A Historical Meets Contemporary View of Coney Island’s People, Rituals, and Architecture

Blending historical photographs from the Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklyn Collection and the works of nine contemporary artists, Coney Island examines the people, rituals, and iconic architecture of the slice of carnivalesque paradise for New Yorkers, tourists, and artists. The exhibit at the Valentine Museum of Art, which includes over 90 prints and paintings, is open through March 11.

Although Coney Island’s popularity declined after World War II, with some of the park falling prey to years of neglect, events like the Mermaid parade and Tribute to the Ancestors continue to make the seaside attraction a curiosity and compelling community.

Many of the artists in Coney Island have been working there since the late 1970s. Artists in the exhibit include famed street photographer Jamel Shabazz; Don Burmeister, the executive editor of the New York Photo Review; and Hazel Hankin, who was a member of the Coney Island Hysterical Society in the 1980s — a a pioneering troupe of visual artists that created art in, for, and about Coney Island.