Monday, November 19, 2012

Give at Thanksgiving. The folks at Coney Island will be very grateful.

The museum is doing alright, but the sideshow, the gift shop and the attached bar are in shambles.  You might ask, "But why do I want to contribute money for a sideshow?  What good will that do the world?"  In a word: plenty.

Coney Island USA is enclosed in a building nearby the famed Coney Island amusement parks, the legendary Cyclone rollercoaster, and just down the street from THE Nathan's famous hot dogs.  Coney Island USA is comprised of the side show (I believe the only side show, actual side show with "freak" acts and feats of derring do) in the US, a place which hires folk who might be considered to be on the fringes of "normal" society, but who possess amazing skills and display them with pride and reverence for a form of theatre has long been ostracized and disrespected.  One visit to the Coney Island USA side show will tip you on your ear.  You''ll walk away with a sense of awe and, most importantly, a a fresh reverence for the unique characters who shamelessly give of themselves in order to keep the spirit of side shows alive.  To borrow the words from the company's site, "The purpose of Coney Island USA is to defend the honor of American popular culture through innovative exhibitions and performances."

Right now, the materials needed to present performances are soggy from salt water or were thrown away in a dumpster due to the flooding. See photo above.


The gift shop is the only place you'll be able to find earrings shaped like Deno's Wonder Wheel (I own a pair and wear 'em proudly), or a bottle containing an authentic shard of Coney Island boardwalk.  Right now, the items that were spared from the deluge are being sold to help support Coney Island USA.  Oh, and the bar?  A great place to grab a beer after watching the side show or visiting the museum.

So - your donation, or your purchase from the gift shop, helps support Coney Island USA, allowing them to do their work.  Oh,yes, the museum.  It's upstairs on the second floor, so it was spared from the flooding.  But the gift shop helps support the museum, as does the bar, so it's best that all spaces are cleaned up and restored as soon as possible.

And what's up in the museum? Oh, just amazing exhibits about the history of Coney Island, a true American icon, a seaside treasure that's withstood fire and flood, the changes of time and culture, and keeps on kicking and inspiring and entertaining.  The museum keeps the true spirit of Coney Island alive.

The holidays are just around the corner.  Who doesn't want a necklace with an image of a tattooed mermaid on it? The following link will take you to the store website, where you can order a great gift, or make a donation:

DO this.

(Photos from the Coney Island USA Facebook page.)

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