Showing posts with label Coney Island. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Coney Island. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Zooming in on the iconic work of East Village-based photographer Roberta Bayley

East Village-based photographer Roberta Bayley is the guest tomorrow night (March 17!) for the Coney Island Museum's Ask The Experts on Zoom series.

The evening includes a screening of the 33-minute documentary "Roberta Bayley: She Just Takes Pictures," which highlights her iconic punk-era photography from 1975 to 1986 (like the shot of Debbie Harry above!) ... and a Q&A session with Bayley and Beth Lasch, the film's director. 

Tickets are $5 and support the Museum and its arts programming. The session starts at 7 p.m. Find viewing details here

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Q-and-A with Amy Nicholson, director of 'Zipper: Coney Island's Last Wild Ride'

"Zipper: Coney Island's Last Wild Ride" examines the greed and politics that have helped gut the neighborhood. The film centers on Eddie Miranda, the Zipper's operator who, despite turning profits, was forced to shut down after 38 years of operation.

Director Amy Nicholson's film also includes an interview with developer Joe Sitt, whose rezoned-to-death vision is turning the neighborhood "into a chain store wasteland," as the Observer put it.

"Zipper" has been on the film festival circuit, and now receives a week-long theatrical release starting Friday at the IFC Center on Sixth Avenue. While the documentary focuses on Coney Island, Nicholson explores issues that are being experienced in other NYC neighborhoods.

Here, she answers a few questions about the film and the ongoing march of luxurification throughout the city.

When we last talked, you had a slot at the First Time Fest 2013 in the East Village. How does it feel to get a theatrical release now at IFC?

I feel so lucky and I keep thinking someone is going to call and take it all away. It’s kind of unreal. I couldn’t be more excited.

[Via the "Zipper" Facebook page]

What do you think makes a place like Coney Island so special?

There’s something magical about carnival atmosphere. It’s pure fun. All the lights and noises and people screaming and everything moving and the smells from the food ... Then you combine all that with a beach and you add in all those sounds and smells and it’s just heaven.

But what makes Coney Island so special is that it has a very rich history of being a place where people can come and blow off steam, let it all hang out. You can scream, dance, eat a hot dog, eat some candy, wear whatever you want, act freaky, look at something freaky, be amazed, be scared — it’s all there. And all are welcome.

Does Coney Island still feel special to you? Or is it starting to become Anywhere On a Beach USA?

Something big is missing now and I really think it left along with some of the people who were displaced with the rezoning. Coney Island’s history isn’t just baked into the place, it is baked into the people who are down there. They grew up there and they could tell you stories that a kid in corporate khakis and a polo shirt can’t.

I also think it has lost some of its aesthetic value. So much of the great hand painted signage was literally just thrown out. Why did Paul’s Daughter on the boardwalk have to be “cleaned up?” That was one of the most photographed buildings in the world! And then there’s the new carousel building, which is trying way to hard to be fun with those big kooky letters. I don’t know — it all just seems off.

You were at the last day of Big Nick's on July 28. What closures around the city have been particularly painful for you to see?

Colony Records, Joe’s Dairy, The Rawhide, Max Fish... In my neighborhood [Greenwich Village] in the past three years alone we’ve lost Joe Jr’s, The Food Emporium, Groom-o-rama Pet Shop, Jefferson Market, which, as we speak, is being transformed into the Rudin Sales Office for Greenwich Lane – the ultra-luxury condo, maisonette and townhouse development going up on the former St. Vincent’s Hospital site. They’re advertising the “discretion” their new residents will enjoy, whatever that means.

These closings are all so painful. And in their places we see an explosion of banks, frozen yogurt chains, cellphone stores – all the businesses that can afford the astronomical rents.

Do you see any end to the chaining of NYC?

Not yet. My husband and I talk about this all the time. It will only end when those businesses have no customers and the landlords realize that they can no longer charge those rents that moms and pops can’t touch. We’re talking about a very long process to try and undo what has been done.

Nearly six years went into making "Zipper." Do you have another documentary subject in the works?

Not yet. But I have a few ideas. First I am going to sleep and save some money.

Zipper Trailer

Find more about the movie here. Find IFC showtimes here.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Rainy day distractions: Here is the 2013 Mermaid Parade Poster

Via the Coney Island Mermaid Parade Facebook page this afternoon:

Hot off the presses, the stunning 2013 Mermaid Parade Poster by Frank Kozik!

To register, find more info, etc., go here.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Tomorrow is Opening Day at Coney Island, where Zoltar is only $1

Coney Island has its grand opening tomorrow... the Cyclone, Luna Park and Deno's Wonder Wheel Park are all set to reopen ... this after millions of dollars in Hurricane Sandy-related repair work and upgrades.

Our friends at Amusing the Zillion have been carefully documenting the opening-day developments. Find more details on rides and restaurants here ...

Per ATZ:

The amount of activity far exceeds anything we’ve seen in past years because of the extra added work of recovering and rebuilding from Superstorm Sandy. Even though Palm Sunday, Coney’s traditional opening day, is early this year, the great majority of the rides, games and eateries are ready to open.

Sandy KO'd Deno's Wonder Wheel Park's Zoltar. But! There is a new one...

And, as ATZ reminds us, the Coney Island Zoltar is only $1, as opposed to the $2 Zoltar outside Gem Spa.

Speaking of Zoltar... here's a shot of our own Zoltar this morning ... flashing some jewelry and his carefully placed flute, as always...

[Thanks to Amusing the Zillion for permission to repost the photos]

Sunday, March 10, 2013

At the Coney Island USA Spring Gala 2013

Coney Island USA held its annual Spring Gala last night at Webster Hall. The Gala's theme: The Burlesque Manifesto, which honored the role Coney Island USA played in beginning the neo-burlesque movement.

EVG contributor Stacie Joy was there and shared a few photos (maybe a little NSFW)...

Find out more about Coney Island USA here. See Stacie's photos from the 2012 Gala here.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

How you can help Coney Island without leaving the East Village

[Photo of Joe Franklin and Dick Zigun from the Coney Island USA Spring Gala 2012 by Stacie Joy]

On Saturday night, Coney Island USA takes over Webster Hall for the organization's annual Spring Gala ... which is the premiere fundraising event for Coney Island USA. Per the press materials, the 2013 Spring Gala is The Burlesque Manifesto and will honor the role Coney Island USA played in beginning the neo-burlesque movement. (Find more details about the Gala here.)

EVG contributor Stacie Joy spoke with Coney Island USA spokesperson Tim Pendrell about this year's event.

How has Coney Island USA (CIUSA) been affected by hurricane Sandy?

We had about 6 feet of water in our landmarked building and nearly half-a-million dollars in damage. The Sideshows by the Seashore Theater, Gift Shop, Freak Bar and Denny's Ice Cream were heavily damaged. Denny's was lost for good. Also, a large number of our staff live and work in the neighborhood.

Do you think CIUSA will be ready to open this spring?

We will definitely be open in the Spring. We've begun reconstruction and are on schedule to be open as long as donations from our supporters keep coming in.

How can people help out?

People can help out by going to our website and either making a donation or buying something from our Amazon Wish List. The most fun way to help out is by going to our Gala. We are also on occasion looking for volunteers, but we are at the point in reconstruction that we mostly need skilled labor.

What is the Burlesque Manifesto?

The Burlesque Manifesto is a theatrical production over 30 years in the making. It will only be a brief part of our Gala, but it will tell the true story of Coney Island USA's role in creating the neo-burlesque movement.

In 1982, our founder Dick Zigun published a call for a new burlesque movement with a raised consciousness. Gala goers will see him paste up an Art-Page titled "The Last Strip-Joint In New York (& Why There Should Always Be One)" and lead Funny Tribeca Feminists on a Times Square Sex Tour.

They will also see him mix it up with Morton Minsky... This performance stars the greatest sideshow and burlesque performers this city has ever seen and will be directed by David Kaplan, artistic director of the Tennessee Williams Provincetown Festival. One of the things that are really interesting is that this is a big part of the beginning of Coney Island USA and our work preserving Coney Island's past through performing arts and our museum programming.

Previously on EV Grieve:
At the Coney Island USA Spring Gala 2012 (Slightly NSFW)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A chance to catch 'Zipper: Coney Island's Last Wild Ride' tomorrow in the East Village

On the EVG Facebook page yesterday, I posted the link to NY1's piece on the new-look Coney Island coming this summer.

Per the article:

Grimaldi's Pizza expanded to Coney Island last year and soon it will have company on Surf Avenue. A Johnny Rockets and an Applebees are opening right next door.

"You'll have both coming on Surf Avenue and so you'll have a little bit of cool restaurant row over there," developer and CEO of Thor Equities Joe Sitt said.

Because nothing screams "cool" faster than a new Applebees!

Which brings me to the timely documentary "Zipper: Coney Island's Last Wild Ride," which examines the greed and politics that have helped gut the neighborhood. The film centers on Eddie Miranda, the Zipper's operator who, despite turning profits, was forced to shut down after 38 years of operation.

Director Amy Nicholson's film also includes an interview with developer Joe Sitt, whose rezoned-to-death vision is turning the neighborhood "into a chain store wasteland," as the Observer put it.

Per Indiewood: "Nicholson paints an intriguing portrait of one of New York City’s last cultural enclaves on the cusp of gentrification."

You can see the movie tomorrow during the First Time Fest 2013 at the AMC Loews Village 7 on Third Avenue and East 11th Street. It plays at 3 p.m.

I asked Nicholson about the movie, and how it's a topic that residents anywhere in the city can relate to.

"If you find yourself wondering why there's a bank on every corner of the city, and why when you stand in Union Square and look around you see nothing but national chains, see 'Zipper,'" she said. "The Coney Island rezoning is the perfect example of the carnage that comes with 'running the city like a business.' 'Zipper' explains in layman's terms the process that ultimately shapes where we live."

Here's the trailer.

Zipper Trailer from Amy Nicholson on Vimeo.

Find more about the movie here.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hello, it's Eak the Geek

Here's Eak the Geek (aka Eduardo Arrocha), longtime East Village resident...

He is a senior cast member of the Coney Island Circus Sideshow ... having performed there for more than 15 years...

These photos by Stacie Joy are from a recent Congress of Curious Peoples at Coney Island USA, where he performed.

While we're not sure how much Eak the Geek will perform there this year, the Sideshows are under way, currently held on Saturdays and Sundays... and the shows will expand as the season progresses ... Visit the Coney Island USA site for all the details...

Monday, March 26, 2012

At the Coney Island USA Spring Gala 2012

On Saturday night, Coney Island USA visited Webster Hall to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Mermaid Parade at the group's annual Spring Gala.

East Village-based photographer Stacie Joy shared some of her photos with us...


World Famous *BoB* ...

Bunny Love...

Dr. Flux PhD. body paints a lovely model...

Rev. Billy...

Director Darren Aronofsky and Kryssy Kocktail...

Miss Coney Island 2012, BB Heart...

Joe Franklin and Mayor of Coney Island Dick Zigun...

Slipper Room co-owners Camille and James Habacker flanking Jonny Porkpie, burlesque mayor of NYC...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Why is this East Village resident organizing a swim to Coney Island on Saturday?

[Deanne Draeger]

Note from EV Grieve: In case you saw an earlier version of this post. Draeger is organizing and hosting this event... she's not swimming this year... she did the trek last year. Oops! My apologies. The post has amended to reflect this.

On Saturday, East Village resident Deanne Draeger is hosting a 17-mile swim from East 26th Street to the Steeplechase Pier in Coney Island.

Aug. 13 marks the 100-year anniversary of when 17-year-old Rose Pitonof completed the very same route. As The New York Times reported on that date, there were 50,000 people waiting for Pitonof at Coney Island when she finished.

"From the time she first made her appearance around Norton’s Point thousands gathered along the shore to watch her progress and cheer her on to victory, and all bathing was suspended for practically the last hour of her swim."

[Rose Pitonof]

Last year, Draeger replicated Rose’s historic swim. The whole thing came about after Draeger was injured while training for her second Ironman event. She couldn't run or cycle. So she decided to focus on swimming.

"As I was searching online for a long-distance swim event, I came across an article about Rose Pitonof and her swim, and knew immediately that that was what I wanted to do," she said.

This year, Draeger, 43, has organized a marathon event for six swimmers. She hopes to make this an annual event. The swimathon — The Rose Pitonof Centennial Swim — starts along the Manhattan side of the East River at 8:45 a.m., crossing over to Brooklyn just past the Williamsburg Bridge. (Best time to view from the East River Park: 9 a.m. on the north end of park until roughly 10-11 a.m. on the south end of the park. The swimmers, who will each be accompanied by a motorboat and a kayak, are expected to arrive in Coney Island by 6 p.m.)

Draeger answered a few questions for us...

On the idea of swimming to Coney Island

"I've lived in NYC most of my life — the past 15 years or so right on East 13th Street. I see the East River almost every day. Jumping in and starting to swim to Coney Island was a rush. Most of my life it never crossed my mind to do something so crazy. I guess I imagined it was impossible — illegal even."

On the best part of the swim

"Passing underneath bridges is the best part — and such amazing bridges. The Williamsburg, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Verrazano — I've always loved them. Now I feel like they belong to me in a whole new way. I've been here all my life, but for the first time, was able to see my city in a way that no one ever gets to see it. And for that experience, I feel incredibly grateful."

Read more about Rose Pitonof here.

Here's a map of the swim route.

Here's more on the other swimmers.

Here's a piece our friends at Amusing the Zillion wrote about Draeger.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A celebration for Coney Island

East Village-based photographer Stacie Joy sent along some photos from Electric Eden, a Gala Fundraising Benefit in support of Coney Island USA that took place this past Thursday at Amnesia on West 29th Street.... featuring the cast of the Coney Island Circus Sideshow. (Read more about it here.)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Helping save Ruby's

A petition is making the rounds to help try to save the venerable Ruby's on the Coney Island boardwalk. You can find the petition here. Many of the boardwalk's remaining longtime businesses have been giving the boot this week...

There's more coverage at Grub Street ... Amusing the Zillion .... Eater ... Jeremiah's Vanishing New York ... Kinetic Carnival ...

[Image via Ruby's]

Saturday, April 4, 2009

"Coney Island: Really Fun. Really Open"

From the Times today:

Last September, when the Astroland amusement park, a three-acre sliver of the area, was shut down in a battle with its landlord, erroneous reports went out around the world that all of Coney Island was a corpse. Overnight, it seemed, obituaries were composed. Carnie barkers were invited to their own wakes.

But the rumors of demise had been exaggerated greatly. All of Coney Island, from Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs to the world-renowned Cyclone, had not dropped off the Boardwalk into the sea.

“They’re all surprised when I tell them we’re still open,” said a frustrated Dennis Vourderis, whose family has run the Wonder Wheel for more than 40 years. “Unfortunately, the press did a great job announcing Astroland had closed, so now people think that Coney Island is closed.

“But they haven’t rolled the beach up yet,” he said. “It’s totally ridiculous.”

The premature announcement of their burial has been so widespread that several local merchants have pooled money in an existential media campaign. Beginning next month, there will be billboards on the highways, bus stop ads, commercials at the movies. The slogan: “Coney Island: Really Fun. Really Open.”

Meanwhile, I was also guilty of focusing on what was closed rather than what was open.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

"Coney Island will be open for business in 2009"

I'm reprinting a comment left by Electricia on my Coney Island post from this morning:

Your observation that you ran into about 50 people taking photos is telling. As someone who works in Coney, I worry that the proliferation of pix showing a disaster zone will reinforce the mistaken idea people have from media reports that ALL of Coney Island is closed.

Despite the devastating loss of Astroland and the threatening Store for Lease banners on Ruby's and other Thor owned properties, CONEY ISLAND WILL BE OPEN FOR BUSINESS IN 2009! Not only the landmark Cyclone and Wonder Wheel, and Nathan's, but Deno's Wonder Wheel Park (20 rides), Eldorado Bumper Cars and Arcade, 12th Street Amusements including Polar Express, McCullough's Kiddie Park, The Coney Island Sideshow & Museum, the Coney Island History Project (under the Cyclone coaster), fireworks, Mermaid Parade and much, much more! Please visit and help us keep Coney's businesses alive and thriving! The 2009 season begins on Palm Sunday, April 5th.

List of what will *definitely be open & happenin' in 2009

Flickr group "Coney Island is Alive & Kicking" with 250+ photos of attractions you can enjoy in 2009