11/19/15 10:26am
Harvey Stein (American, born 1941). The Hug: Closed Eyes and Smile, 1982. Digital, inkjet archival print, 13 x 19 in. (33 x 48.3 cm). Collection of the artist. © Harvey Stein, 2011

Harvey Stein (American, born 1941). The Hug: Closed Eyes and Smile, 1982. Digital, inkjet archival print, 13 x 19 in. (33 x 48.3 cm). Collection of the artist. © Harvey Stein, 2011

This summer we wrote about Coney Island’s outlandish charm and epic history, the crinkle-cut fries and family-run confectionary businesses. Maybe you visited and let its authentic weirdness wash over you. Today, Coney Island is back on our radar thanks to Coney Island: Visions Of An American Dreamland, 1861-2008, which opens Friday, Nov. 20 at the Brooklyn Museum. Conceptualized and organized by Robin Jaffe Frank, Chief Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Connecticut, the exhibit, while humble in its execution, is groundbreaking in its approach. Frank’s original look at a small corner of the world, a seaside neighborhood in Brooklyn, reveals a mecca of the American spirit, a study of mass culture, and a metaphor for the past 150 years of U.S. history. (more…)

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10/07/15 12:00pm

luna-park-halloween-festival-coney-island-amusement

Sponsored By Luna Park.

Luna Park, in iconic Coney Island is the best place in NYC for mild, moderate, and extreme thrills!

Created By BlankSlate

Labor Day is behind us and everyone in the office is drinking pumpkin spice lattes. We’re refusing to put away our summer clothes until we absolutely have to—but we’re also starting to get excited about the impending fall chill.

For those of us ready to celebrate fall the way it’s meant to be celebrated, Luna Park’s Halloween Harvest festival happens every weekend until November 1. The family-friendly festival features face painting, pumpkin picking, magic shows, balloon artists, and more.

This year, Halloween Harvest is bigger and better then ever. Luna Park has expanded the fun into the Scream Zone section of the park where guests can pick and paint a pumpkin at Grandmas Hay Maze and Pumpkin Patch, which is just steps away from the newest addition to the fall fun, Kooky Spooky Karaoke.
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09/08/15 1:17pm

Luna-Park

Sponsored By Luna Park.

Luna Park, in iconic Coney Island is the best place in NYC for mild, moderate, and extreme thrills!

Created By BlankSlate

Still working on your summer bucket list? Forget about everything else and go to Coney Island. The seaside resort overlooking the Atlantic Ocean has been New York City’s playground since the 1880s. Its iconic wooden boardwalk, built in 1923, affords some of the best people-watching in Brooklyn and is home to the original Nathan’s Famous, (which began as a nickel hot dog stand in 1916).

For the true Coney Island experience, though, you need to check out Luna Park, the storied amusement park that still operates the 88-year-old Coney Island Cyclone rollercoaster. Sixty-six years after the original park burned to the ground, Luna Park returned to the Coney Island Boardwalk in 2010, and quickly became a favorite for New York City families and anyone who’s a kid at heart.

This summer, the park is celebrating its 5th anniversary by adding five new rides to their already impressive collection. Four of them are already up and running: the kid-friendly Brooklyn Barge, the spin-filled Power SurgeSeaside Swing, and WindstarZ which allows riders to control the movement of their ride experience! The much-anticipated Endeavor will be unveiled in coming weeks.

On a sweltering Thursday, I decided to hop on the Q train to test-ride Luna Park’s attractions for myself. Here’s what to expect!
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08/06/15 11:23am
Yes, Coney Island is worth a visit. Photo: © 2015 Regina Mogilevskaya

Yes, Coney Island is worth a visit. Photo: © 2015 Regina Mogilevskaya

Whether you’re headed to a barbecue, a(nother) wedding, to the beach or out of town, you’re going need something to talk about this weekend, even if you feel like a brain dead summer zombie. Here are 10 stories we’ve been buzzing about, with a few suggestions for summer fun thrown into the mix. Put your sense of humor hat on and enjoy.

1. Yeah, yeah, yeah, the Rockaways are a cool, beachy enclave you wouldn’t expect in New York City. But Coney Island is easier to get to, and it’s a weird New York original that reminds you that’s there plenty of originality left in this place, even amidst the bespoke cotton candy and kale popsicles.

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Floatation–just another city survival tactic. Photo: Tom Mylan

2. We floated in a sensory deprivation chamber in Carroll Gardens for an hour and boy was it trippy. And also relaxing.

3. Jon Stewart signs off the Daily Show for good this evening. This highlight reel from The New York Times will make you even more nostalgic about the end of an era. Slate has its own roundup. Entertainment Weekly interviewed Stephen Colbert about Stewart’s legacy (Stewart is not speaking to the media until after the last show). Bill O’Reilly added his two cents. And someone even interviewed his college soccer coach because…well, it’s an angle anyway. Goodnight, sweet prince. We’ll miss you so. (more…)

07/16/15 11:52am
The new Smorgasburg outpost at Coney Island means there is now food beyond Nathan's and cheese fries to choose from, plus two outdoor bars.  Photo: © 2015 Regina Mogilevskaya

The new Smorgasburg outpost at Coney Island means there is now food beyond Nathan’s and cheese fries to choose from, plus two outdoor bars. Photo: © 2015 Regina Mogilevskaya

The Mermaid Parade has come and gone, and July 4, with its flourish of fireworks and hot dog gluttony has passed. So does that mean you should cross Coney Island off your summer bucket list? Not in the least–a new Smorgasburg outpost, an exhibit of two dozen street artists and other signs of renewal are all reasons to take the train to the Stillwell Ave. stop before the warm weather disappears.

Perhaps more than any other Brooklyn neighborhood, from the time of its discovery to its current state, Coney Island has donned an almost impossible number of faces. Its time as a remote, serene island, inhabited first by the Lenape Indians and then the Dutch in the early 17th century, was short-lived, as its unique proximity to both the city and the ocean predestined the area to become the “People’s Playground.”

Its golden age, when Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park bestowed a futuristic, dream-like quality upon the place, like an illustrious Epcot Center of the early 1900’s, was equally brief. (For a primer on Coney Island’s wonder years, check out this detailed history.)

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07/02/15 10:49am
Ride the Wonder Wheel, eat a hot dog and catch a movie, all at Coney Island. Photo: NYEDC

Ride the Wonder Wheel, eat a hot dog and catch a movie, all at Coney Island. Photo: NYEDC

One of the best parts of a summer spent in Brooklyn is the opportunity to while away a hot weeknight watching a classic movie on a big screen under the stars. Whether it’s an ‘80s comedy or a French art film, projected against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline or within the summer camp-like atmosphere at McCarren Park, there’s something about lying on a blanket in the grass and watching a movie on a balmy night that will make you completely forget where you are. It’s the ultimate escape without actually going anywhere, for the price of a crappy bottle of wine, some snacks and maybe subway fare. And, for yet another year, it’s an option that’s available to you nearly every night of the week for all of July and August.

Now, back by popular demand (seriously, people actually emailed, which was awesome), our complete calendar of free outdoor movies in Brooklyn is here. Flip through and take note of the flicks you’re dying to see, and you can import them to your own GCal one-by-one or en masse. Line up a few friends and send some invites, and you’re already well on your way to a perfect summer evening.

Here’s a quick roundup of the different places you can catch an outdoor show sometime between now and this fall. Remember that all movies start at sundown, but you should plan to arrive earlier if you want good seats.

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12/04/14 9:18am

Earlier this year we partnered with UncommonGoods to launch the Brooklyn Flag Project. We challenged design-minded folks from all over the borough to create a flag reflecting their neighborhood, with the promise that the top three would be produced for sale by UncommonGoods. Along with former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Tina Roth Eisenberg–the graphic designer known as @SwissMiss, and UncommonGoods founder David Bolotsky, we helped winnow down a fantastic field of entries to eight finalists.

UncommonGoods awarded cash prizes to the top three winners, but decided not to produce the flags for sale after all–they told us that they had hoped to see flags from a wider variety of neighborhoods, though we thought the entries from East New York, Bay Ridge, Flatbush, Coney Island and Ditmas Park nicely rounded out the multiple flags designed for Greenpoint and Fort Greene–locales that lots of graphic designers call home. Even if you can’t buy one of these to hang from your fire escape, we think it’s worth taking a peek at the winners. And, as a bonus, we’ve added in our favorite entry that didn’t win (we’re suckers for a squirrel).

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09/18/14 4:00pm

Jimmy Bologna, a longtime employee, incredulously recounts Nathan Handwerker’s complicated, bizarre, and frequent taste testing of “naked” hot dogs.

 Famous Nathan, a recent documentary by Lloyd Handwerker explores the history of a very special restaurant: a little family-owned hot dog joint on the Coney Island boardwalk. Founded in 1916 by a hardworking Jewish immigrant named Nathan Handwerker (the director’s grandfather) Nathan’s Famous was a neighborhood hub throughout much of the twentieth century, flourishing even during the Depression.

Famous Nathan, which will screen Saturday, Sept. 20 at the Coney Island Film Festival, is essentially a very well-produced home video about an interesting Brooklyn family. But with that in mind, there are some truly wonderful and insightful interviews with former employees, friends and family. Though the interviews are, ultimately, about hot dogs, what emerges is a surprisingly intimate and charming narrative, with many scene-stealing characters and Coney Island legends. (more…)

07/14/14 12:30pm

Sponsored By New York Aquarium.

The New York Aquarium is building a world-class shark exhibit set to open in 2016.

Created By BlankSlate

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that New York is a city of islands. It has 520 miles of coastline — more than Miami, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco combined. Brooklyn alone, projecting outward from the Southwestern corner of Long Island, is mostly surrounded by water: the East River, the Upper and Lower New York Bay, Jamaica Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Three things you might know about the waters surrounding Brooklyn:

1. The waters around Brooklyn are rich with marine life. In fact, they were once, like, buy-a-brownstone rich, with 12-inch oysters and six-foot lobsters.

2. Back when explorers like Giovanni da Verrazzano and Henry Hudson (of bridge and river fame, respectively) sailed into New York Harbor, sturgeon were so abundant that the fish were considered hazardous to boat passage.

3. Today, despite decades of unchecked use, the New York seascape still hosts everything from whales, to seals, to more than 338 species of fish.

Most New Yorkers don’t even think about this rich marine life living just off their shores. The New York Aquarium is trying to change that, helping residents and visitors understand these vital waters, and protecting them from growing threats, including expanded shipping, dredging, overfishing, and energy development.

Back on its feet (or flippers) after Hurricane Sandy, the aquarium is also working on transforming itself for the future, and you can be a part of itCheck out the plans, which include a thrilling new exhibit, Ocean Wonders: Sharks! You don’t have to be buy-a-brownstone rich to lend a hand. Donate today.

07/07/14 12:00pm

Sponsored By New York Aquarium.

The New York Aquarium is building a world-class shark exhibit set to open in 2016.

Created By BlankSlate

Every day, we hear about all the cool stuff Brooklyn has to offer. You know what it doesn’t have enough of, though? Sharks.

Fortunately, there’s something we Brooklynites can do to rectify this situation. By donating to the ongoing renovation of the New York Aquarium, you will be helping to bring to Brooklyn a massive shark exhibit called Ocean Wonders: Sharks! The plans for the exhibit call for a jaw-dropping, 500,000-gallon tank that will allow visitors to watch several species of sharks and rays. How cool is that?

The transformation of the aquarium won’t be confined to the interior. Outside, a gorgeous, ocean-inspired art installation will wrap the building in a “shimmer wall” made up of tens of thousands of reflective tiles that ripple with the wind like waves on the sea.

You can help make this vision a reality by donating a personalized tile on the virtual version of the shimmer wall on the New York Aquarium website. With your donation, you will be joining your Brooklyn neighbors in helping to bring the aquarium to the next level. More importantly, you will be doing your part to bring sharks to Brooklyn — finally.