It is appropriate with Halloween being around the corner that we have the pleasure to introduce more glorious footage of Coney Island’s yesteryear, highlighting the spooky freak shows that help make the boardwalk iconic.
Last month, we came across a 50-second clip uploaded by ChiTownView, which featured the freak shows of Coney Island dating back to the 1940s. Well, this historically minded YouTuber has found even more footage of vintage Coney Island, mashing newsreel bits from the 40s, 50s and 60s together into a glorious and trippy walk down memory lane.
This time, you can see men breathing fire, dancing freaks, creepy wax museum figures that nearly come to life, a racy little striptease and the whirling light show of Coney Island’s best rides set to a creepy laugh track of drunken carnies. Best of all, it ends like all the best nights on Coney Island do, with a fireworks show blasting in the sky.
Great stuff, ChiTown. We hope you can keep finding the lost gems and sharing them for all of us to appreciate.
On a whim, I hopped down to Coney Island to catch the fireworks on July 4 last year. It was hot and crowded with no good place to steal a glimpse of the fireworks show without cramming myself between a bunch of sweaty, drunk people. Luckily, for those like me looking for a better seat, you can fill up the Cyclones baseball stadium, MCU Park, for free to watch the fireworks on Independence Day this year.
The Cyclones baseball team will be out of town this year on July 4, but they are opening their doors at 4:30 p.m. to the public. Once inside, you’ll be able to scout out some choice seats, use the public bathrooms and buy food from the concession stands. That’s not all, though. The Cyclones have a litany of events all leading up to the fireworks show at 9 p.m.:
• A pig roast presented by Thomas Joseph Catering
• “Beers of New York” beer garden
• A special performance by the String Orchestra of Brooklyn
• Live music from oldies and Top 40 cover bands
• Family activities including the “Fastest Arm in Brooklyn Competition” on the Cyclones speed pitch
The events are a joint operation between the Brooklyn Cyclones and the Alliance for Coney Island, and while admission is free, guests are encouraged to donate on behalf of the Brooklyn Public Library and Coney Recovers, an initiative of local organizations working in partnership to assist with the recovery of the Coney Island community.
This actually all sounds like a lot of fun and a great way to loosen up the traffic on the boardwalk on one of Coney Island’s busiest days.
Shortly after the Parachute Jump began its new era of psychedelic awesomeness, a thrilling twenty-five minute fireworks show began. While the biggest blasts nearly deafened the large crowd on hand, it was funny to hear comments from children that the soaring blue and red firecrackers ‘looked like Superman’ blasting into the sky.
All in and all, it was a beautiful warm night that served as a wonderful new chapter for an area struggling to bounce back to full force. Below are photos of the night capturing the fireworks, Markowitz and the shiny new Parachute Jump lights, all courtesy of photographer Butch Moran
Explosions in the sky, blinding LED lights, girls strutting around in skimpy outfits… ‘merica.
These wonderful things are all to be expected this weekend on Coney Island.
On Friday, you can see the first Friday fireworks of 2013. If you are especially afraid of the dark, you will also be able to see Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz throw the switch on the 8,000 dazzling new lights attached to the parachute jump. The lights are so bright that they will actually be able to be seen from space.
On Saturday, make sure to grab your mermaid outfit and head out a bit earlier for the recently saved Mermaid Parade. This year, the parade is kicking off at 1 p.m. and I hope to see you and all the other aquatic revelers there strutting your stuff.
For 32 years prior to 2009, residents of Brooklyn and Queens were given the chance to enjoy the Macy’s fireworks show on the East River, and watch bright colors and designs splash in the sky in celebration of the day that America gained independence.
No longer do residents of these areas enjoy the opportunity, for the July 4 fireworks show has been moved from the East River to the Hudson three years ago.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Senator Dan Squadron, Councilman Stephen Levin, and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz have united to campaign for the return of the Macy’s fireworks show to the East River waterfront, and have even put together an online petition for residents to sign.
“There’s no tradition we love more in Brooklyn than gathering on our rooftops and waterfront for the fireworks,” said de Blasio at a press conference in Brooklyn Bridge Park. “We look forward to sitting down with Macy’s to find a way to bring the show back to the East River, where more New Yorkers can be a part of it.”
This was originally to be a “Postcard” piece, as the image above comes from an eBay auction. But further research revealed a fascinating part of Manhattan Beach history, dating back too far to fit even in the “Remember When” series.
From the Harper’s Weekly archive, the wood engraving above is not some illustration of a far off land beset by flame and destruction. Instead it’s a fireworks display, put on in 1885 in Manhattan Beach.