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Archive for the ‘Coney Island’ Category

A Desire Named Streetcar

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By Henry Stewart, Special to Bay Currents

Surf Ave. Trolley Pole
A rusted trolley pole on Surf Ave., currently used to hold street signs

As Arthur Melnick drove down Surf Avenue with this writer on a recent rainy afternoon, he acted as a tour guide to the Coney Island of his youth, pointing out, amid the vacant lots, where the old swimming pools, arcades and rides used to be.

“All these empty lots were attractions,”he said. “All this was Coney Island…”

Melnick, 62, hopes to restore a small piece of Coney Island’s storied past by bringing back trolley service to its streets, a project he has been working on for six years.

Now, he might be closer than ever before to realizing his dream — the trolleys appear to fit in with several of Mayor Bloomberg’s current priorities, from going green and relieving traffic congestion to promoting a revitalized Coney Island.

“People would come to the area just to ride the trolley,” Melnick said. “It’s a tourist attraction in itself.”

It’s just a matter of convincing the city to give the OK.

Read More by downloading this pdf (and jumping to pg. 7)

Photo from the Trolley Pole page on Flickr

Written by Henry

April 10, 2008 at 8:52 pm

Posted in Coney Island

Gardens to Close as Coney Prepares for Building Boom

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A Replay of Giuliani-Era Community Garden Controversy?
By Henry Stewart
Special to Brooklyn Daily Eagle

CONEY ISLAND — Two community gardens on city-owned land in Coney Island are likely to be sold to developers by next year, according to city officials.

The gardens “are located on a site we plan to offer for the development of affordable housing,” Neill Coleman, a spokesman for Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), a city agency, wrote in an e-mail.

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Written by Henry

March 8, 2008 at 8:51 pm

A Coney Island History Lesson, Hidden in Photos

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“As Coney Faces Change, Arts Venues Rush To Exhibit Photos of Amusement Area”
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 25 February 2008

By Henry Stewart
Special to Brooklyn Daily Eagle
CONEY ISLAND — As residents, developers and the city duke it out over Coney Island’s future, artists, curators and editors are looking back to its past.

Photographs of the storied amusement area, showing the neighborhood both as it is and once was, are on display across the city in museums, bars, galleries and on the pages of magazines.

“It’s an excellent time to revisit the history,” said Patrick Amsellem, the associate curator of photography at the Brooklyn Museum and organizer of the show, “Goodbye, Coney Island?” running through early April.

Click here to keep reading.

Photo courtesy Brooklyn Museum; artist unknown
Modern 1947 Coney Island, 1947; Gelatin silver print, Sheet: 11 X 14 in. (27.9 X 35.6 cm)

Written by Henry

February 28, 2008 at 8:33 pm

A Boardwalk Unfit for Walkin’

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An original video piece on the dilapidated condition of the Coney Island/Brighton Beach boardwalk:

Written by Henry

December 18, 2007 at 5:52 pm

Meet Chuck Reichenthal, Artist & Public Servant

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On a recent afternoon, Charles Reichenthal, better known as “Chuck,” pushed his chair out from his computer and walked towards the television that sits in the corner of his Coney Island office. A quiz show was on and the question was about poetry.

“e.e. cummings!,” he shouted at the contestant on the screen. “It’s e.e. cummings!”

Reichenthal’s knowledge of trivia, whether it’s books, music, theater, film or baseball, knows no bounds, say his friends.

“Now, if you ask me my telephone number,” Reichenthal said, “I couldn’t tell you.”

He has been the district manager of Brooklyn’s Community Board 13 for over a decade, but as much as he may enjoy his role in greasing the gears of local government, his heart of hearts is in the arts.

“Everything else is just to get by,” said Marty Markman, who has known Reichenthal since the 1970’s. “A life in the arts, that’s what he wanted more than anything else.”

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In a Nabe Known for Tourists, Where’s the Local Bar?

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The Luna Park Saloon

The Cyclone doesn’t rattle, the Wonder Wheel doesn’t turn and Astroland doesn’t make a peep.

Many of Coney Island’s tourist attractions are closed for the cold seasons—including the beach, officially—but that doesn’t mean that there are a lack of tourists or a lack of places to grab a beer.

Labor Day marks the end of the business season for most of the rides and restaurants, but, thanks in large part to an Indian summer, several spots on the boardwalk and elsewhere were still open on Wednesday afternoon to cater to the few people, mostly tourists, continuing to patronize Coney Island’s watering holes.

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Written by Henry

October 17, 2007 at 5:09 pm