Arts & Entertainment
Must-See Arts & Culture
by nycgo.com staff, 11/25/2015
"The Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth" (1898) at Coney Island: Visions Of An American Dreamland, 1861–2008. Courtesy, Brooklyn Museum
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Home to the legendary Cyclone, Luna Park amusement park and the original Nathan's Famous, Coney Island has been a destination for fun, sun and its own brand of off-kilter entertainment for more than a century. This winter, three exhibitions highlight the history and role of Coney Island as part of the larger cultural landscape of New York City. View them for some summertime inspiration.
Boardwalk Renaissance: How the Arts Saved Coney Island at City Lore Gallery focuses on the beginnings of Coney Island's rebirth in the 1980s. The movement—spurred in part by artists Robert Indiana and Richard Eagan and playwright Dick Zigun—aimed to return Coney Island to its pre-1964 "honky tonk" self (that's when Steeplechase Park closed) through art, sideshow acts and burlesque shows. This exhibition features installations, photos, rides and artwork from that time, including video footage from the first Mermaid Parade in 1983.
Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861-2008, on view at the Brooklyn Museum, covers the area's post–Civil War beginnings as a tourist destination through its amusement park heyday in the first part of the 20th century right up to its modern-day comeback. Check out paintings, drawings, photographs, carousel animals and other ephemera from the amusement park's history. The exhibition will be complemented by Forever Coney, a separate display of 42 photographs from the museum's collection, and Stephen Powers: Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To a Seagull), an installation inspired by Coney Island's colorful signage.
Sodom by the Sea is on display in the actual neighborhood—at the Coney Island USA Arts Annex's Shooting Gallery—and features oil paintings, watercolors and photographs that celebrate the seaside playground.