coney island guys and dolls

Lost innocence. A necessary illusion that marks the end of one episode and the beginning in a new journey known as American exceptionalism …once described as “Sodom by the sea.” Coney Island was a sanctioned escape from—and alternative to—everyday reality. The various rides, reenactments of disasters, freak shows, and other amusements highlight America’s obsession with a bliss tinged with danger, and the thrill we find in spectacle. The photographs in the exhibition include scenes of scale models of rides, incandescent night views, people at play, and the great Bowery fire, among others. Machines of industry were turned into instruments of play and let loose the bright forces and dark possibilities of a vast democratic culture that was astonished, delighted and appalled by Coney Island. Also on display is the charred remnant of a Steeplechase wooden horse, now a monument to America’s lost innocence….

E.E. Rutter Modern Venus, 1934...Read More:


…The coney in Coney Island should really be pronounced to rhyme with honey or money. The word derives from cony, meaning the adult long eared rabbit after which the Brooklyn commnity was named. However, cony, pronounced CUH-nee became a term for the female genitals in British slang, and proper Vicotrians stopped using the word… ( Robert Hendrickson )


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Read More: ---Middle son Reginald died of a heart attack on July 3, 1954. Much has been written about Reginald Marsh and his paintings of people and places in New York City. Vaudeville, nightclubs, burlesque, and Coney Island were favorite haunts. Marsh was a free-lance illustrator for Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, The New Yorker, Esquire and many other national magazines. An artist driven, he always had his sketchpad out. He was part of the coterie of realist artists that became known as the Fourteenth Street School, and received numerous awards. The Whitney Museum did a Reginald Marsh Retrospective Exhibition in 1955.---

…The title of “Modern Venus of 1931″ fell to Miss Dorothy DeMAR, a model, 20, of Hollis, L.I. Last year and the year before she carried off second honors in similar contests. She is a brunette, wearing her hair in bobbed style. Her chic white bathing suit with black trimmings accentuated her sylph-like form. Miss Justine ROGERS, 18, of 1971 Bogart street, Bogota, N.J. was second place choice. She is a stunning bob-haired blonde and was attired in a neat blue bathing suit which was in harmony with her baby-blue eyes. She is a student of Bogota High School. …George C. TILYOU, of the Steeplechase Park management, draped Miss DeMAR with the “Modern Venus of 1931″ sash and presented her and the other two young women with silver loving cups. Following the contest, a dinner was tendered to the contestants and judges who included Deputy Commissioner of Public Work Peter MC GUINNESS, Leslie C. STRATTON, Susan SHATTUCK, Tim MARKS, Dr. W. REIS and Diana CORDAY….

Read More: ---As the Variety review indicated, the producers of "The American Venus" "tried to stress the undress angle." The Variety reviewer professed ennui: "It may give some of the old boys a kick, and then again it may not." Success at the box office demonstrated that it did. Part of the "kick" was the fantasy of being a judge. As Norman Rockwell's account demonstrates, there were as yet no protocols for judging. One of his colleagues, he recalled, "had a wonderful time measuring all the girls — bust, waist, hips, etc." In "The American Venus," the contestants stood on various pillars, dressed in low-cut, backless dresses, as the judges examined them from every angle. They also formed tableaux vivantes at which judges peered through a peephole. As with the revues, the male fantasy was having one's pick of a bevy of beautiful women. The complementary daydream, for the young women in the audience, was of being a contestant. They could imagine turning heads as they paraded past the judges. They could share the dreams of Hollywood and stardom.---

…GIRL FINGERPRINTED, JAILED FOR UNRULY BATHING SUIT 99 OTHERS FIND ORDINANCES SEVERE IN CONEY ISLAND COURT What price shoulder strap! Sylvia MEYER, a 17 year old home girl of 3215 Surf avenue, found to her dismay that a charge of wearing an improper bathing suit heard before Magistrate STEERS in Coney Island Court today carried with it, on a plea of guilty, a ride in a police van, fingerprinting and a stay in Raymond street jail until 4 o’clock. Sylvia’s bathing suit, intentionally or otherwise, had become disarranged, as the poets sing, but Patrolman Joseph F. BYINGTON, of Coney Island station, decided too much anatomy was being displayed and gave the girl a summons.
Magistrate STEERS fined her $5 but she did not have the money and chose jail sentence instead. But she wasn’t alone. Among the 100 men and women who appeared in answer to summonses for various beach offenses, about twenty were unable to pay the $5 fines and were taken for a jail ride. Things have gone harshly with offenders since Magistrate STEERS defined the city ordinances against peddling, ball playing, dressing on the beach, promenading the boardwalk in bathing suits, or casting litter about as providing a minimum fine of $5 and a maximum fine of $50, with the matter of suspended sentences left to the discretion of the court. Read More:

Below photo: Contestants for Modern Venus at Coney Island’s Steeplechase Park. In top hat and black tie, stands Selig Hocheiser, the park’s professional weight guesser. The man getting the vital statistics is Earl Carroll, producer of the famous Vanities on Broadway and in Hollywood. Perhaps they are still at it in the great runway in the sky. Steeplechase Park was delivered over to the wreckers in the e

1960’s. ….Bernie Madoff was a lifeguard on these Long Island beaches…

Modern venus title. 1937. Read More:


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