After being closed for a year and a half due to Hurricane Sandy-related renovations, the world-famous, sideshow-hosting, awesome-stuff-having Coney Island Museum will re-open May 26, just in time for Memorial Day. We’re so excited we may show up dressed as a topless mermaid.
Coney Island was hit especially hard by Sandy; in April of last year, the area’s unofficial mayor, Dick Zigun, who runs the museum and heads Coney Island USA, the non-profit behind it, told the Daily News the museum had suffered “major damage” to the museum, its props and inventory.
The museum had initially planned to re-open April 5; but in a press release issued last week, Coney Island USA said the new date would be May 26. Thanks to $1 million from the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, the building has finally installed an HVAC system, as well as fire alarms, sprinklers, and restored the terra cotta tile roof parapet along the building’s exterior.
Besides featuring “highlights” from the museum’s permanent collection, the new exhibits will include a 3-D Printed scale model of Luna Park, the legendary and gorgeous amusement park that stood at Coney Island from 1903 to 1944. The model is by Fred Kahl, a.k.a the Great Fredini, the guy who runs the Scan-A-Rama 3D Portrait Studio, where you can get a scale model made of you, your loved ones, or, we imagine, a topless mermaid. Fredini recently previewed some of the model on his website; here’s a look at the boardwalk . The Coney Island Museum is also featuring a installation by artist Africasso, related to life in the west end of Coney Island, where the boardwalk ends and the housing for the poor and mentally ill begins. You can glimpse some of Africasso’s work in this amazing photo essay.
If that weren’t enough reason for you to get on the Q train and ride it all the way to the end, the amusement park at Coney Island’s opening day is Sunday, April 13 (a.k.a. Palm Sunday). The Cyclone roller coaster is free for the first 100 riders and $6 the rest of the day.
Just ignore the hideous Applebee’s and It’s Sugar monstrosities that have sprung up along Surf Avenue and you’ll be all set. We’ll see you at the freakshow.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 8, 2014