A Coney Island Greeting on the Fourth of July

(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Cross-posted several places but the Daily Kos post could use some support.

This started out as a gray day in New York City. Instead of a view if the Palisades and an armada of small boats slowly making their way down river for the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks, my windows seemed like very large glasses of milk. it looked like a perfect day to enjoy a second viewing of John Adams on HBO and remembering what politics was once like in America.

Two years back I worked on the Fourth so I made a photo diary out of my lunch break. It was a celebration of the local farmers who also worked that day, The Lincoln Center Farmer’s Market on the Fourth of July. Ron Binaghi, a 6th generation farmer who really knows his product, explained the importance of being able to “Eat it raw.”

Last year on this date, I think it was about 98° and way too sunny. Because I was too busy enjoying the crowd and fun at the Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest, I did not write a Fourth of July diary. So on this day, as I enjoyed John Adams, I found some of those photos and put together a Coney Island view of the Fourth of July.    

I hope you are having a wonderful Fourth of July. Since I started writing the weather has cleared up some and I can smell Bar-B-Cue on my terrace. But I’m feeling lazy and stuck in John Adams mode. With the sun breaking through, some city dwellers will be enjoying the Fourth in a Johnnie Pump. And does anyone here remember Scully!

Living in the Bronx and with almost ever other driver out of town, half the fun of a Coney Island Hot Dog contest was getting there. National Parks are breathtaking but so is the view of and from the Brooklyn Bridge.

There are few pit stops as delicious as a break for a “Poor Man’s Malted.” Have you ever had an Egg Cream? No egg, no cream but agitation with a spoon as seltzer water, semi-frozen milk and some chocolate syrup is mixed. Mixed with those long salty pretzels, it just doesn’t get any better that a genuine New York City Egg Cream.

While I was in the neighborhood I took a look around.

Goodbye Presidents Street and Hello Coney Island.

At Coney Island the year round fun never stops and there always some great views to see.

The view of the people enjoying the surf on the 4th of July.

And last years turnout from the pier with the view of where Astroland once stood.

I was lucky enough to get out there before the final days of Astroland and posted a photo diary called Got a Happy Story? Coney Island Edition. That was back in 2008 and some might feel that now with a corporate amusement park, the homogenization of Coney island is complete.

The southern tip of Brooklyn might no longer be, as George Tilyou once said, “Coney Island, between June and September, is the world,” but New Yorkers are lucky that there is any amusement Park at all there. In that diary I met and thanked Dick Zigun, the self appointed Mayor of Coney Island and owner of the Freak Show.

Dick Zigun and others worked very hard as community activist to keep the amusements in Coney Island. His letter to the editors, Coney Island surf should remain working people’s turf, is now a classic.  

Some say it was the economic downturn that saved Coney Island from Bloomberg’s dream of high rise hotels, shopping malls and office buildings but I like to think that “people powered politics” played a part. So CHEERS for the little guy on the Fourth of July.

I think “Shoot the Freak” has survived. That’s harmless enough but you probably won’t see anything with the controversy of a “Waterbord Thrill Ride” anytime soon at the new Coney Island.  

Still amusements dodged the Bloomberg bullet at what was once the amusement center of the nation.  

The new amusement park is named after the once great Luna Park and two landmarks have survived. The Wonderwheel.

And the great Cyclone that Woody Allen did not live under in Annie Hall.

Another survivor that is still standing but no longer in use. Once the people who did not want to see the view from the Cyclone because of the steep hill that followed could take a nice gentle elevator to the top.

You can find the old Coney Island everywhere you look.

And you can’t say Coney Island without saying Nathan’s Famous. Those hot dogs really do taste better here. It must be the salt in the air.

Last year a police officer told me that 50,000 people attended the hot dog eating contest.

And who won? I don’t remember and don’t even know who won this year but it was fun to watch with so many people.

CHEERS to the people.

Had enough of my photos? If not you can always go visit The Lincoln Center Farmer’s Market on the Fourth of July and celebrate some of the Americans who are making a difference.

John Adams just ended. You gotta love a mini-series that ends with;

“My Dearest Friend,

Whether I stand high or low in the estimation of the world, my conscience is clear. I thank God I have you for a partner in all the joys and sorrows, all the prosperity and adversity of my life. To take a part with me in the struggle.”
–John Adams to Abigail Adams

“Should I draw you the picture of my heart, you would know with what indescribable pleasure I have seen so many scores of years roll over our heads, with an affection heightened and improved by time. Nor have the dreary years of absence in the smallest degree effaced from my mind the image of the dear, untitled man to whom I gave my heart. You could not be, nor did I wish to see you, an inactive spectator.” –Abigail Adams to John Adams

“Oh, posterity.You will never know how much it cost us to preserve your freedom. I hope that you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.” –John Adams

A parting shot.

Have a Happy.  


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    • Eddie C on July 4, 2011 at 23:38

    1. Locally grown food tastes better.

    Food grown in your own community is usually picked within the past day or two. It’s crisp, sweet, and loaded with flavor. Produce flown or trucked in is much older. Several studies have shown that the average distance food travels from farm to plate is 1,500 miles.

    2. Local produce is better for you.

    Fresh produce loses nutrients quickly. Locally grown food, purchased soon after harvest, retains its nutrients.

    3. Local food preserves genetic diversity.

    In the modern industrial agricultural system, varieties are chosen for their ability to ripen simultaneously and withstand harvesting equipment. Only a handful of varieties of fruits and vegetables meet those rigorous demands, so there is little genetic diversity in the plants grown. Local farms, in contrast, grow a huge number of varieties to provide a long season of harvest, an array of eye-catching colors, and the best flavors.

    4. Local food is GMO-free.

    Although biotechnology companies have been trying to commercialize genetically modified fruits and vegetables, they are currently licensing them only to large factory-style farms. Local farmers don’t have access to genetically modified seed, and most of them wouldn’t use it even if they could.

    5. Local food supports local farm families.

    With fewer than 1 million Americans now listing farming as their primary occupation, farmers are a vanishing breed. Local farmers who sell direct to consumers cut out the middle man and get full retail price for their crops.

    6. Local food builds a stronger community.

    When you buy direct from the farmer, you are re-establishing a time-honored connection between the eater and the grower.

    7. Local food preserves open space.

    As the value of direct-marketed fruits and vegetables increases, selling farmland for development becomes less likely. The rural landscape will survive only as long as farms are financially viable.

    8. Local food helps to keep your taxes in check.

    Farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas suburban development costs more than it generates in taxes.

    9. Local food supports a clean environment and benefits wildlife.

    A well-managed family farm is a place where the resources of fertile soil and clean water are valued. Good stewards of the land grow cover crops to prevent erosion and replace nutrients used by their crops. Cover crops also capture carbon emissions and help combat global warming.

    10. Local food is about the future.

    By supporting local farmers today, you can help ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow, so that future generations will have access to nourishing, flavorful, and abundant food.

    Source: Green Right Now

    • TMC on July 5, 2011 at 01:01

    on Staten Island. Back in the 50’s the Farmer’s Market, in what is now New Springville where the SI Mall stands, was the place to go on weekends from Friday afternoon through Sunday. It was surrounded by farms, a small airport, a drive-in theater and golf and archery ranges, not to mention woods.

    The small markets in the parking lots of large mall on Saturday mornings pale in comparison but better than nothing

    • Eddie C on July 5, 2011 at 04:41

    • mplo on July 5, 2011 at 22:35

    Thanks for a great diary, which brings back some old memories.   Until the ear 1959, my grandparents lived in Brooklyn, on Prospect Park West, right across from Prospect Park.  Since it was only a 4 or 5 hour drive down their from where we lived, my family and I used to drive down to Brookyn to visit my grandparents, and they’d frequently drive up to visit us.  My grandfather owned a store, with all kinds of neat stuff, and often enough, they’d bring  my sister and I neat gifts.  (My brother and I hadn’t yet come into the world).  

    One of my cousins also lived in Brooklyn, and we’d often see each other,  and go to Coney Island, from the minute it opened, until it closed up at night.  The boardwalk, the hotdogs,  the rides…they were so much fun, and so was sunning and swimming at Jones Beach or Brighton Beach, where there was a great surf.  This was in the mid to late 1950’s, when my sister and I were young pre-teens.  

    By the mid to late 1960’s, with the advent of the hippie movement and the all-too-common availability of illicit drugs, including hard drugs, such as heroin,  however, Coney Island had developed sort of a “nobody nice goes there any more” kind of reputation,  and it began to go to seed.  However, as all areas do, it experienced a going-down period, followed by an up-and-coming period, which Coney Island has experienced right now.  Ahhh. Coney Island!  I sort of miss those days!

    • mplo on July 5, 2011 at 22:38

    (My brother and I hadn’t yet come into the world).  

    I mean to say that my brother hadn’t yet come into the world.

    Sorry about that.

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