An artifact from the Congress of Curious Peoples exhibit (Source: Coney Island USA)

If you think Coney Island is all sorts of wild now, you should have seen it 100 years ago. Coney Island was once a place filled with unforgettable freak shows and spectacles that would be controversial today.

A typical day in Coney Island between 1890 and 1915 would mean seeing shows that included everything from live fires to hundreds of midgets to real premature babies. A year long series of exhibitions, performances and lectures hope to capture everything that Coney Island was back then.

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A rendering of United Methodist Church without steeples, made by Valerie Landriscina.

When I sat down with the New York Times reporter to discuss the United Methodist Church of Sheepshead Bay (3087 Ocean Avenue) and its soon-to-expire steeples, he asked me one hundred different ways: how come no one is trying to stop it? If this were brownstone Brooklyn the community would be up in arms, he said. Why not here?

I gave him the long answer, which involved a lot of convoluted sentences and parenthetical statements about community fragmentation, civic decay and media penetration rates. It was an academic answer so unsuitable for quotation that he wrote me an e-mail asking the same question again – in three different ways – just so he could capture one line to push the narrative forward.

The simple answer? We could blame demographic shifts. Or we could blame weak civic institutions. Or the failure of local media to bridge cultural divides.

But at the end of the day, there’s one thing missing from the equation that’s needed before we can blame anything else: a leader.

Of all the media attention the issue got, and all the “Oh, that’s a pity” statements we heard from history buffs and preservationists, not a darn person tried to rally people, raise the money, and save the steeples.

Until now.

Read about the emerging voice for preservation of the United Methodist Church, and find out how you can help.

You don't know what a kanun is?! Jeez, we have to show you everything around here.

The Turkish Cultural Center at 245 Avenue U will have a presentation on music’s healing powers tonight, March 30, at 7 p.m.

Julie Ann Cunningham, a freelance writer and musician, will discuss her recent article in The Fountain Magazine titled “Music of the Spheres,” which explored different cultures and their use of music to heal body and soul. From Ancient Greeks to Egyptians, Indians to Israelis and Europeans, mere sound waves have long been used to affect people’s health, and Cunningham will talk about the different traditions, notable figures and instruments used by various civilizations.

Oh, but it’s not all talkie-talkie. There will be musical performances with the kanun, a popular Turkish instrument, and light Turkish food will also be served.

Photo by Laura Fernandez.

Smoke billowed from St. Mark School’s yard (Avenue Z and East 18th Street) on Saturday, March 26, while chili and beer flowed freely inside the building itself. And now another Grillin’ On The Bay is over and done with.

View our wrap up, user photos, team scores and links to other coverage of Grillin’ On The Bay 2011.

Source: soukup/Flickr

Tuesday Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

Considering filing an extension on your tax return? Do you know what the consequences of that are? Here are a few terms you may want to familiarize yourself with:

Failure to Pay Penalty
Underpayment Penalty
Underpayment Interest
Failure to File Penalty
Tax Fraud Penalty
Accuracy Related Penalty
Criminal Tax Penalty

Whoa. None of those things sound good, right? Let’s take a minute to learn the best way to file for an extension and avoid penalties.

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Shards of glass and metal litter the sidewalk on East 16th Street near Sheepshead Bay Road, after an unlicensed driver lost control of his vehicle and plowed into the window of a Chase Bank.

Find out more and see photos from the accident.

We get a lot of e-mails about cars stripped by wheel and rim thieves, often stating that the resulting hulk of glass, steel and fiberglass sits there for weeks. Such is the case with the photo above, taken on Bedford Avenue between Avenue T and Avenue S. According to the reader, Igor L., this one’s been there for some time, and we’ve heard of others that were left for as much as two months.

Quite frankly, authorities can’t do much about it if they don’t know – and even then a little prodding couldn’t hurt. So we’re opening up this thread to ask if you know of any other cars like this that are still sitting on the streets. We’ll see if we can get the word out and have them removed.

Worried about the city’s budget priorities? Community Board 15 is holding their public hearing tonight on 2012′s preliminary budget. With input from board members and the community, they’ll be making recommendations to the Mayor through the Borough Board and Borough President about how to better prioritize services and cuts throughout the district.

There are also two public hearings related to building developers seeking special permits in the area. One of them is at 1810 Voorhies Avenue, a three-story office and retail building that’s been stalled for some time. Construction began moving again a few months ago, and it seems they’re now looking for permission to reduce the required parking for the project. The other project to be discussed at tonight’s meeting is a residence at 2255 East 2nd Street, whose owners would like to enlarge their home.

The meeting is tonight at 7:00 p.m. in Kingsborough Community College’s Faculty Dining Room (2001 Oriental Boulevard).

Tonight the Village Voice is hosting its annual Choice Eats tasting event at the 69th Armory on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan.

Choice Eats is the foodie United Nations, featuring more than 50 restaurants from across the city – literally – and food from more than 35 nations, including Vietnam, Italy, Uzbekistan, Brazil, Cambodia, Russia, Tunisia, Peru and Cajun/Creole cuisine.

And it all reflects the mobility of one of New York City’s finest gastronomes, Village Voice food critic Robert Sietsema, who escapes Manhattan and Northern Brooklyn’s over-rated restaurant circuit more than most. Choice Eats is Sietsema’s baby, and he hand picks each participant. This year he’s chosen three Sheepshead Bay restaurants for the event: Café Glechik, Coney Island Taste and Marmaris Restaurant.

Nice picks. All of them are unique and all represent Sheepshead Bay well. It’s about time that Sheepshead Bay restaurants get the respect they deserve.

You can still buy tickets to Choice Eats for $45 per person which gets you entry into the event and tastings from all 50-plus restaurants.

So now that Sheepshead Bay is on the “foodie” map, what restaurant do you think Sietsema and his followers should check out next? Let us know!