[I’m counting down to the release of the Brooklyn Spaces book by doing one mini-post per day, sharing teasers of some of the places you’ll find in it.]
Dick Zigun, the unofficial Mayor of Coney Island since 1984, has built an incredible legacy of promotion and preservation for his beloved neighborhood. In addition to founding the annual Mermaid Parade in 1983—which has grown to be the largest art parade in the country, with close to 800k people attending in 2014—he cofounded the nonprofit multi-arts organization Coney Island USA, which is responsible for running a vast array of programming, including the Coney Island Museum, the Coney Island Circus Sideshow, Burlesque at the Beach and the School of Burlesque, the Coney Island Film Society, the annual Congress of Curious Peoples, the Coney Island Tattoo and Motorcycles Convention, the interactive Halloween play Creepshow at the Freakshow, and on and on.
Housed in the historic 1917 building that once held the first of Coney’s two Childs Restaurants, the museum is as historically rich and valuable as its home. Dick fought successfully for the building to receive National Landmark status in 2010, and the museum features a wonderful array of Coney history, including funhouse mirrors (great for selfies!), old bumper cars, and a scale model of the original 1903 Luna Park.
Want to learn more about the Coney Island Museum, and 49 other incredible Brooklyn Spaces? Buy the book!