Coney Island

Portraits of Uninhibited New Yorkers on Coney Island’s Crowded Beach in the 1960s

This holiday weekend marks the start of the summer vacation season. City dwellers across the country will be making a mass exodus to nearby sandy beaches to catch the first rays of summer sun. Many New Yorkers will pay a visit to the city’s most famous beach, Coney Island.

Between 1961 and 1963, photographer Aaron Rose ventured to the Brooklyn hotspot with camera in hand, capturing intimate portraits of sunbathers and swimmers. There’s a wonderful diversity across Rose’s images of uninhibited beachgoers — New Yorkers of all races, ethnicities, sexualities, and body types. Coney Island is famous for its boardwalk attractions, but Rose proved some of the most interesting scenes were happening on the beach. Rose worked with chromogenic color film, experimenting with the new process by increasing the speed and grain. This gave his works a sun-kissed glow, reminiscent of his half-nude subjects.

The Museum of the City of New York is hosting the first exhibition of the photographer’s work, on view until August 3 — and we have a preview of the show in our gallery. See how New Yorkers embraced the crowds, sand, and surf of Coney Island during the 1960s — and let it all hang out — below. … Read More

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What’s On at Flavorpill: The Links That Made the Rounds in Our Office

Today at Flavorpill, we discussed some of the worst words ever. We explored the world’s eeriest shipwrecks. We spotted the beds that would be sure to freak out a one night stand. We saw toy soldiers on a hilarious backyard mission. We saw Mr. Wizard… Read More

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Photos of Eccentric, Sexy, Fabulous Mermaids from Coney Island

The Mermaid Day Parade in Coney Island is a yearly tradition, known for vast crowds, extravagant sea-themed outfits, merry times, and partial nudity. Brooklyn’s Amy Sussman comes out every year. She’s recently started to catch these parade specimens against a backdrop instead of crowd shots, so you can just how fabulous and magical they really are in full detail — grinning, dripping in glitter, shimmering in aqua, and strutting in their star fish pasties, beaded eye-patches, and mermaid/sailor/pirate/sea creature gear. Sussman is a New York City Press corp member and contributes regularly to the Associated Press, Getty Images, Corbis and the Wall Street Journal. This is just one of her New York stories. Come and “sea.” … Read More

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Watch a Poignant Video Love Letter to Coney Island

New York’s beloved Coney Island has been in a complicated place for years now, as nearly century-old attractions like the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel share space with newer, more controversial development projects, and modern vaudeville and burlesque stars add a contemporary twist to the district’s colorful past. What’s remarkable about this short video tribute by Robert Kolodny of Land of Nod, Inc. is the way it captures the collage of traditions, characters, and time periods that make Coney Island the vital (if also perennially imperiled) place it is now. In the “love letter” below, we see romantic shots of iconic sites, meet contemporary street performers, and — perhaps most poignantly — even zoom in to catch the decades’ worth of lovers’ hearts carved into the boardwalk. … Read More

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Early-20th Century Boarding School Girls Gone Wild

Judging from this footage shot at Coney Island in 1905, school girls haven’t changed all that much in the past hundred years. Even way back then they were still taking forever to get situated in the car, strolling the boardwalk in unwieldy, impossible to navigate groups, playing mean tricks on their unsuspecting chaperone, and happiest when splashing about in the ocean — albeit with full-length dresses on. But you know what has changed? The amusement park rides. They are terrifying. The medieval contraptions that these girls gleefully hop aboard make the Cyclone look like a kiddie coaster. We sincerely hope Miss Knapp’s Select School had their parents sign permission slips. … Read More

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Footnotes to ‘Bored to Death': Season 3, Episode 7

Although we enjoy Bored to Death’s hilarious story lines and overarching themes, we get at least as much pleasure out of its details — the literary references, the in-jokes, the real, New York City locations. So, this season, we’re publishing a weekly series of Bored to Death footnotes. Follow along with us after the jump as we go minute by minute through episode seven, shouting out places we recognize and explaining some of the show’s oddball allusions. Feel free to point out anything we may have missed in the comments. … Read More

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10 Unconventional Bookstores For Your Browsing Pleasure

This week, the Paris Review let us in on a little secret — an illegal, speakeasy-style bookstore right here in our fair city of New York. While we try to hunt down the exact coordinates in hopes of a good read (and a good story), we thought we’d tally a few of our favorite unconventional and unusual bookstores from around the world, whether they be aquatic, underground, holy or just plain strange looking. After all, even us indie-bookshop devotees could use a little extra weirdness in our lives, and in our novels. Click through to see our picks, and let us know if we’ve left your favorite unconventional bookstore off the list! … Read More

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Photo Gallery: Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2011

Yesterday afternoon, New York City-based mermaids young and old flipped their fins and flocked to Coney Island for the annual Mermaid Parade. The world’s largest art parade, now in its 28th year, always attracts everyone from avant-garde performance artists to post modern break dancers to little girls living out Ariel fantasies, and this year was no different — more than a thousand mermaids, pirates, sea monsters and other denizens of the deep celebrated the beginning of summer in muddy, sequined style. If any of you landlubbers missed the festivities, click through to see our gallery of photos from the day. All images courtesy of Aaron Colussi. … Read More

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Photo Gallery: 40 Years of Coney Island

With the temperatures in New York City set to break a 78-year-old record today, we can think of only one place we’d like to be: Coney Island — preferably with a frozen lemonade in one hand, and a Nathan’s hot dog in the other. Tonight our friends at the New York Public Library, who are evidently mind readers, are hosting an event with photographer Harvey Stein, whose newest book, Coney Island 40 Years, documents the changes in the iconic location over the past few decades in a collection of 214 stunning black/white duotone photographs.

Coney Island 40 Years is about Coney Island before it loses its connection with its past,” Stein explains. “Coney Island is the ultimate melting pot with the old, young, white, Hispanic, black, rich and poor. It’s the poor man’s Riviera, a place where you can be yourself or who you ought to be.” Click through to preview some of our favorites from the series, and find a selection of prints for sale here. … Read More

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Photo Gallery: Summers in the Soviet Version of Coney Island

Yelena Yemchuk’s black and white photos of Gidropark in Kiev, an island where she spent summers as a child, inhabit a strange temporal limbo. Looking at some of the images, you’d swear they were snapped back in the ’70s, when she was still a young girl, while others manage to feel very current. Regardless of what era they channel, the series as a whole — which could easily be mistaken for film stills — embodies the languid nature of summer in a way that is timeless. Click through for a selection of some of our favorite shots, and if you live in New York, head over to the Gitterman Gallery beginning on May 5th to check them out in person. … Read More

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