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Coney Island Exhibition and Art Show
Coney Island

Original architectural plan delineating the track for Coney Island’s famous Loop roller coaster.

© Ross Art Group
For those kids that grew up in New York City in the 1940s - 1960s Coney Island was a mecca, there were the boardwalks, the beach and Nathan's Famous (yes, that food spot now found in airports), but it was the rides and shows that really were the draw.

Amusement park rides, the Steeplechase and trying to grab that darn gold ring on the merry-go-round are all things I remember well (along with those amazing fries from Nathans!). One of the things I should have collected and looked for are Coney Island artifacts, but living in the midwest during my collecting years, it wasn't to be.

That's why I am hoping to make a trip to visit this exhibit and enjoy all the memories.

From The Ross Art Group:
While the golden era of New York’s most beloved amusement park has come and gone, relics of Coney Island’s colorful history and photos of its amazing cast of performers move back into the spotlight in “Sideshow,” an exhibition running May 2-25 at The Ross Art Group’s Manhattan gallery. Sideshow’s featured collection belongs to Dr. Robert M. Lerch, a New York City physician and longtime collector of the bizarre and unusual. The exhibition chronicles roughly the first 50 years of Coney Island – whose first enclosed amusement park area opened in 1895 – with additional pieces from other early 20th-century carnivals and circuses.

Original Architectural Drawings/Blueprints

A collection of twenty-eight original drawings of Coney Island rides and structures. These were created by inventor William F. Mangels of the Whip, Loop roller coaster and the mechanical carousel horses.

Circus Posters

Photographer Edward Kelty's panoramic circus photographs of "the Congress of Freaks". Which include all the strange and unusual folks that made up the Ringling Brothers Freak Show.

Lerch has been fascinated with Coney Island art and memorabilia since a youth, when he lived in the same apartment building as Frederick Fried's (collector and historian) family. the apartment he hung out in was filled with carnival objects and the fascinating curiosities made their mark. It started Lerch on a 40-year quest for the offbeat for his personal collection. At one point he was also able to purchase a some of Fried's Coney Island collection from his estate.

All items in the exhibition are available for purchase and the proceeds from one of the photographs will benefit the Coney Island Museum.

Sideshow, the Exhibition

  • Dates: May 2 - 25th
  • Ross Art Group
  • 532 Madison Ave, New York City
  • Hours: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday
For additional information call 212-223-1525.

Images include:

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