The Coney Island community gathered together to celebrate the revitalized waterfront nabe during the fifth annual Coney Island gala, billed as “the largest networking event held annually in the Coney Island community.”
The event, organized by the Alliance for Coney Island, took place on the evening of April 20 at Gargiulo’s Restaurant, 2911 West 15 Street.
This year’s celebration was a 1970s disco-themed party, with a silent auction and raffle with prizes including posters, tickets and autographs, and the guest list included representation from such organizations as Pepsi, Coca-Cola, iStar and HeartShare. Also in attendance were local leaders and elected officials, adding up to a total of approximately 375 guests, according to organizer Cindy Golda.
One of the stars of the evening was a painted Cyclone cart set up at the venue for the attendees to sit in, a tribute to the Cyclone’s 90th birthday that made for a fun photo op.
Golda, in her second year organizing the gala, said the theme was meant to pay homage to the 40th anniversary of “Saturday Night Fever.” Memorable costumes included those sported by attendees from the New York Aquarium, and one that featured a man doing an impression of John Travolta. One woman wore frilly bell bottoms and an Afro, reminiscent of the time, and also a standout in the crowd.
Speaker of Honor Valerio Ferrari, the president of Central Amusement International, which operates Luna Park, attended alongside two guests of honor, Deputy Inspector William Taylor, commanding officer of the 60th Precinct, followed by former Cyclone Operations Manager Gerry Menditto. In itself, the gala is “the main fundraising event for the Alliance.”
The event raises funds to “support free public programming, workforce development, and quality of life initiatives that help drive tourism and economic activity, and further promote the transformation of Coney Island into a year-round recreational oceanfront entertainment destination,” according to the organization’s mission statement.