aastar.gif (7836 bytes)

Northstar Gallery

The Poetry of Coney Island

barh.jpg (1453 bytes)

Blue Couple - Coney Island

Coney Island Couple in blue

barh.jpg (1453 bytes)

Original Paintings in Oil

Beneath the parching sun of an August day, we stand on the sand. In meaningful interracial association, we are packed like sardines, seeking a spot for relaxation away from the City's hot concrete and brick abodes. We stand on tippy toe to see the water.

Now, in our attire, we are almost naked mannequins with long hair. We meet with yesterday's ghosts in bloomers, little rubber caps with chin straps, who rode the underground subway after dropping a nickel into the rotary turnstile; inside their pocket a nickel for a Nathan hot dog.

This beach is an art gallery, presenting original paintings in oil on the tan sand, We dance to tugboat music. We stand on tippy toe to see the water.

Betty K. Wray

 

Coney Island Dark Ride

Demons of Delirium

"The brazen voice of the island begins to beat upon the ear of drums like the pulse of fever, the leaping horses and the flying cars are metamorphosed into the agile demons of delirium, and through the doorways of endless concert halls and drinking places one gets glimpses of faces that follow and haunt like the unspeakable phantoms of a dream"

Guy Wetmore Carryl,

"Marvelous Coney Island." Munsey's Magazine V.25, No 5 (September 1901)

 

Coney Island Couple

 

 

 

"Perhaps Coney Island is the most human thing that God ever made, or permitted the Devil to make."

Richard LeGalliene

"Human Need of Coney Island, " The Cosmopolitan, V.39 No3 (July 1905)

 

Coney Island Beach

 

The American Jordan

"When you bathe in Coney, you bathe in the American Jordan. It is holy water. Nowhere else in the United States will you see so many races mingle in a common purpose for a common good. Democracy meets here and has its first interview, skin to skin. Here you find the real interpretation of the Declaration of Independence: the most good for the greatest numbers. Tolerance, Freedom"

From the PBS Video "Coney Island"

Coney Island Carousel

Sha-Boom

"The Steeplechase was my thing. Everything was based on having a good time, on innocent sex. There was all that touching, hugging, head.jpg (15230 bytes)falling down, bumping into each other, air ducts everywhere. Many stupid jokes and music blared over loudspeakers: "Bye Bye Love" or 'Sha-Boom By Ay, Ya-Da-Da- Da-Da-Da' ... the art direction was great. It was such a beautifully designed place; blazing  hot carnival colors, art deco motifs, the logo of the smiling man with all the teeth, the gorgeous imported merry- go-round. Coney didn't have the technology of a Disneyland, but it had an innocence that was so appealing."

Bill Feigenbaum 1956

 

 

Human Pool Table

"We evolved the Human Roulette Wheel, a whirling concave disc of polished wood, a melting pot in which the ingredients were laughter, exhibitionism, and sex. Another addition was the Human Pool Table, a set of flat spinning discs. When a girl came whirling down the polished side, she came to rest on a disc, was then flung to a second, her skirts flying, her squeals rising to the roof, her friends doubled up with laughter."

Peter Lyon

Master Showman of Coney Island American Heritage (1961)

 

 

Coney Island Bather

The Voice of Coney

"Oh, the voice of Coney Island, as, alighting from the trolley. You find her, and remind her that your deed should be excused! With what bombilation jolly she replies to this, your folly! She reckons you, then beckons you! Your suit is not refused! She's a siren that a Byron might have lavished all his fire on. She's a sorceress that spells you, that attracts you, that repels you. And, ah, me! What things she tells you when you want to be amused!"

 

Coney Island Boardwalk

The Palace of Illusion

"America has built for herself a Palace of Illusion, and filled it with every species of talented attractive monster, every misbegotten fancy of frenzied nerves, every fantastic marvel of the moonstruck brain - and she has called it Coney Island."

Richard Le Galliene, "Human Need of Coney Island." The Cosmopolitan, V.39 No. 3 (July 1905)

 

 

 

Coney Island Couple in silver

"Coney Island is one of the most gloriously seedy and wishful places on earth, washed by the sea, by the memory of something lost, and by an irresistible optimism about the future,"

Ric Burns,

Producer of "Coney Island." as quoted in The New York Times

 

Coney Island Friends

Bathing at Coney Island

There are various ways of bathing at Coney Island. You can go in at the West End, where they give you a tumble-down closet like a sentry box stuck up in the sand, or at the great hotels where more or less approach to genuine comfort is afforded. The pier, too, is fitted up with extensive bathing houses, and altogether no one who wants a dip in the briny and has a quarter to pay for it need to go without it.

If a man is troubled with illusions concerning the female form divine and wishes to be rid of those illusions he should go to Coney Island and closely watch the thousands of women who bathe there every Sunday.

A woman, or at least most women, in bathing undergoes a transformation that is really wonderful. They waltz into the bathing-rooms clad in all the paraphernalia that most gladdens the feminine heart. The hair is gracefully dressed, and appears most abundant; the face is decorated with all that elaborate detail which defies description by one uninitiated in the mysteries of the boudoir; the form is molded by the milliner to distracting elegance of proportion, and the feet appear aristocratically slender and are arched in French boots.

Thus they appear as they sail past the gaping crowds of men, who make Coney Island a loafing place on Sundays. They seek out their individual dressing-rooms and disappear. Somewhere inside of an hour, they make their appearance ready for the briny surf. If it were not for the men who accompany them it would be impossible to recognize them as the same persons who but a little while ago entered those diminutive rooms. . . .

The broad amphitheater at Manhattan Beach built at the water's edge is often filled with spectators. Many pay admission fees to witness the
feats of swimmers, the clumsiness of beginners and the ludicrous mishaps of the never-absent stout persons. Under the bathing house is a sixty horse-power engine. It rinses and washes the suits for the bathers, and its steady puffing is an odd accompaniment to the merry shouts of the bathers and the noise of the shifting crowd ashore. . . .

A person who intends to bathe at Manhattan or Brighten Beach first buys a ticket and deposits it in a box such as is placed in every elevated railroad station. If he carries valuables he may have them deposited without extra charge in a safe that weighs seven tons and has one thousand compartments. He encloses them in an envelope and seals it. Then he writes his name partly on the flap of the envelope and partly on the envelope itself. For this envelope he receives a metal check attached to an elastic string, in order that he may wear it about his neck while bathing. This check has been taken from one of the compartments of the safe which bears the same number as the check. Into the same compartment the sealed envelope is put. When the bather returns from the surf he must return the check and must write his name on a piece of paper. This signature is compared with the one on the envelope. Should the bather report that his check has been lost or stolen his signature is deemed a sufficient warrant for the return of the valuables. The safe has double doors in front and behind. Each drawer may be drawn out from either side. When the throng presses six men may be employed at this safe.

From Richard K. Fox, Bathing at Coney Island, Coney
Island Frolics: How New York’s Gay Girls and Jolly Boys
Enjoy Themselves by the Sea (New York: Police Gazette
1883).

 

Coney Island Couple

At the Waters Edge

The gentle ocean washes at her shore

and caresses the feet of all who share the sandy shore

 

All  pay homage and offer quiet prayers

for joy and dream of days delight

 

For Coney is a darling muse

which beckons all to share her love and ruse

 

The feet disturbing Coney’s yellow sand

have trod the paths of all the lands

 

On the beach is beauty bright

a love of all that is strange and right

 

An invitation to all to share the ocean's gift

an understanding of a common birth

 

The carnival art barks garish hues

while characters dream of a shadowed land

 

Freaks fill the stage of God's creation,

an offer of salvation

 

On the boardwalk above the sand

are voices and songs from every land

 

A mane caressed by lovers across the years

goes up and down, round and round

 

The carnie pitches strange seductions 

tailored each for every soul

 

And the big wheel goes round and round

each turn a moment on the shore

 

A silent presence stands a watchful eye

a suggestion of knowledge not yet known

 

And the Comet whispers

secret warnings of raptures call

 

In Coney's promise of freedom bright

is the hearts' best hope for you and me

 

On the beach at water's edge is creation's 

solemn promise - one people, one world, one God

 

In this wondrous dance with all that is strange

is a quiet celebration of you, me and thee

Northstar Gallery

 

 

horse14.jpg (29918 bytes)

The Time Machine

Caress your mane and enter in

and touch the lovers you have known

Up and down, round and round

One hundred years, we've held your rein

Up and down, round and round

You play your music from the stars

We wonder where your children are

You have traveled a million miles

You will travel a million more

Up and down, round and round

Through the mirror ten thousand souls

Up and down, round and round

I touch your mane, I touch their souls

Up and down, round and round

To whirl and twirl with sculptured gold

With blazing lights and radiant eyes

Swirling through years gone by

Whirling through years to be

Everything has changed, you remain the same

Up and down, round and round

I touch your mane, I touch their souls

Up and down, round and round

Northstar Gallery

 

I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back

When the wind blows the water and back.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

T.S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

Bluegirl01sm.jpg (10234 bytes)

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round :
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree ;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
But oh ! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover !
A savage place ! as holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover !
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced :
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail :
And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean :
And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war !
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves ;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice !
A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw :
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome ! those caves of ice !
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware ! Beware !

His flashing eyes, his floating hair !
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.


Samuel Taylor Coleridge - 1797

bd14868_.gif (419 bytes) Coney Island Galleries

bd14868_.gif (419 bytes) Return to Coney Island & Carnival Galleries

HOME

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000 Northstar Gallery
These images are the exclusive property of the artist and may not be used,   downloaded, manipulated, or reproduced without prior written consent.

 

This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.