Park Lit TONIGHT Coney Island ALWAYS

Two of BHS’s Interpreting Brooklyn artists, novelist Elizabeth Gaffney and Coney Island playwright Michael Schwartz, will be reading tonight in Fort Greene Park with L.J. Davis, a fellow contributor to the magazine A Public Space.

Another friend of BHS and Coney Island, Charles Denson, founder of the Coney Island History Project, is hosting an online conversation at The New York Times City Room Blog this week.

If you haven’t been following the debates about revitalizing Coney Island, the City Council is about to vote on a rezoning plan and the Municipal Art Society has suggested improvements to the proposed plan.  The New York Times and local community organizations have endorsed MAS’s improved plan which doubles the size of the amusement area and removes hotels from the south side of Surf Avenue which would block the view of the ocean.

“Coney Island is a great business school… you have to be very dumb not to learn how to sell.  And I wasn’t!”

That’s a quote from an interview with Lillian Santangello, founder of the World of Wax Musee, Coney Island’s first and only wax museum conducted by BHS in 1987.  Check out BHS’s podcast to hear more from this interview.

Ms. Santangello was almost 80 years old at the time of the interview and she has wonderful things to say about her wax figures and the visitors to her museum on the corner of Stillwell and Surf Avenue – both the celebrities like Charlie Chaplin and the “riff raff”.   Ms. Santangello grew up in Coney Island and started working at at early age helping her adopted father at his fruit and peanut stand.  The wax figures in her museum included Nat King Cole, Roberto Clemente, and a figure in an electric chair which now haunts BHS’s warehouse…

Sady Sullivan

About Sady Sullivan

Sady Sullivan is Director of Oral History at the Brooklyn Historical Society.
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4 Responses to Park Lit TONIGHT Coney Island ALWAYS

  1. Sady Sullivan Sady says:

    Thanks Mr. Schultz!

  2. John H. Schultz says:

    The figure in the electric chair was Bruno Richard Hauptman, who had killed the Lindbergh baby.

    That was the scariest figure I can still remember!

  3. Sady Sullivan Sady says:

    Pretty sure that’s the one!

  4. Yvonne Menor says:

    As a child my father always took me to Coney Island and I remember going to a wax museum on a street off the boardwalk. There was wax figures of the kidnapping of the Lindburg baby and different torture methods. Is this the museum you are referring to?

    Thank You

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