Posts Tagged ‘Coney Island boardwalk’

The most enchanting sign in Coney Island

September 4, 2011

For its neon beauty and the cheap thrills it promises—sun, surf, and juicy hot dogs—does any sign beat iconic Nathan’s Famous at Surf and Stillwell Avenues?

Repeat the words enough, and they start to sound like a four-line haiku. “Take Home Food”: Is it a noun? A command? This is what Coney Island should look like.

I don’t know how old the sign is, but Nathan’s has been serving hot dogs, fried clams, and even frog legs (has anyone been brave enough to try them?) since 1916.

Judge Crater: the missingist man in America

October 6, 2008

On the night of August 6, 1930, Joseph Force Crater got into a midtown cab—and was never seen or heard from again. So began the saga of “the missingist man in America,” a state supreme court judge with ties to organized crime and a penchant for picking up showgirls who left behind a tantalizing trail of crooked dealings.

His whereabouts became a national obsession, with journalists, tabloid writers, and comedians weighing in for decades on his fate. Even after having him declared legally dead in 1939 and remarrying, his wife, shown below, insisted that police keep the case open.

To this day, however, the case remains unsolved. Did Judge Crater plot his own disappearance, fearing that he would be indicted for corruption within the Cayuga Democratic Club, of which he had been president? Was he killed by mobsters? 

In 2005, notes left behind by a recently deceased 91-year-old woman in Queens indicated that he may have been murdered in the cab and buried under the Coney Island Boardwalk. Police did not try to dig up any remains.

The other Bowery of New York City

August 20, 2008

Just like its namesake in lower Manhattan, the Bowery at Coney Island was once a long stretch of dance halls, bars, cheap hotels, and bawdy theaters. Built in the 1880s, it spanned West 10th Street to West 16th and was considered the slummiest part of Coney Island.

But hey, that’s where the fun probably was.