CONEY ISLAND & INDIGO SKY

CONEY ISLAND & INDIGO SKY

Cyclone, Oh What a Ride 12x24 Oil

Cyclone, Oh, What a Ride 12×24 Oil-on-Dibond

I have so much going on, there’s barely time to breathe. My Coney Island art project, past and present, is finally installed, and can be viewed until September 30th. The reception, sponsored by Investmark, will include a book signing of my newly released novel, Indigo Sky, and a dance demonstration by a master ballroom dancing duo inspired by the 1960s music once performed at Coney Island. Appetizers generously provided by Susan Kane, Catering. Come to the shindig on Thursday, September 8, 2016, 5:30-7:30 at Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, 295 West Ave. Norwalk, CT 203-838-9799.

Back Cover Blurb: In a whirlwind romance, a lovely New York socialite marries a fêted, debonair author. But beneath the charm is a cheating husband addicted to hasheesh. Her dream marriage turns sour and the simplicity of her life runs amok when a handsome stranger, her husband’s business partner, threatens her staunch loyalty to her wayward husband. When she faces the ugly truth about her marriage, her need to finalize her divorce sends her on a  chase across the wilds of nineteenth century America with a handsome stranger–she learns hard lessons of murder, kidnapping and more that almost destroy her.

indigoSky-Soulmate-805_805x1275-2Check out the 5-star reviews on Amazon, http://amzn.to/29Dy9CF, and Goodreads, http://bit.ly/29Pem1S for Indigo Sky!

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Are you coming to the shindig, Thursday, September 8, 2016, 5:30-7:30pm? You can let me know here in comments, or on Facebook.

CONEY ISLAND: VISIONS FROM THE BOARDWALK

CONEY ISLAND: VISIONS FROM THE BOARDWALK

Boardwalk bench

Boardwalk bench

A visit to Coney Island in 2010 and hundreds of photos later, I began painting the Wonder Wheel while studying portraits with my friend, and portrait artist, Laurel Stern Boeck. Laurel said, “You grew up in Coney Island, you love it, why don’t you paint images as an art project?” I took her suggestion and ran with it. Half a hundred paintings later, Susan Gilgore, Director of Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, invited me to exhibit my work at the museum. My project will be installed on July 9, 2016. Art bash to be held on Thursday, September 8, 2016, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Crowded beach

Crowded beach

A sultry day in Brooklyn, you can see the heat rise up from the streets, you can smell the heat, it’s like dancing in a frying pan. Kids in my day didn’t open up fire hydrants, they gathered their friends and bathing suits and went to the beach. A walk across the street, climb the stairs and catch the train (BMT) to the beach. Coney Island, Surf Avenue—last stop.

Custard cone

Custard cone

On the walk from the train station, we stopped for nothing, the quest for sea and sand took precedent. Later, on our way home, came the fun foods, a bite of Nathan’s hot dogs, Chow Mein on a roll and sugary cotton candy that melted in your mouth. Custard with sprinkles; piled high on a cone, you couldn’t lick fast enough as it dripped down your arm.

Picture booth

Picture booth

We paid frequent visits to Coney Island, at first mostly to visit my grandma. I fell in love with this playland, this dreamland, a place of make-believe and fantasy, like imagining being Cinderella.

Cyclone ticket booth

Cyclone ticket booth

My friends loved the famous Cyclone, a ride I dared to take. The ride moved me to frightening frozen tears. Never again, twice in my lifetime was twice too many. We took pictures of ourselves in picture booths, went to the freak shows, the house of wax, the animal nursery, restaurants—like Child’s on the boardwalk—rifle ranges, push cart rides and parades.

Washington Baths pool

Washington Baths W. 21st big pool That’s me somewhere in there.

I swam in the briny Atlantic, bobbled floating over the waves, cooled off and played under the boardwalk, and watched the fireworks on Tuesday nights. I belonged to Washington Baths where I swam in a huge salt-water pool, dived from the low diving board. No one complained about stinging eyes from the chlorine, but mine were sure red after all those hand stands under water. I sunned myself on the private beach. When I got there in the mornings, I left my friends on the beach, donned my glove and played blackball on the Washington Baths handball courts. The experienced, intelligent men were super competitive. I did well, but I think those seniors went easy on me; they kept calling me pretty girl. Hmm, I wonder?

I will never forget the polio scare. Kids were dropping, and we all thought we were going to get sick. I didn’t, and none of my friends got sick. We were lucky. The Polio scare didn’t deter us, we kept on coming to Coney Island.

Finally in 1952, I got the Salk vaccine.

My Coney Island paintings can be viewed at www.gailingis.com.

Freak show

Freak show

CONEY ISLAND PLAYGROUND

CONEY ISLAND PLAYGROUND

The new Steeplechase

Coney Island is not actually an island, but a small peninsula that hangs from the southernmost edge of Brooklyn. It is accessible by car and by subway. The neighborhood includes high-rise apartments, two-family and single-family houses and some retail businesses along Surf Avenue, Mermaid and Neptune Avenues: and the centrally located amusement area.

It is all new, the rides, the signage, the smiles

Cozy ride in the new Steeplechase

Since the early 1800s, Coney Island, “playground of the world,” has played many roles in the lives and imagination of New Yorkers and the world. From its beginnings as a quiet seaside town, Coney Island went on to boom years in the 1880s, as entrepreneurs rushed to stake their claims and make their fortunes.    In 1929 with the Great Depression, Coney Island transformed.

The area became a “Nickel Empire” of cheap amusements; a nickel paid the fare on the new subway line, and visitors were greeted by the original Nathan’s, famous home of the five-cent hot dog. The amusement parks struggled to stay afloat and Coney Island began to experience hard economic times. The historic amusement area spans from West 8th to West 24th Street, and from Surf Avenue to the Atlantic Ocean. This area contains a three-mile beachfront boardwalk.

The Wonder Wheel is old, it has a long history. When I played there in the 50’s, it was my favorite ride. It doesn’t only go around, the cars slide to the end and swing way out, to and fro, with nothing beneath you. Thrilling.

Today, Coney Island is in the midst of a revival, spurred by public, private and community initiatives.  In addition to amusement parks, rides and concessions, there is the New York Aquarium, KeySpan Park-home of the Brooklyn Cyclones minor league baseball team-and Asser Levy Park and Amphitheater.

Home of the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball team. That structure in the back of the stadium is the famous Coney Island Parachute Jump. This is my 14×17 watercolor of the park.

With the creation of the Coney Island Development Corporation, the area is poised for further positive change, in which the Parachute Pavilion Design Competition, will play a vital part.

Sadly, Storm Sandy ripped the Island apart. It will have to be restored once again.

Have you been to Coney Island? Have any of you been there in the 50’s or 60’s? Have you indulged in Nathan’s famous hotdogs and curly fries. Ummm. Tell me your story.

 

 

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