Celebrating the “Soul of Coney Island” through the arts

The spirit of Coney Island was in full swing, late last month, as area residents gathered at the Coney Island Library for a concert sponsored by the Brooklyn Streetcar Artists’ Group (BSAG) and Coney Island Youth Alive (CIYA).

The September 26 event at the Mermaid Avenue library was dedicated “to those who live and work in this vibrant community,” according to a flyer distributed prior to the event.

“We deal with visual artists, so when we have the opportunity to do a concert and bring the sound equipment down from the studio for a live audience, we do performances when we can,” explained BSAG Executive Director Arthur Melnick.

Melnick stressed that one of the goals of this concert was to “show off Coney Island in the best light,” noting, “The Coney Island area has its problems, but I know better, It is a tight knit, unique community.” Melnick described Coney Island as a “world within a world, a small town where everyone knows each other.”


The concert had quite a turnout. Melnick recalls, “By the time the second act came on, we had a full house,” he told this paper.

A total of eight acts performed that Saturday, including six members of the community. Sheila Smalls,the executive director of CIYA, “served as MC for the event, performed, and brought in most of the C.I. talent,” explained Melnick. In addition, upcoming rapper Mike Porter was very helpful in the production of the event, including promotion in the community.

Although the audience “loved them all,” Melnick described Margaret Williams as the concert’s most prominent act. Williams was part of the Cookies, an American R&B girl group that performed in the 1950s and 1960s. The other scheduled performers were Adrenaline Rush, Eureka, LaRose Jackson, Lost in the Stacks, Krysten Montanez, Santos & the Romantic 4 and Anthony True.

Even though the concert is over, those who missed it can still enjoy it, according to Melnick, who said that video of the concert will shortly be available to view on the BRIC network and YouTube.

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