Coney Island History Project

Coney Island History Project The Coney Island History Project, founded in 2004, is a 501(c)(3) 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.
For information about programs and activities, or to become a member or volunteer email [email protected] In 2011, the History Project moved to a new exhibition center on W 12th Street in the heart of Deno's Wonder Wheel Park. Since the Coney Island History Project's inception in 2004 with a portable recording booth on the Boardwalk, followed by the opening of the Coney Island Hall of Fame in 2005 and the inaugural season of our exhibition center under the Cyclone in 2007, we have proudly offered "Free Admission for One and All!" at our exhibits and events. We are grateful to the Vourderis family for inviting us to set up history exhibits in locations around their park, and to the Albert family for their ongoing support as the History Project continues its mission of recording oral histories with people who lived, worked, and played in Coney Island. Come visit us at the Wonder Wheel in 2011! Open from 1pm-7pm on Saturday, Sunday and holidays from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day, and by appointment, the center presents a series of exhibits, events and performances, and displays historic artifacts from Coney Island's colorful past. The Coney Island History Project's award-winning website features a free downloadable audio tour of Coney Island, an Oral History Audio Archive and a searchable online archive containing more than 1,000 images and items from our collection. Visitors to our blog "Ask Mr. Coney Island" can ask questions about the area's past, present, and future. If you would like to receive a monthly e-newsletter "What's New in Coney?" featuring news and upcoming events in Coney Island please sign up on our website http://www.coneyislandhistory.org Emphasizing community involvement, the Coney Island History Project teaches young people the techniques of oral history and develops programs in conjunction with local schools, museums, and other organizations. The History Project’s executive director Charles Denson is a Coney Island native, a noted historian, and the author of the award-winning Coney Island: Lost and Found & Wild Ride: A Coney Island Roller Coaster Family. Coney Island History Project, 3059 West 12 St near Boardwalk, Brooklyn NY 11224 [email protected] twitter: http://twitter.com/ConeyHistory Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/coneyislandhistory/
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Our exhibition center and recording studio are located on West 12th Street at the entrance to Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, just a few steps off the Boardwalk. View historic artifacts, photographs, maps, ephemera and films of Coney Island's colorful past. We offer year-round weekend walking tours which begin with a private tour of the exhibit center including a talk about the objects on display. Tours are based on History Project director Charles Denson's award-winning book Coney Island: Lost and Found, the interviews from CIHP’s Oral History Archive, and other primary sources. Visit our online reservation site (https://www.eventbrite.com/o/coney-island-history-project-1132126799) to see the walking tour schedule and purchase advance tickets online. If you have a question or to arrange a private visit or group tour, please e-mail [email protected]. The Coney Island History Project's free exhibition center season is Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day (Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 1-7pm.) We will also be open on Palm Sunday (March 25, 2018) which is Coney Island's opening weekend of the season, and Easter Sunday (April 1, 2018) from 1-6pm. Admission is free of charge.

Mission: The Coney Island History Project’s mission is to create an oral history of the area; organize exhibitions, lectures and performances; and honor community leaders and amusement pioneers through the Coney Island Hall of Fame.

Thanks to all who visited and supported the Coney Island History Project's #FREE exhibition center in 2019, our 15th yea...
12/03/2019

Thanks to all who visited and supported the Coney Island History Project's #FREE exhibition center in 2019, our 15th year! On this #GivingTuesday, your donation will help fund our 2020 season and oral history archive https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/membership-and-support

12/02/2019
THE JAZZ GREATS NAT KING COLE (It's Only a Paper Moon & Sweet Lorraine)

There's nothing like staying home while it's snowing and listening to old favorites: #TodayInHistory the popular song It's Only a Paper Moon was first performed in 1932 in an unsuccessful Broadway play The Great Magoo set in Coney Island. The song later became a jazz standard thanks to recordings by Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald & Benny Goodman https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=38&v=1RcoUfSAUWs

Nat King Cole (piano & vocals) It's Only a Paper Moon Sweet Lorraine

#TodayInHistory: Artist August Wolfinger, 'The Michelangelo of the Midway,' died in 1950. His pastoral and patriotic sce...
12/01/2019

#TodayInHistory: Artist August Wolfinger, 'The Michelangelo of the Midway,' died in 1950. His pastoral and patriotic scenes grace the rounding boards of Coney Island's historic B&B Carousell. From April-October, when the B&B is open, it's one of the stops on the Coney Island History Project Walking Tour. Although the amusement rides are now closed for the season, you can join our weekend tours year round: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/coney-island-history-project-walking-tour-december-7-2019-march-1-2020-tickets-82369349943

#HappyThanksgiving from good ol' Coney Island and the Coney Island History Project! Vintage photos at Paul's Daughter, t...
11/27/2019

#HappyThanksgiving from good ol' Coney Island and the Coney Island History Project! Vintage photos at Paul's Daughter, the oldest operator on the Boardwalk, and where we enjoy feasting on lobster rolls, calamari, clams, chicken tenders, french fries, knishes and more all season long!

NEW in the Coney Island History Project #OralHistory #Archive: Anne Green, 89, grew up in Coney Island and now lives in ...
11/26/2019
Anne Green

NEW in the Coney Island History Project #OralHistory #Archive: Anne Green, 89, grew up in Coney Island and now lives in Brighton Beach. She shares childhood memories of finding a $10 bill in the sand, playing on a sunken ship in the bay, riding the LA Thompson Scenic Railway and Steeplechase Park's Barrel of Fun, and collecting magazines for the war effort. Thanks to Leila Goldstein for recording Anne's story! https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/oral-history-archive/anne-green

Anne Green, 89, grew up in Coney Island and currently lives in Brighton Beach. Her family first moved to West 20th Street in Coney Island after a fire in their Harlem apartment. She shares childhood memories of finding a $10 bill on the beach, playing on a sunken ship in the bay, riding the LA Thomp...

Coney Island History Project info table at Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus Coney Island Senior Town Hall & Resource Fair...
11/20/2019

Coney Island History Project info table at Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus Coney Island Senior Town Hall & Resource Fair at Carey Gardens Community Center last week. Thanks for inviting us. Enjoyed seeing old friends and making new friends who have since recorded one #oralhistory, made appointments for two more, and scheduled two reminiscence programs at senior centers!

When The Dark Ride Project's Joel Zika visited from Australia to film in Coney Island at Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement P...
11/20/2019
Joel Zika

When The Dark Ride Project's Joel Zika visited from Australia to film in Coney Island at Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park's Spook-A-Rama, we recorded this #oralhistory. On Friday at #IAAPAExpo in Orlando he's presenting a paper on how haunted attractions turn history into nightmares. https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/oral-history-archive/joel-zika

Joel Zika is a multimedia artist, a lecturer in Creative Arts at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, and the creator of the Dark Ride Project. Using a Virtual Reality 360- degree video camera, his mission is to document the dwindling number of vintage dark rides in operation in amusement park...

We're sad to report that our friend Abe Feinstein, 90, passed away today. In 2012, two years after this oral history int...
11/18/2019
Abe Feinstein

We're sad to report that our friend Abe Feinstein, 90, passed away today. In 2012, two years after this oral history interview was recorded, “Abe Feinstein: 50 Years of Coney Island Photography,” his first-ever exhibit, opened at the Coney Island History Project. It proved so popular that it remains on view as an iMovie with music of the '60s shown on a video screen at our exhibit center. https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/oral-history-archive/abe-feinstein

Abe Feinstein moved with his wife and children to Luna Park Houses in 1962 and lived there for 31 years. Working at a camera store, he could get discounts on film and processing, which enabled him to take as many photos as he wished. He had a habit of taking daily walks around Coney Island and snapp...

Today in 2000 #ConeyIsland's original #Thunderbolt roller coaster, built in 1925 and operated until 1982, demolished by ...
11/17/2019
Meg Feeley

Today in 2000 #ConeyIsland's original #Thunderbolt roller coaster, built in 1925 and operated until 1982, demolished by the City. Listen to the Coney Island History Project's #OralHistory with Meg Feeley about a renegade ride on the Thunderbolt on a February night in the 1980s, a few years after the coaster had closed down! Photo by Charles Denson. https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/oral-history-archive/meg-feeley #TodayInHistory #OTDH

Meg Feeley was born in Brooklyn. Her grandfather owned Ben Kallman's Frosted Foods, which introduced frozen corn on the cob to Coney Island as a snack food. Among her memories are a renegade ride on the Thunderbolt on a February night in the 1980s, a few years after the roller coaster had closed dow...

Where are we now, 7 years after Hurricane Sandy? Get updates on November 21st, at the Southern Brooklyn Recovery and Res...
11/17/2019

Where are we now, 7 years after Hurricane Sandy? Get updates on November 21st, at the Southern Brooklyn Recovery and Resiliency Forum presented by Council Member Mark Treyger and Community Board #13 - Brooklyn. Hear from the US Army Corps of Engineers and city and state agencies on the status of resiliency and recovery projects. Coney Island YMCA, 2980 W 29th Street, Thursday, November 21st at 6 p.m.

Coney Island's soon-to-be 100-year-old Deno's Wonder Wheel and other rides are closed till spring but you can enjoy the ...
11/16/2019

Coney Island's soon-to-be 100-year-old Deno's Wonder Wheel and other rides are closed till spring but you can enjoy the Coney Island History Project's #WalkingTour year round. Ticket fees help support our 501c3 nonprofit's free exhibition center and oral history program. https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/tours-seeing-coney-island

TOMORROW:Saturday #November16: Coney Island Creek Workshop at NY Aquarium Education Hall, 10am-2:30pm. Share your perspe...
11/15/2019

TOMORROW:Saturday #November16: Coney Island Creek Workshop at NY Aquarium Education Hall, 10am-2:30pm. Share your perspective on how you use the creek so we can collectively enhance storm resilience, ecological health and access. FREE parking, lunch and admission to the shark exhibit. New York Aquarium Coney Island Beautification Project, Inc. SWIM Coalition

NEW in the Coney Island History Project #OralHistory #Archive: A voice actor's reflections on how growing up in Coney Is...
11/15/2019
Tiana Camacho

NEW in the Coney Island History Project #OralHistory #Archive: A voice actor's reflections on how growing up in Coney Island in the 1990s shaped her imagination. "Your voice can be a million different characters," says Tiana Camacho, a professional voice over actress for video games, anime, radio plays, and commercials who grew up in Gravesend Houses and on West 19th Street. https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/oral-history-archive/tiana-camacho

Tiana Camacho is a professional voice over actress for video games, anime, radio plays, and commercials who grew up in Coney Island in the 1990s. When her family moved from Gravesend Houses to a house on West 19th Street next to the Coney Island Library, Tiana read to the kids there. She credits the...

We were sad to learn that our friend Allan Yussim passed away last week at the age of 77. Allan was a really funny guy a...
11/13/2019
Remembering Allan Yussim

We were sad to learn that our friend Allan Yussim passed away last week at the age of 77. Allan was a really funny guy and an important member of the Deno's Wonder Wheel family where, for thirty-eight years, he was on call to help keep things running. He was a man of many talents: master electrician, carpenter, and the all around fix-it guy for the Coney Island community. In 2011, when we expanded the Coney Island History Project exhibit center, Allan was in charge of the project and did an incredible job. He also rebuilt the History Project after Hurricane Sandy and was always happy to consult on any problem we had. https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/blog/remembering-allan-yussim

Allan Yussim celebrating his birthday aboard Dennis Vourderis's fishing boat, 2019. We were sad to learn that our friend Allan Yussim passed away last week at the age of 77. Allan was a really funny guy and an important member of the Wonder Wheel family where, for thirty-eight years, he was on call....

Meet representatives from the Coney Island History Project this Thursday, November 14 at the Coney Island Senior Town Ha...
11/12/2019

Meet representatives from the Coney Island History Project this Thursday, November 14 at the Coney Island Senior Town Hall & Resource Fair presented by Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus at Carey Gardens Community Center! Our work with seniors includes recording oral histories in English, Russian, Chinese and other languages; presenting reminiscence programs at senior centers; and employing seniors both as paid staff and volunteers. Location: 2315 Surf Avenue, 10AM-12PM.

10 years ago today - on November 12, 2009 - Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the City had signed a contract with Thor E...
11/12/2019

10 years ago today - on November 12, 2009 - Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the City had signed a contract with Thor Equities to acquire 6.9-acres in Coney Island for $95.6 million. "The City's acquisition of the land in Coney Island's historic amusement district marks the beginning of a new era in Coney Island's history," the Mayor said in a release headed "Outdoor Amusement Park Will Be Expanded to 12.5 Acres within a New 27-Acre Amusement and Entertainment District. City Will Release a Request for Proposals for a Private Sector Amusement and Entertainment Operator Tomorrow." https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/491-09/mayor-bloomberg-city-acquisition-coney-island-property-expand-permanently
#TodayInHistory. Photo: Charles Denson, Coney Island History Project Collection.

Today, on #VeteransDay, we honor and remember all who served. There are two important veterans monuments in Coney Island...
11/11/2019
Today in History: Veterans Monuments in Coney Island

Today, on #VeteransDay, we honor and remember all who served. There are two important veterans monuments in Coney Island that few people know about. In Asser Levy Park a monument with brass plaques made from the sunken battleship the USS Maine commemorates an encampment of Spanish-American War veterans that took place at the site in 1924. Across the street is a plaque honoring William J. Hennessy of Coney Island, who was killed in action during World War I. https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/blog/today-history-veterans-monuments-coney-island

Today, on Veterans Day, we honor and remember those who served. There are two important veterans' monuments in Coney Island that few people know about. In Asser Levy Park (Seaside Park) at Surf Avenue and Ocean Parkway sits a stone monument with brass plaques made from the the USS Maine, the battles...

Born #OTD in 1841: Charles Feltman, inventor of the hot dog. Listen to the Coney Island History Project's #oralhistory w...
11/08/2019
Charles Robert Feltman

Born #OTD in 1841: Charles Feltman, inventor of the hot dog. Listen to the Coney Island History Project's #oralhistory with his great-grandson Charles Robert Feltman, who tells about the family history, describes 1940's Coney Island and reveals why the family is no longer in the hot dog business... https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/oral-history-archive/charles-robert-feltman

Charles Robert Feltman, great-grandson of Feltmans Restaurant founder and hot dog inventor Charles Feltman, tells the family history and describes what Coney Island was like in the 1940s. Founded in the 1870s, Feltmans was once the world's largest restaurant, stretching from Surf Avenue to the Ocean...

#SaveTheDate #Saturday #November16: Coney Island Creek Workshop at NY Aquarium Education Hall, 10am-2:30pm. Share your p...
11/07/2019

#SaveTheDate #Saturday #November16: Coney Island Creek Workshop at NY Aquarium Education Hall, 10am-2:30pm. Share your perspective on how you use the creek so we can collectively enhance storm resilience, ecological health and access. New York Aquarium SWIM Coalition Coney Island Beautification Project, Inc.

November 10th, this Sunday on the Coney Island Boardwalk - A Walk for Hope #SobrietyWalk
11/07/2019

November 10th, this Sunday on the Coney Island Boardwalk - A Walk for Hope #SobrietyWalk

This Sunday, November 10th, from 10AM-1PM in Coney Island: A WALK FOR HOPE: Opioid Memorial and Awareness Walk along the Boardwalk, organized by our friend P.O. Michael Balioni of the 60th Precinct. For more info please contact NYPD 60th Precinct Community Affairs, 718-946-3328.

Our friends at Ruby's Bar & Grill are hosting a Comedy Festival and Competition this weekend, Nov. 8 and 9, with pro and...
11/06/2019

Our friends at Ruby's Bar & Grill are hosting a Comedy Festival and Competition this weekend, Nov. 8 and 9, with pro and amateur stand-up comedians. Harpo Marx, who made his stage debut with his brothers at Coney Island's Henderson Music Hall in 1908 would have loved it!

Come make history with us THIS Friday and Saturday night (Nov. 8-9) at the Coney Island Comedy Festival & Competition at Ruby's Bar & Grill! See professional comedians (talented peeps who've been on "Letterman," "Conan," "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," "Last Comic Standing," HBO ... and SO much more) strut their stuff while amateur stand-ups compete to be the BEST of the best, winner-takes-all style! For more info and to reserve your tickets, go to rubysbar.com/comedyshow, and we'll see you on the boardwalk! 😎👍 #ConeyIsland #Brooklyn #NYC #food #drinks #FallFun #humor #ComedyFestival #WeekendFun

NEW in the Coney Island History Project #OralHistory #archive: Steve Burke shares memories of working at Coney Island's ...
11/05/2019
Steve Burke

NEW in the Coney Island History Project #OralHistory #archive: Steve Burke shares memories of working at Coney Island's pony track as a boy in the 1940s for "no pay, just tips." When the Labor Dept. came around, people who worked on Surf Avenue would send a signal and he and the other kids would hide. Among the perks of the job was getting to ride horses in Coney's Mardi Gras Parade! https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/oral-history-archive/steve-burke

Born in Flatbush, Steve Burke shares boyhood memories of working at Coney Island's pony track, where the Aquarium is now. As a boy of 10 and 11 he worked two summers for "no pay, just tips" and the fun of riding the horses, he says. When the Labor Department came around, people who worked on Surf Av...

#HappyHalloween from all of us at the Coney Island History Project! #ThrowbackThursday to Oct 31, 2010 Coney Island: Cha...
10/31/2019

#HappyHalloween from all of us at the Coney Island History Project! #ThrowbackThursday to Oct 31, 2010 Coney Island: Charles Denson with skeleton pal at Ruby's Bar & Grill 🎃 Coney Island's rides are now closed for the season, but Ruby's is still open, and you can join us year round for a weekend walking tour or make an appointment to record an oral history for our archive!

NEW in our #OralHistory #Archive: Tai chi master Boan Lin, 87, shares memories of practicing and teaching his art in Sou...
10/25/2019
Boan Lin (Master Lin)

NEW in our #OralHistory #Archive: Tai chi master Boan Lin, 87, shares memories of practicing and teaching his art in Southern Brooklyn and his life in China. The Coney Island History Project first interviewed Master Lin in English in 2010, when he won 1st prize in the senior division of the Coney Island Talent Show! This 2019 interview was conducted in Mandarin with Chinese transcription and English translation by Yiyi Zhang. Thanks to Jim McDonnell for his photos from 2010! https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/oral-history-archive/boan-lin-master-lin

This interview was conducted and recorded in Mandarin Chinese. Read Yiyi Zhang's transcript and translation below. 该采访是用普通话中文进行并录制的。请阅读以下张依伊的采访原文及翻译.

NEW #OralHistory recorded in #Russian by Julia Khanina for the Coney Island History Project: Yeva Novik, a 90-year-old C...
10/17/2019
Yeva Novik

NEW #OralHistory recorded in #Russian by Julia Khanina for the Coney Island History Project: Yeva Novik, a 90-year-old Coney Island resident, recounts her journey from Moscow to Southern Brooklyn. Thank you Councilmember Mark Treyger, New York City Council and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs for supporting our multilingual programs https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/oral-history-archive/yeva-novik

For #ItalianHeritageMonth, we look back at oral histories in the Coney Island History Project archive with Italian-Ameri...
10/11/2019
Louise Milano

For #ItalianHeritageMonth, we look back at oral histories in the Coney Island History Project archive with Italian-Americans who lived and worked here. Louise Milano's mother Carrie was the owner of Carolina Restaurant, a Mermaid Ave fixture for over 60 years. Louise talks with Charles Denson about growing up in a restaurant family and the special dishes that Carrie had on the menu. Listen here: https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/oral-history-archive/louise-milano

Founded in 1928, Carolina Restaurant on Mermaid Avenue was a fixture for over 60 years. Carolina, known as Carrie, prepared traditional home style cooking that remains memorable to generations of Coney Island residents. Carrie's daughter Louise and her friend Catherine tell stories about growing up....

Paul Georgoulakos, the beloved "Chief" of Gregory & Paul's and Paul's Daughter, has a bench dedicated to his memory on t...
10/09/2019

Paul Georgoulakos, the beloved "Chief" of Gregory & Paul's and Paul's Daughter, has a bench dedicated to his memory on the Coney Island Boardwalk by New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. "His love, care and sense of fun still inspires the Coney Island community," the inscription says. Paul, who opened the first G & P's in 1962 and was the Boardwalk's oldest operator, passed away on April 29, two days short of his 90th birthday.

Address

3059 W 12th St
Brooklyn, NY
11224

Subway: D, F, N & Q to Coney Island - Stillwell Ave Terminal F & Q to W 8th St - NY Aquarium

General information

The Coney Island History Project exhibit center is open Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day (1-7PM). Also open Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday (1-6PM). Admission is free of charge. In addition, the Coney Island History Project offers year-round weekend walking tours which begin with a private tour of the exhibit center including a talk about the objects on display. Tours are based on History Project director Charles Denson's award-winning book Coney Island: Lost and Found, the interviews from CIHP’s Oral History Archive, and other primary sources. Visit our online reservation site to see the walking tour schedule and purchase advance tickets online. If you have a question or to arrange a private visit or group tour, please e-mail events[AT]coneyislandhistory[DOT]org.

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