closed chute, then hoisted to the top, where a release mechanism would drop them, the descent slowed only by the parachute. Shock absorbers at the bottom, consisting of pole-mounted springs, cushioned the landing. Each parachute required three cable operators, keeping labor expenses high.
The tower lights up at night, and colorful the patterns change constantly. It is quite mesmerizing to view.
We had fun. We always do.
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!
We made the trek to Coney Island last Friday evening to take in the penultimate Fireworks show from right on the beach — an appropriate way to celebrate the end of what has been a fantastic Summer! We had time to kill before the show started though, so we had fun eating at Nathan’s and cruising the shops, including the Lola Star Gift Shop, which is located on the Boardwalk just east of Coney Island Pier. Hanging up high on the wall, right behind the cash register, we could not miss this large Lite Brite recreation of Luna Park.”Is that a Lite Brite?” I screamed excitedly at the sales lady. “Yes!” she screamed back. “It’s the biggest in the world!”
And so I had to take a picture, or two.
“No photos allowed anywhere in the store!” another sales lady shouted at me. But it was too late: I had taken the photos, and many others actually also.
While we do not believe that the Lola Star Luna Park Lite Brite is in fact the World’s Biggest Lite Brite, we did hear somewhere that this piece was originally designed for and displayed by Hugo Boss, but we have no proof that that is so.
“High Water” by Boardwalk (the duo Mike Edge and Amber Quintero) is this week’s featured Video Clip because I can’t resist any song mixed with this much reverb. Boardwalk’s self-titled album was just released by the legendary independent music label Stones Throw Records. You know where to go to get it. Enjoy!