For years doctors in the US made little attempt to save the lives of premature babies, but there was one place distressed parents could turn for help - a sideshow on Coney Island. In the 1870s, the French obstetrician Tarnier went to the zoo and noticed an incubator for the raising of chicks. He asked its producer to build one capable of holding premature infants, and by the 1890s incubator exhibitions had spread across Europe and the United States. But the most famous one in America was Dr. Couney's exhibition at Coney Island, which ran from 1903 to 1943.
"For five cents Coney Island will feed you, frighten you, cool you, toast you, flatter you, or destroy your inhibitions. And in this nickel empire boy meets girl." [more inside]
Portraits by Richard Dumas; a page (one of many) of actors and directors; a Brooklyn gang (photographed by Bruce Davidson) in 1959; photographs by Ernesto Bazan. Clive Limpkin. Some Warhol Polaroids. Film set photographs and portraits by Brigitte Lacombe. Photographs by: Dennis Hopper [nsfw], Weegee [nsfw], Jeff Bridges, Julia Calfee [nsfw], Ed Templeton [nsfw], Lauren Dukoff, Robert Frank, Sid Grossman and Allen Ginsberg. A Princeton Dance Weekend in 1960, an American family vacation in 1950, Los Angeles, Coney Island, et cetera. A diverse livejournal collection of photographs.
The Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society Dream Films 1926–1972 are part of an installation/exhibition celebrating the centennial of Freud's visit to Coney Island. (The films may also be viewed on ubuweb.) Previously on Zoe Beloff.
In Kunming, southern China, a community of dwarves has set up its own village to escape discrimination from normal sized people. "As small people we are used to being pushed around and exploited by big people. But here there aren't any big people and everything we do is for us," said spokesman Fu Tien. [more inside]
"We used to find teeth in the yard. We used to find wigs, glasses, guns. Everything we found in the yard…nobody came back for them, though." May Timpano describes her life in the house under the rollercoaster where she and her boyfriend, rollercoaster operator Fred Moran, lived for 36 years in the former Kensington Hotel which had the Thunderbolt rollercoaster built around it in 1925. The house -- the model for Alvy Singer's childhood home in Annie Hall -- burned in 1991 and the roller coaster was razed in 2000.
Sure, you're sad that Astroland at Coney Island has closed for good. But buck up, l'il Astro-nut! You can buy the rides and build your own! (Astroland's website is still active for now.)
Claire and Merna Bagelman, better known as The Barry Sisters. Every Sunday from 1938 to 1955 on WHN in New York, they mashed Swing with Yiddish Folk as the main attraction on the radio program Yiddish Melodies in Swing.[via] "We take a tune that's sweet and low, and we rock it solid and make it gold." They are indeed a Hebrew National Kosher Classic. More Yiddish music webceptacles. [more inside]
Bowed by Age and Battered by an Addicted Nephew 'They went out late. It was ugly weather. Six below zero in the Brooklyn night. Wind took garbage into the air. A blizzard was in the forecast. It was Lincoln's Birthday, 2003, in Brighton Beach. Not a night for humankind, but the sisters, one 73 and the other 70, didn't get holidays off, didn't get snow days. In years of miserable low points, it was one of the lowest. As they had done the day before and the day before that, Lillian and Julia hobbled out to Coney Island Avenue, a lineup of chromatic storefronts, to beg from strangers in their cars. They were known out there, regulars among the mendicants. The money was for their bilious nephew and his crack habit, their own blood who was smoking up their lives. He had already cost them their house, their savings, their dignity. "I need one more," he would tell them when he desired a hit, "one more." Not comply and he would fly into crazed tirades, blacken an eye, bruise their ribs. It had been this way for years, since their lives stopped being comprehensible. ' [From the New York Times; they'll want registration, if you haven't already.]
Coney Island, home to the Mermaid Parade, the nation's oldest and best wooden roller coaster, a swell new music festival, and Sideshow freaks so empowered they even teach classes. The park has a rich history, and the future? ...
Have you ever dreamed of running away with the circus? Did anyone ever call you a freak? Well, now’s your chance to become one! Coney Island USA is proud to announce its latest program- SIDESHOW SCHOOL! Tuition: $600.
Edison electrocutes an elephant at Coney Island. I never knew this horrifying bit of history until I read about it via rscharm's MeFi post.