Deno’s Wonder Wheel Celebrates 95 Years of Continuous Use

Aug 02, 16 Deno’s Wonder Wheel Celebrates 95 Years of Continuous Use

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The Wonder Wheel is truly a wonder. It is in the heart of the world famous Coney Island Amusement Park, and has enjoyed a place on the National Register of Historic Places since 1984. In 1989, together with the neighboring Parachute Jump, it was given the status of an official New York city Landmark. The ride opened to the public on Memorial Day in 1920. It was created by a Romanian-born ride engineer called Charles Herman. Herman wanted to make a ride which had the combined characteristics of a Ferris wheel, scenic railway, and a Chute-the-Chutes, which he accomplished. Herman’s son Fred took the ride over when Herman passed away, but by 1980 he was ready to sell. Constantinos Dionysios “Deno” Vourderis became the third owner of the Wonder Wheel. Born in Aigion, Greece the same year the Wonder Wheel opened, he was the eighth child of 22 in his family. He came to the US in 1934, and started selling hot dogs from a pushcart in Manhattan. The story goes that Deno proposed to his not-yet wife in front of the Wonder Wheel in 1948. He promised her that one day he would not only own the Wonder Wheel, but he would also give her “a ring so big, everyone in the world would see how much he loved her – a ring that would never be lost.” Because of this story, and the subsequent countless marriage proposals and newlywed rides at the Wonder Wheel, the ride is known as “the most romantic ride in the world.” Deno took a job repairing the kiddie rides in Coney Island at the end of the 1970s. On June 7, 1983 Deno realized his dream and purchased the Wonder Wheel for $250,000. The ride did not come with a “user’s manual,” but instead with a handwritten note on the back of a carton of cigarettes wishing Deno, “Good Luck!” At that moment the ride became known as “Deno’s Wonder Wheel.” The Wheel is still run by...

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Hip Hop Hall of Fame Seeking Funds to Bring Bust Home

Jun 21, 16 Hip Hop Hall of Fame Seeking Funds to Bring Bust Home

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A six-foot-tall bust of Brooklyn-born rapper The Notorious B.I.G. could end up installed at Putnam Triangle Plaza in Clinton Hill, if organizers can gather together the necessary funding. Behind the project is the Hip Hop Hall Of Fame Museum, which is a organizing a crowd-funding campaign on GoFundMe to raise the $33,000 needed for the sculpture’s design, bronzing and getting approval for its installation from the community board and City Council. B.I.G., whose name is Christopher George Latore Wallace, grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant and was killed in Los Angeles in 1997 in a drive-by shooting at the height of his career. The sculpture was created by Brooklyn-based artist Tanda Francis and was recently on display at a Brooklyn gallery. There are very few official monuments attesting to the history and popularity of this particular music genre despite its international popularity. If the funding campaign succeeds we can look forward to seeing The Notorious B.I.G. in a bigger-than-life rendition not far from where his most dedicated fans...

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Child Graffiti Artist Makes Her Mark on Walls

Jun 15, 16 Child Graffiti Artist Makes Her Mark on Walls

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Lola Depraetere is only seven-years-old, but that has not stopped her from brightening up a few walls around Bushwick in Brooklyn, and Miami, Florida. Lola began drawing when she was only three, but now that she is already in second grade, she is ready for projects much bigger than she is. What does she like about painting murals with spray paint? Let her explain in her own words: “I thought it would be cooler than just drawing on paper. Spray-paint fills up more space than colored pencils,” she said. She was discovered by Joe Ficalora, the founder of the outdoor gallery Bushwick Collective, in a most appropriate way: while she was drawing on an intricate mural of a church painted by street artist Beau Stanton last May. The Collective invites artists from around the world to paint outdoor murals in Brooklyn. Lola’s mother Cécile, a teacher at a French pre-school, explained what happened: “We heard someone yell ‘What are you doing to my wall!’” she said. “The next thing we knew, he gave Lola her own wall, shook her hand and said, ‘Welcome to the Bushwick...

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Upstate New York Comes to Brooklyn with Tacos

May 23, 16 Upstate New York Comes to Brooklyn with Tacos

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A new idea is about to blossom in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn: A Taco stand which also offers products hailing from upstate New York. The shop will be called Josephina, and it is the brainchild of April Valencia, artist and photographer. Located in Gowanus in the backyard of the Pines, a popular eatery on 3rd Avenue, Josephina is hoping to “bridge the gap” between gourmet New York tacos which are beginning to emerge around town, and Mexico City street tacos “that you’re worried might make you sick,” Valencia says. The idea for Josephina was born when Valencia and Pines’ owner Carver Farrel, took a trip from Mexico City to Oaxaca a year ago. Since then they have been creating recipes and testing them on their friends, using ingredients from local merchants. The fluke for the ceviche is caught in Long Island on Wednesday and served on Thursday. All the meat and cheese comes from farms upstate. The tortillas are made fresh every day using hand-ground corn. In addition to tacos patrons can purchase New-Age type goods such as desert stones, tonics, elixirs and indigo-dyed knits. Josephina is scheduled to open this...

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BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Back This Summer for More Cool Sounds

May 15, 16 BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Back This Summer for More Cool Sounds

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The BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival has announced its summer line-up, and it is awesome! The concerts are all free and will run through August 13. Starting us off right in the Prospect Park bandshell will be Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, on June 8. Jones participated in the festival in 2010, and launched a new album last year. On July 23 Jon Batiste and Stay Human will be on vacation from their gig at the Stephen Colbert “Late Show.” In addition, many international musicians will be taking part in what is the 38th year of this amazing festival. The highlight of the festival will take place on August 6 when Paola Prestini’s “The Hubble Cantata” will be performed for the first time anywhere. The concert will feature the Norwegian orchestra 1B1, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and rare footage from the Hubble telescope. A part of the piece is meant to be viewed through virtual reality, and 6,000 virtual reality headsets will be distributed to audience members so they can get the total effect of the piece. There are also three benefit concerts this summer, all of which require a purchased ticket. Tame Impala on June 14-15; The Lumineers on August 3; and Herbie Hancock on August 11. For the complete schedule and other information contact...

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Fly by Night Creates Heavenly Art Installation Over Brooklyn

May 10, 16 Fly by Night Creates Heavenly Art Installation Over Brooklyn

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Simple in conception, yet awesome in execution, Fly by Night is a performance that transforms the commonplace into the sublime. Conceived and presented by Duke Riley, this incredible public art project takes 2,000 common urban pigeons- you know, the kind you wish would disappear from city life forever- and fits them with tiny LED lamps, and then lets them fly overhead at the Brooklyn Navy Yard just as the sun sets. The result is almost beyond description. The majority of the birds fly in swooping, circular patterns above the mesmerized onlookers, creating a lovely light show of streaks in the sky reminiscent of falling stars. Not all the birds follow the flock, however. The strays can be seen tracing their own unique paths, adding to the feeling that the art you are seeing is nature-based and unique- a pattern only revealed once, by forces us humans simply cannot control. The birds take off from their home on board the docked, decommissioned navel aircraft the Baylander which has been retrofitted as a roost for the thousands of pigeons used in the project. The display can be seen at the Brooklyn Navy Yard every weekend until June 12. This is one New York experience you will want to...

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