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Arts & Entertainment

Coney rings in 2015 with first annual New Year’s Celebration

Brooklyn gave Time Square some competition this year, as partygoers had a new destination to ring in 2015. The Coney Island Boardwalk held its first annual New Year’s Eve Celebration, sponsored by Borough President Eric Adams. Despite the frigid temperatures near the beach, plenty of attendees showed up to party the night away with live music, giveaways, dancing and various performances in the shadow of the Parachute Jump, where a digital ball drop was planned as part of an 8,000-LED light show.

Councilmember Mark Treyger, who was in attendance, was thrilled with both the turnout and festive atmosphere locals and tourists provided on the first night of its kind at Coney.

“It really was a one of the most memorable experience I’ve had at Southern Brooklyn. It was a magical and special evening in our community,” he said.

Treyger stated that the evening exceeded everyone’s expectations. “There were people questioning what kind of turnout we would have,” noted Treyger. “Some people said a few hundred would show up. But the attendance was probably in the thousands.”

“We were extremely pleased with the number of people that turned out. It was a family friendly environment,” added Adams. “I believe it has great potential and we want to make Coney a year-round destination and this was one way of doing that. We had little or no incidents at all. Everyone got along great.”

The festivities began at 9 p.m. Performances included LaRose Jackson, Amos Wengler and, in the spirit of Coney Island, freak show artists. “Talk about only in Coney Island,” Treyger said. “The freak show performances were great, tricks and stunts fire, other acts. It was so Coney Island-esque. You can only see these events here.”

Dick Zigun, the founder and artistic director of Coney Island USA was also proud to see the plans come to fruition. “New Year’s Eve in Coney Island was a big success. It was first time trying to launch a major annual mass celebration,” he said, stating an estimated 5,000 people turned out. “The never-before-used Steeplechase Plaza had the right feel, the right capacity and placement right under the National Landmark Parachute Jump, plus a fire spitter, freaks and fireworks fulfilled the right big event programming.

Although Time Square received national attention, Brooklyn has quickly become a popular alternative, according to Treyger. “It’s an example that they don’t need only the Manhattan skyline to validate or celebrate great New York events,” he stressed. “There are other options.”

After a first successful event, the future looks bright for Coney’s end-of-year celebration. “Moving forward, we will have more time to plan. There will be a lot more planning with organizations to plan out a day’s worth of activities and make it even bigger,” Treyger said. “The Parachute Jump is like the Brooklyn’s Eiffel Tower. It was a special evening.”

“It was a huge success for the concept to be improved on next year and for decades to come,” added Zigun.

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