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The Coney Island History Project's Free Public Exhibition Center Opens for the 2022 Season on Memorial Day Weekend

Visitors can view historic artifacts, photographs, maps, ephemera and films of Coney Island's colorful past.

The Coney Island History Project's Free Public Exhibition Center Opens for the 2022 Season on Memorial Day Weekend

The Coney Island History Project's exhibition center opens for the 2022 season on Saturday, May 28th, of Memorial Day Weekend. Since the History Project's inception in 2004 with a portable recording booth on the Boardwalk and the inaugural season of our exhibition center in 2007, they hav offered "Free Admission for One and All!" The exhibition center is open free of charge on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays (1:00PM-7:00PM) from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day. We're located at 3059 West 12th Street, adjacent to the West 12th Street entrance to Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, just a few steps off the Boardwalk.

Visitors can view historic artifacts, photographs, maps, ephemera and films of Coney Island's colorful past. They're invited to take free souvenir photos with "Cy," the mesmerizing Spook-A-Rama Cyclops, and Coney Island's only original Steeplechase horse from the legendary ride that gave Steeplechase Park its name. Our rarest treasure on display is Coney Island's oldest surviving artifact from the dawn of the "World's Playground." The 1823 Toll House sign in our collection dates back to the days when the toll for a horse and rider to "the Island" was 5 cents! Visitors can also share and preserve their Coney Island memories by recording an oral history for our multilingual archive, which has over 400 interviews available for online listening.

The Coney Island History Project's special exhibition for the 2022 season is "Barbara Rosenberg: Coney Island Street Photography, 1964-2010," on view from May 28 through September 5, 2022. Barbara Rosenberg (1938-2016) was born and raised in New York City, where she lived her entire life. She was the consummate New Yorker, a social worker who dedicated her life to street photography here, and around the world. Barbara began taking photos as a kid and always had a camera with her. "I was drawn to photography after seeing the photographic images of the French photographers Doisneau, Brassaï, and Cartier-Bresson," she said, "New York City became my canvas, the streets and Coney Island especially, supplied me with an unending source of images."

She used her camera to express her passion for culture, history, and the human condition. A 2011 article in American Photo Magazine described her approach as "unobtrusive, aesthetically artful, and quietly humorous." Working out of a darkroom in her apartment, she developed negatives, made prints, cut mats and made frames, ultimately spending more than a decade selling her work from a stall on Columbus Avenue. "I would sell to people who just fell in love with my work," she said of her years running a booth.

Barbara documented Coney Island for fifty years and when she died in 2016 she left her photographic work to the Coney Island History Project. We remember her with a selection of her work covering Steeplechase Park, the Polar Bear Club, and Boardwalk attractions from the 1970s. "I am always an observer," she said, "the small gesture, the quiet mostly unobserved moments became my subject matter."

For additional information and photos, please e-mail events@coneyislandhistory.org.



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