It pains me to say this but the days of many of our nation’s beloved amusement rides are numbered. One way or another, beloved institutions that make up Coney Island and other boardwalks will go away, either due to time, the distractions of Pokemon Go-style games, conversion to condos or the ever-rising sea levels that will soon turn ocean-front property into deep-sea property (but keep arguing about parking spaces, everyone!). With this loss go our memories of youth and first dates and lovably cheesy rides that remind us of a simpler time before paying $20 to see The Smurfs in 3D. We got a taste of this in 2012 when Sandy whacked the boardwalk in Coney Island, damaging many of the rides; at my hometown boardwalk in Seaside Heights, that kooz of as storm sent an entire pier to amusement park heaven.
Among the most endangered of these kinds of attractions are what’s known as “dark rides” like the Spookarama at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, those single-cart rides that take you through a haunted house full of ghosts and scares. They’re prime for teenage making out, have been around for 100 years — and they’re disappearing. Only about a dozen of the old-school version are left in the United States, according to one count. Joel Zika, a 36-year-old art and design university professor in Melbourne, Australia, has been fascinated with the dark rides for years, reveling their connection to early horror effects in movies. So he decided to document them in the only way that would truly do them justice: Virtual reality. He’s crowdfunding his project now and planning a trip to Coney in October to record the Spookarama in all its old-timey glory.
“It’s not so much that these are amazing experiences, but that they’re really unique,” Zika told Brokelyn. “All this stuff that’s really immersive, 360-degree experiences, some of them up to 100 years old. That’s fascinating, that’s something that may be more valuable to me than looking at old cinema.” (more…)
Ride, ride, ride that Coney. via flickr user EITico68
Ever wanted to run away to the circus when you were a kid? Here in New York, it’s only a train ride away. And you can actually get paid to do it.
Coney Island businesses are currently hiring for their summer season, and those include some of your favorite games, rides and restaurants on the People’s Playground: Luna Park needs game operators, Nathan’s Famous needs hot dog hawkers, Deno’s Wonder Wheel needs that joker who asks you if you want “swinging” or “non-swinging.” The list goes on, and there’s certainly something for everyone.
A rendering of the amphitheater shows the Childs Building lit up at night. Via Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment.
Coney Island has gone through some fits and starts of rebirth in recent years. Some parts are only exciting if you love waiting in line for chain hamburgers or shoving food-scented bread down your throat. But here’s one major development that could (probably) be a good thing: The boardwalk this summer will get a huge new 5,000-seat semi-outdoor amphitheater that’ll host concerts, sports, family events and comedy, and become the new home for the annual free Seaside Concert series. Set to open in July, it’ll finally put use to the old historic old Childs Building, which has been sadly sitting vacant for years. The seating arrangement will allow crowds to expand into a space next to the boardwalk, for some summer shows with an ocean breeze. There’s no word on who will appear there this year, but beachside summer entertainment at the boardwalk is something has been sorely lacking for years. Don’t let anyone tell you NYC isn’t a beach town. (more…)
Quite a place to say hello to 2016. via Flickr user Kilgub
Every day, we’re getting closer to the best holiday of the year, and if you’re anything like us, you’re very excited. No, not Thanksgiving or Christmas, we mean New Year’s Eve. And of course after New Year’s Eve is the holiday’s cousin, New Year’s Day, also known as International Hangover Day, during which you lie on the couch and recover from the previous evening’s heavy indulgence of LSD and Glug. On the other hand, you might be able to actually move around and stuff after New Year’s Eve, so if you’re up for what could be a chilly adventure, amNewYork reports that you can ride Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel on New Year’s Day for the first time in the ride’s history. (more…)
Who says the Baseball Furies aren’t child-friendly? Photos by Andy Zou
Hundreds of fans and their families came out to play-ay this past Sunday at the Warriors’ Reunion in Coney Island. With the $20 ticket price, the event promised opportunities to take photos with the cast, live music, a movie screening and more. And to be fair, all of that did happen, eventually. But the scene was otherwise kind of grim, as entrants stood dazed in the heat for most of the morning and afternoon, waiting in a winding queue without much sense of what they were waiting for. (more…)
Beards! People are fascinated by them, many folks throughout history have grown them. Maybe even you have one, and you’re thinking you should get around to shaving because it’s so freaking hot out. Before you do that though, consider how long it takes you to grow something weird and award-worthy, because glory and a trophy fez await you at the upcoming Coney Island Beard and Moustache Competition. (more…)
Once again, 90’s nostalgia rears it’s spiky head. However, this time it’s about something we actually enjoy. After the rousing success of last year’s “Salute to Seinfeld,” the Brooklyn Cyclones will once again pay tribute to the greatest and most timeless of American sitcoms with “Salute to Seinfeld Night 2: Bigger, Better & Bania” on July 5. Last year’s event at MCU Park was a huge success, so this year, the Cyclones will have to try and top themselves, something the cast of the show about nothing has failed to do post “Seinfeld, with the exception of Julie-Louis Dreyfuss (or should we say President Meyer). (more…)
Some people took their newfound fishdom pretty seriously. Photos by David Colon
As you might have seen on Twitter, we didn’t just get to enjoy the Mermaid Parade in a haze of drunken irresponsibility this year. No, this year we enjoyed the Mermaid Parade as judges, which as it turns out, still means a good amount of of drunken irresponsibility, but also there are free tacos. And bribes, lots of people just giving you things like alcohol, candy, sexy dances and flowers in the hopes you’ll vote for their float or costume. Also we could get closer to the parade than usual. Still, our judging duties weren’t going to keep up from getting plenty of pictures of the day, since it lets us relive all the madness and share what we saw with anyone who couldn’t make it. (more…)
If you’ve got a nicer way to watch a movie, we’d love to hear it. via Flickr user David Tan
You’ve already got opportunities to watch outdoor movies in parks and in bars this summer, but seeing as how it’s beach season, maybe you want to be able to both go to the beach and see a movie and ride a roller coaster n the same day. In that case, thank your lucky stars that Flicks on the Beach will be returning to Coney Island this summer with another killer lineup of favorites both new and old. At least if you consider “old” to be movies made in 1984 to be old (which please don’t do that because it would make us feel old). (more…)
There’ll be dessert of course, but eat some real food first Photo via Sheepshead Bites
One of the best events for people who desire great food from south Brooklyn is no more. A Taste of Sheepshead Bay is dead, long live The Bite: Sheepshead Bay. Different name, same concept: a variety of different Sheepshead Bay restaurants, all under one roof, bringing the best of the south Brooklyn restaurant scene to you. For what amounts to half of what we usually spend whenever we go out to eat in the first place, you can try everything from Turkish, to Latin, to ol’ fashion American food. Much better than just making pasta and watching Netflix, trust us, we know. (more…)