Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Some Coney Island for the Fourth

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If you're at all familiar with Coney Island's history, you've seen photos of Coney back in its heyday when it could draw 1.5 million people on July 4. If you're not inclined to hit Coney today for the famous Eating of the Hot Dogs at Nathan's (starts at noon, Kobayashi defending his title), we offer a few links to cool Coney sites, articles and photos. Like this recollection in the new Online Journal called An American Dreamland:
When I was just a boy my parents would take me to Coney Island for July 4th. This was 1947, a few years after WW II, when the Cyclone roller coaster roared down from the sky, the Wonder Wheel rose in the hot sun and later the great parachute jump spilled its screaming couples 220 feet down to a jolting halt, a few feet from the sprawling boardwalk, the planked wood stretching from the proletarian Brighton Beach to the elegant gated community of Sea Gate. All this life punctuated by disastrous fires and marvelous restoration, shedding its stars, like Durante, Mae West, Sophie Tucker, Eddie Cantor, into America.

Between them, Nathan’s hot dog stand grew on Surf Avenue to the mother of all fast food joints, with the greatest hot dogs, French fries, fresh fried seafood, roast beef and hot buttered corn you could imagine on working people’s wages, plus a July 4th hot dog eating contest. Is this America or is it just Brooklyn? Or are they one?
Well, it's the Fourth, so we won't produce an avalanche of words, just some links to photos below, and a link to the Coney Island Voices Oral History Project, which is way cool.

Cool Coney Photos:
What a Magical Place [coneyislandshortcakes]
Coney Island, July 2, 2006 Set [rsguskind's flickr set]
Coney Island Days flickr Pool [Coney Island Days]
28,963 Coney Photos on flickr [flickr]

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