Sunday, November 12, 2006

Interesting Dick Zigun Comments About Coney

Thanks to Kinetic Carnival's excellent Coney Island coverage and the Coney Island Message Board, we found a fascinating Q&A with Coney Island USA Artistic Director Dick Zigun in NYFA Interactive. Mr. Zigun has been doing his thing in Coney since 1981. Mr. Zigun is both considered the unofficial "Mayor" of Coney Island, he is now a board member of the Coney Island Development Corp. and a voice for preserving Coney Island's history as an amusement center and for protecting the handful of historic buildings that remain. He has also secured a new home for his Coney Island Museum. In other words, Mr. Zigun has been around so long and established himself as such a presence in Coney Island that he is now an insider.

The Q&A is worth a top-to-bottom read as is Kinetic Carnival's item on it and Kinetic Carnival itself. We will simply copy and paste a small part of the interview:
Real estate in Coney Island has taken off over the last few years, tripled in price. Half the property has changed hands. And I’ve got a big smile on my face because the New York City leadership has put money in the city budget for us to buy real estate so we can go from being renters to being owners. We’re deliberately expanding our board, expanding our staff. We’re doubling the size of our budget. There is a plan to institutionalize the programs, so that the things I and other people have set in motion will outlive us. It’s satisfying to know that despite the neighborhood changes and the demographic changes we will really create something here to perpetuate certain art forms. New York is the cultural capital of the world, and if you are going to seriously make a national statement about American popular culture, Coney Island oddly enough turned out to be a smart place to base it. It works here, it belongs here, the history is here.
The rebuilding plans are yet to be seen--and we are deeply alarmed to the extent they will feature boardwalk highrises and luxury housing at the expense of Coney Island's history as a beachfront amusement center--but we take some comfort in knowing the Coney Museum will have a secure place in its future.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dick Zigun runs and founded Coney Island USA a not for profit arts organization. His main claim to fame is the Coney Island Circus Sideshow and Mermaid Parade. Your article does a diservice by giving the impression that his main stake is a 99 cent museum. Dick Zigun is the reason that Coney Island is still around. Thank god that the city has rewarded him and his outstanding group of hard workers. As a new form media you owe your public the ability to research what you write about. One can only imagine that you are not originally from Brooklyn and if you are DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

9:29 PM  

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