Curious Brooklynites and history buffs alike were invited to join the Coney Island History Project’s sixth annual History Day Celebration at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park on Sunday, August 7. The free event featured the 2016 Coney Island Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Dreamland Plaza Stage (West 12th Street at the Boardwalk). Visitors were also able to enjoy banners and kiosks that celebrate Coney Island history, as well as a poetry-making station led by poet Amanda Deutch.
Among the honorees was a group dubbed “the Wizards of Eighth Street.”
“Few people realize that for nearly a century Coney Island’s West Eighth Street, between Surf Avenue and Neptune Avenue, served as the amusement manufacturing capital of the world,” said Charles Denson, historian and director of the Coney Island History Project. “This small stretch of West Eighth Street was home to the Illinois Carousel Factory, the Mangels amusement factory, and Pinto Brothers Amusement Factory as well as the Bonomo candy factory.”
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony was attended by descendants of some of the prominent families who lived or worked on West Eighth Street, such as the Bonsignores, the Kargmans, the Mangels family, the Reas, the Pelusos and the Pintos.
Also honored were Gargiulo’s Restaurant, as well as the Wonder Wheel, which dates from 1920, and the Riegelmann Boardwalk, from 1923. In addition, a plaque was unveiled to mark the contributions of Carol Hill Albert, of Astroland, and the late Jerome Albert, who founded the Coney Island History Project and the Hall of Fame.
Visitors were also able to enjoy retro music courtesy of DJ Dan Kingman, as well as free balloons and saltwater taffy given out by roaming stilt walkers. Attendees even had a chance to be a part of the history themselves, by recording an interview for the Coney Island History Project’s Oral History Archive and viewing historic artifacts.
For more information on upcoming Coney Island events or on Coney Island’s history visit www.coneyislandhistory.org.