Friday, June 27, 2008
Come One, Come All...
Coney Island’s History Project Preserves A Legend
While we’re busy having fun this season making memories to mark the summer, those who remember the past and chronicle the histories of our great parks are playing an equally important role. One such venture, the non-profit Coney Island History Project (CIHP), located at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York, is keeping the park’s incredible history alive with ride exhibits and oral history accounts from former employees and guests.
“If you have visited, lived in, or worked at Coney in the past and have a story to share, we’d love to do an in-person or phone interview for our Coney Island Voices Project,” says Tricia Vita, the program's administrative director. Anyone from ride operators and maintenance crews to locals and one-time riders are encouraged to share their memories for a well-rounded appreciation of the park’s history. Select interviews are currently posted on the project’s web site for visitors to enjoy. (Visitors are pictured below, right recording their experiences.)
Meanwhile, visitors to Coney Island this summer will find an added bonus at the project’s exhibition center, open free to the public and located under the classic "Cyclone" roller coaster (Fridays to Sundays, 1 – 6 p.m. through Labor Day). On display are historic artifacts from Coney’s colorful past, including vintage photos and films, a Steeplechase horse, and an exhibit on ride manufacturer William Mangels, complete with a Mangels Fairy Whip car, circa 1920.
The CIHP, founded in 2004, recently gave its web site a fresh look. It now features a searchable artifact database from the park, a link to photos from the project’s visitors and exhibits, and “Ask Mr. Coney Island,” where site visitors can inquire about the park’s past, present, and future.