Coney Island is bursting with new color after 13 new storefront murals were unveiled at the People’s Playground on Tuesday.
The 13 murals were designed by 12 artists as part of the Coney Island for Everyone initiative, a partnership between the community group Alliance for Coney Island and the city’s Department of Small Business Services. It’s the second phase of the Alliance’s plan to mural-fy the amusement district, after the first round of murals were unveiled in October of last year.
“For years I have dreamed of bringing murals and public art to the storefront gates of Coney Island and am so appreciative of the Small Business Services for the funding to make this a reality,” said Alexandra Silversmith, executive director of Alliance for Coney Island, in a statement. “The creative visions from the artists creates a vibrant public art gallery for the off season or at night when businesses are closed. We are excited to have featured these local artists and hope New Yorkers will come see the pieces for themselves!”
The artwork is intended to beautify the area, but also to show that Coney Island, devastated by the pandemic, has remained standing.
The new murals feature bright, vivacious artwork, in keeping with Coney’s spirit. At the peninsula’s culinary capital, Nathan’s Famous, the artist Subway Doodle drew one of his notorious blue monsters sleeping on the side of the building, next to giant drawings of a hot dog with mustard, a cheeseburger, a Philly cheesesteak, fries, and a drink.
Subway Doodle, aka Ben Rubin, noted his family’s long history with and affinity for Coney Island, from his grandparents who lived in Trump Village to the present day, now riding the Wonder Wheel every year with his family.
“I’ve been coming here since I was five and now with our family it’s a tradition to come down here every year,” Rubin told Brooklyn Paper.
Erin Mathewson has been making art of the Wonder Wheel, her favorite ride at Coney Island, for years, and now that art adorns the gates around the century-old, 150-foot-tall eccentric wheel and the amusement park bearing its name.
“Coney Island is my favorite place on the planet so to have my artwork here is a dream come true,” Mathewson said. “[My drawings] are on the gates for Deno’s Wonder Wheel and that’s my favorite ride, I’ve loved it for years, it’s really just a dream come true to be part of this.”
New murals are also adorning the Brooklyn Beach Shop on the Riegelmann Boardwalk, the Eldorado Bumper Cars on Surf Avenue, the Coney Island History Project on West 12th Street, and several businesses along Mermaid Avenue.
Additional reporting by Paul Frangipane