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.
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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/

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/

Operating as usual

#HappyMothersDay from the Coney Island History Project! Photo collage of some of the mothers and grandmothers who visite...
05/09/2021

#HappyMothersDay from the Coney Island History Project! Photo collage of some of the mothers and grandmothers who visited our exhibition center in past seasons with their kids & grandkids ❤️ 💐

#HappyMothersDay from the Coney Island History Project! Photo collage of some of the mothers and grandmothers who visited our exhibition center in past seasons with their kids & grandkids ❤️ 💐

NEW #OralHistory with Lo**ta Divilova, a member of Community Board #13 - Brooklyn and a Brightwater Towers homeowner and...
05/07/2021
Lo**ta Divilova

NEW #OralHistory with Lo**ta Divilova, a member of Community Board #13 - Brooklyn and a Brightwater Towers homeowner and board member. Interview recorded in #Russian and transcribed into Russian and translated into English by Julia Kanin for the Coney Island History Project #OralHistory #Archive. https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/oral-history-archive/lolita-divilova

This interview was conducted and recorded in Russian. Read Julia Kanin's transcript and translation below. Интервью проведено и записано на русском языке. Вы можете ознакомиться с траснскриптом и переводом Юлии ....

Jimmy Prince was the kindest man in the world and the brightest light in Coney Island. A man who personified compassion,...
05/05/2021
JIMMY PRINCE: THE PRINCE OF MERMAID AVENUE

Jimmy Prince was the kindest man in the world and the brightest light in Coney Island. A man who personified compassion, love and respect. There was no one else like him. He was born in 1932, the same year that Major Market opened on Mermaid Avenue and he began working at the market in June 1949 at the age of 18. Eventually he owned the store, and kept it open seven days a week, twelve hours a day until 2009. Jimmy became "Mr. Major," and his store became the heart of Coney Island, a refuge during hard times, where people came to find warmth and solace and nourishment. Jimmy's bright light has not gone out, it will shine brightly forever in the hearts of all who knew him. He was a wonderful friend. - Charles Denson https://youtu.be/qgoxPcz1Il4

PRINCE OF MERMAID AVENUE A film by Charles Denson Winner: Best Documentary 2009, Coney Island Film Festival. Jimmy Prince was the last link to what Merma...

#ThrowbackThursday #1950s photo from Coney Island History Project Collection: "Catch the Rings" at McCullough's carousel...
04/29/2021

#ThrowbackThursday #1950s photo from Coney Island History Project Collection: "Catch the Rings" at McCullough's carousel on Surf Avenue at West 15th Street in Coney Island. Around 1969, the Illions carousel was sold and ended up at Circus World in Florida where it operated until it was broken up and sold at auction in 1985.

#ThrowbackThursday #1950s photo from Coney Island History Project Collection: "Catch the Rings" at McCullough's carousel on Surf Avenue at West 15th Street in Coney Island. Around 1969, the Illions carousel was sold and ended up at Circus World in Florida where it operated until it was broken up and sold at auction in 1985.

NEW in the Coney Island History Project #OralHistory #Archive: #DYK Ravenhall bathhouses had roomy walk-in lockers equip...
04/26/2021
Natalie Johnson

NEW in the Coney Island History Project #OralHistory #Archive: #DYK Ravenhall bathhouses had roomy walk-in lockers equipped with a mirror, seating, shelves and hooks to leave your swimsuits overnight?! Natalie Johnson shares memories of having a season locker at Ravenhall and at Washington Baths Annex in the 1950s and '60s. Recorded for the History Project by Shavon Meyers. https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/oral-history-archive/natalie-johnson

Raised in Bay Ridge, Natalie Johnson has memories of going to Ravenhall Baths and Washington Baths Annex in the 1950's and 60s.

04/24/2021

"Hey! Get It, Get It!" at Paul's Daughter in #ConeyIsland! Artist Stephen Gaffney talks about making Paul's signature call to customers into one of the store's signs. Listen via the restaurant episode 2 in our Coney Island Stories podcast at https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/podcast/episode-2-immigrant-stories-coney-island-restaurants-part-ii or the full interview in our oral history archive: https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/oral-history-archive/stephen-gaffney. 2017 interview/photo. Audiogram by Neter Antoine.

#EarthDay2021 Circumnavigate Coney Island Creek at high tide with Coney Island History Project director Charles Denson v...
04/22/2021

#EarthDay2021 Circumnavigate Coney Island Creek at high tide with Coney Island History Project director Charles Denson via his CONEY ISLAND CREEK: A Kayak Tour on YouTube. https://youtu.b#earthday2021

#EarthDay2021 Circumnavigate Coney Island Creek at high tide with Coney Island History Project director Charles Denson via his CONEY ISLAND CREEK: A Kayak Tour on YouTube. https://youtu.b#earthday2021

Join us for “Coney Island History Show & Tell,” an interactive reminiscence event presented by the Coney Island History ...
04/18/2021
Coney Island History Show & Tell

Join us for “Coney Island History Show & Tell,” an interactive reminiscence event presented by the Coney Island History Project via Zoom on April 22. Do you have historical or personal objects related to Coney Island history you would like to share? After registering for the event, sign up to “show and tell” your story by emailing [email protected]. Listeners are welcome and will have an opportunity to ask questions via chat. Tickets are free of charge. Advance registration is required and capacity is limited. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/coney-island-history-show-tell-tickets-151306234019

Join us for “Coney Island History Show & Tell,” an interactive reminiscence event presented by the Coney Island History Project

NEW: Ep 7 of our #ConeyIslandStories podcast features independent game operators, past and present, via the voices of Pe...
04/15/2021

NEW: Ep 7 of our #ConeyIslandStories podcast features independent game operators, past and present, via the voices of Peter Agrapides, Monica Ghee, Candi Rafael, and Eliot Wofse from the Coney Island History Project Oral History Archive: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1565375/8343714-staying-in-the-game. The last of the independents who have stayed in the game are now concentrated on a small strip of Coney Island’s eclectic Bowery, once the boisterous home of hundreds of unusual games and attractions. Listen and subscribe via Apple, Spotify or your fave podcast app. #coneyisland #stayinginthegame

NEW: Ep 7 of our #ConeyIslandStories podcast features independent game operators, past and present, via the voices of Peter Agrapides, Monica Ghee, Candi Rafael, and Eliot Wofse from the Coney Island History Project Oral History Archive: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1565375/8343714-staying-in-the-game. The last of the independents who have stayed in the game are now concentrated on a small strip of Coney Island’s eclectic Bowery, once the boisterous home of hundreds of unusual games and attractions. Listen and subscribe via Apple, Spotify or your fave podcast app. #coneyisland #stayinginthegame

Built in the Roaring 20’s and faster than ever, The Cyclone Rollercoaster opens today for the first time in 18 months! V...
04/09/2021

Built in the Roaring 20’s and faster than ever, The Cyclone Rollercoaster opens today for the first time in 18 months! Vintage postcard from the Coney Island History Project Collection. #OpeningDay Luna Park NYC

Built in the Roaring 20’s and faster than ever, The Cyclone Rollercoaster opens today for the first time in 18 months! Vintage postcard from the Coney Island History Project Collection. #OpeningDay Luna Park NYC

#ThrowbackThursday #WonderWheel in 1935, with the Virginia Reel and Scoota Boats. Excited to ride #April9 when the 1920 ...
04/08/2021

#ThrowbackThursday #WonderWheel in 1935, with the Virginia Reel and Scoota Boats. Excited to ride #April9 when the 1920 Wheel and Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park open for the first time since October 2019! #ConeyIsland #OpeningDay

#ThrowbackThursday #WonderWheel in 1935, with the Virginia Reel and Scoota Boats. Excited to ride #April9 when the 1920 Wheel and Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park open for the first time since October 2019! #ConeyIsland #OpeningDay

Join us for “Coney Island History Show & Tell,” an interactive reminiscence event presented by the Coney Island History ...
04/06/2021
Coney Island History Show & Tell

Join us for “Coney Island History Show & Tell,” an interactive reminiscence event presented by the Coney Island History Project via Zoom on April 8. Do you have historical or personal objects related to Coney Island history you would like to share? After registering for the event, sign up to “show and tell” your story on April 8 or a future date by emailing [email protected].

Guest sharers on April 8 include Eric K. Washington, historian and author; Martine Emile, Coney Island filmmaker; and Lola the Illustrator, artist and muralist. Listeners are welcome and will have an opportunity to ask questions via chat. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/coney-island-history-show-tell-tickets-146838603215

Join us for “Coney Island History Show & Tell,” an interactive reminiscence event presented by the Coney Island History Project

#FlashbackFriday Dragon's Cave ticket booth -- "World's Craziest Ride"! Owned by Sporty and Norman Kaufman, Dragon's Cav...
04/02/2021

#FlashbackFriday Dragon's Cave ticket booth -- "World's Craziest Ride"! Owned by Sporty and Norman Kaufman, Dragon's Cave was on the Bowery between Stillwell Avenue and West 15th Street. Magic Carpet walk through in the background. 1950s photo from Coney Island History Project Collection.

#FlashbackFriday Dragon's Cave ticket booth -- "World's Craziest Ride"! Owned by Sporty and Norman Kaufman, Dragon's Cave was on the Bowery between Stillwell Avenue and West 15th Street. Magic Carpet walk through in the background. 1950s photo from Coney Island History Project Collection.

NEW in the Coney Island History Project #OralHistory #Archive: Artist Ita Bullard worked for years with her husband Hora...
04/01/2021
Ita Bullard

NEW in the Coney Island History Project #OralHistory #Archive: Artist Ita Bullard worked for years with her husband Horace to build a world-class amusement park in Coney Island, only to have the project destroyed by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Horace Bullard obtained a 99-year lease on the Steeplechase site and spent years purchasing the surrounding properties in a failed effort to combine them into a major attraction. https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/oral-history-archive/ita-bullard

Artist Ida Bullard worked for years with her husband Horace to build a world-class amusement park in Coney Island, only to have the project destroyed by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Horace Bullard obtained a 99-year lease on the Steeplechase site and spent years purchasing the surrounding properties in a...

Join us for Coney Island History Show & Tell, an interactive reminiscence event via Zoom! Do you have historical or pers...
03/31/2021

Join us for Coney Island History Show & Tell, an interactive reminiscence event via Zoom! Do you have historical or personal objects related to Coney Island that you would like to share? Sign up via DM or email to “show and tell” your story at our new biweekly event. Guest sharers on April 8 include historian and author Eric K. Washington, Coney Island filmmaker Martine Emile and artist Lola the Illustrator. FREE with advance registration via eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/coney-island-history-show-tell-tickets-146838603215. This program is supported, in part, by NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council and New York City Councilman Mark Treyger

Join us for Coney Island History Show & Tell, an interactive reminiscence event via Zoom! Do you have historical or personal objects related to Coney Island that you would like to share? Sign up via DM or email to “show and tell” your story at our new biweekly event. Guest sharers on April 8 include historian and author Eric K. Washington, Coney Island filmmaker Martine Emile and artist Lola the Illustrator. FREE with advance registration via eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/coney-island-history-show-tell-tickets-146838603215. This program is supported, in part, by NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council and New York City Councilman Mark Treyger

At last! Can't wait to ride the landmark Wonder Wheel again and wish it a Happy 100th 🎡
03/31/2021

At last! Can't wait to ride the landmark Wonder Wheel again and wish it a Happy 100th 🎡

We're thrilled to announce that #ConeyIsland's Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park will open on weekends starting #April9th! Hours are 11AM - 6PM. Daily schedule: Memorial Day Weekend - Labor Day. Please check our website denoswonderwheel.com for details and to reserve your visit. Entrance at the Boardwalk and Bowery gates for visitors with reservations and standby line. W 12 St gate closed due to construction.

Calling all #artists! 3/31 deadline for submitting your design proposals for the Alliance for Coney Island's storefront ...
03/27/2021

Calling all #artists! 3/31 deadline for submitting your design proposals for the Alliance for Coney Island's storefront mural project. The 15 sites include the Coney Island History Project, Brooklyn Beach Shop, The Cyclone Rollercoaster, Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, Eldorado Auto Skooter and several Mermaid Ave. stores. Visit http://allianceforconeyisland.org/murals for info. https://www.brooklynpaper.com/fifteen-new-murals-coming-to-coney-island/

Calling all #artists! 3/31 deadline for submitting your design proposals for the Alliance for Coney Island's storefront mural project. The 15 sites include the Coney Island History Project, Brooklyn Beach Shop, The Cyclone Rollercoaster, Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, Eldorado Auto Skooter and several Mermaid Ave. stores. Visit http://allianceforconeyisland.org/murals for info. https://www.brooklynpaper.com/fifteen-new-murals-coming-to-coney-island/

NEW in the Coney Island History Project #OralHistory #Archive: Poet Norman Stock grew up in Coney Island in a Yiddish li...
03/24/2021
Norman Stock

NEW in the Coney Island History Project #OralHistory #Archive: Poet Norman Stock grew up in Coney Island in a Yiddish literary household and was one of Dr. Couney's incubator babies at the NY World's Fair. https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/oral-history-archive/norman-stock

Poet Norman Stock grew up on West 24th Street in Coney Island. Born in 1940, he spent the first 2-1/2 months of his life as an incubator baby in Dr. Martin Couney's exhibit, which by that time had moved from Coney's Luna Park to the New York World's Fair. In his poem "My Only Story," he describes hi...

March 27: Plant Beach Grass with New York City Department of Parks & Recreation at Coney Island Creek Park, Bayview Ave ...
03/20/2021

March 27: Plant Beach Grass with New York City Department of Parks & Recreation at Coney Island Creek Park, Bayview Ave & Seagate Ave. Saturday, 3/27, 10:00am - 1:00pm. To register, please email [email protected].

March 27: Plant Beach Grass with New York City Department of Parks & Recreation at Coney Island Creek Park, Bayview Ave & Seagate Ave. Saturday, 3/27, 10:00am - 1:00pm. To register, please email [email protected].

Top of the mornin' to ya from #1940s #ConeyIsland! Shamrock Irish House on the Bowery had an orchestra, dancing, singing...
03/17/2021
Sheila Buxbaum Fitlin

Top of the mornin' to ya from #1940s #ConeyIsland! Shamrock Irish House on the Bowery had an orchestra, dancing, singing waiters. #StPatricksDay is the day to listen to this #OralHistory in the Coney Island History Project #Archive: https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/content/sheila-buxbaum-fitlin

Sheila and her family owned and operated the largest arcade in Coney Island, the Eldorado. Her father, his two brothers and three sisters opened The Shamrock Irish House, a restaurant/cabaret/open-air bar, in the early 1940's, and her family has run businesses in Coney ever since. Sheila describes t...

NEW in the Coney Island History Project #OralHistory #Archive: David Louie's family owned Wah Mee, a Chinese restaurant ...
03/16/2021
David Louie

NEW in the Coney Island History Project #OralHistory #Archive: David Louie's family owned Wah Mee, a Chinese restaurant on Mermaid Avenue at 24th Street. The establishment opened in the 1940s and was an extremely popular destination for generations of Coney Island residents. David's father emigrated from China in the 1920s and owned and operated several restaurants in New York. https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/oral-history-archive/david-louie

David Louie's family owned the Wah Mee Chinese Restaurant on Mermaid Avenue at 24th Street. The establishment opened in the 1940s and was an extremely popular destination for generations of Coney Island residents. David's father emigrated from China in the 1920s and wound up owning and operating sev...

NEW: Ep 6 of our #ConeyIslandStories podcast tells the story of a Century of Bathhouses including Washington Baths and R...
03/15/2021

NEW: Ep 6 of our #ConeyIslandStories podcast tells the story of a Century of Bathhouses including Washington Baths and Ravenhall via the voices of Jose Beth Smolensky, Cindy Jacobs, Richard Termini, Arthur Nintzel, Harold Blumenthal, and John Bonsignore recorded for the Coney Island History Project Oral History Archive. Listen and subscribe via Apple, Spotify or your fave podcast app. https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/podcast #coneyisland #bathhouses #swimmingpools

NEW: Ep 6 of our #ConeyIslandStories podcast tells the story of a Century of Bathhouses including Washington Baths and Ravenhall via the voices of Jose Beth Smolensky, Cindy Jacobs, Richard Termini, Arthur Nintzel, Harold Blumenthal, and John Bonsignore recorded for the Coney Island History Project Oral History Archive. Listen and subscribe via Apple, Spotify or your fave podcast app. https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/podcast #coneyisland #bathhouses #swimmingpools

#FlashbackFriday Boardwalk corn stand with signage displaying 1950s prices: Corn, 10¢; Lemonade, 10¢; Pineapple Colada, ...
03/12/2021

#FlashbackFriday Boardwalk corn stand with signage displaying 1950s prices: Corn, 10¢; Lemonade, 10¢; Pineapple Colada, 25¢; Carrot Juice, 15¢ & 30¢
📷: Coney Island History Project Collection
#coneyisland #coneyislandboardwalk #cornonthecob #signage

#FlashbackFriday Boardwalk corn stand with signage displaying 1950s prices: Corn, 10¢; Lemonade, 10¢; Pineapple Colada, 25¢; Carrot Juice, 15¢ & 30¢
📷: Coney Island History Project Collection
#coneyisland #coneyislandboardwalk #cornonthecob #signage

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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Our Story

Now more than ever we encourage you to browse the Coney Island History Project's website, which in addition to our Oral History Archive includes Ask Mr. Coney Island, selections from our Collection, and Coney News and Hall of Fame. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to learn about Coney Island's legendary and colorful past and the Coney Island community of today.

Due to the COVID-19 emergency, the Coney Island History Project has postponed walking tours, group visits to our exhibition center, events at schools and senior centers, and in-person oral history interviews until further notice. In order to maintain appropriate social distancing while continuing to engage with our community, our staff is recording oral histories from home via phone and Skype and creating virtual exhibits. Please email [email protected] for information.

We look forward to welcoming visitors to the Coney Island History Project exhibition center again soon. In the meantime, please stay safe and take care.

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Comments

Coney Island with the Kids 1955
Anyone have the address or photos of Stella's on West 15th back in the day? Pls?
Hey, can I still redeem these points? It says "Coupons Redeemable Anytime".
William Termini circa 1994 Coney Island
Thought you folks might enjoy this. The NYC DOF 1940's tax census photos are a treasure trove. Let me know if I can find something for you.
Hey Coney Island History Project. Has Henderson Walk been officially “de-mapped” from the grid? I reported the missing sign to 311 twice and it was never replaced. People over there say it’s private property. Any info? Also, while closed, it would also be nice to get the sign replaced at Kensington Walk as well. Thanks!!
Coney Island Late July 2001
Where was Cooks Lane & Railroad Ave. ? These streets may have been renamed.
My son William: Coney Island. August 2001
Hi All! Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. I am a reporter with NYCityLens, working on a story about Coney Island during the age of coronavirus. If anyone has any particular vignettes about their experiences during this time OR any memories/photos they would like to share of Coney Island visitations in the past, please do share and feel free to direct message me if you're interested.
Any info/history on the Polar Bear Club? My dad told me his father was one of the original jumpers way back in they day. :)
Mom and Dad at Coney Island circa 1950