The Poet’s Playground! Coney Island Poetry Map charts literary course through nabe

coney island poetry map
The Coney Island Poetry Map, a new free exhibit, features works by Coney Island locals and poems inspired by the area.
Photo courtesy Parachute Literary Arts

Labor Day has passed, Brooklyn’s beach tourists have left, and as locals settle in to enjoy some peace and quiet once again, a Coney Island-based writing organization is highlighting local writers with a public poetry exhibit displayed all around the neighborhood. 

Amanda Deutch, director of Parachute Literary, created Coney Island Poetry Map to show that the area — known for its rides and attractions — is more than a tourist destination.

“Through the Coney Island inspired poems, people get the chance to experience distinct viewpoints on Coney Island and my hope is that people will see their neighborhood reflected positively,” Deutch said. 

The project shares 25 original works inspired by the southern Brooklyn neighborhood and written by city poets, all printed and hung on fences, walls, and buildings in Coney Island. 

Organizers said they “hope to enliven the neighborhood by creating a new appreciation and audience for poetry.”

coney island poetry map poem with basketball
The works are hung around the neighborhood so locals and visitors can see and appreciate them. Photo courtesy of Parachute Literary Arts

The poems will be featured throughout the peninsula’s residential and amusement areas. Brooklynites can track down the literary works with a fold-out map illustrated by a local artist Philomena Marano.

“For the first time ever, New Yorkers are invited to view a free public poetry exhibit in Coney Island,” Deutch said in a statement. “Come take a stroll in Coney Island and view site-specific poems at local family-run businesses, landmarks, and amusement park rides.”

The Coney Island Poetry Map started in 2020, after Parachute hosted a free writing workshop where creatives were invited to write about their personal experiences in the borough. Deutch, a native Brooklynite whose family has lived in Coney Island for several generations, told Brooklyn Paper last year she wants the project to offer an “inside perspective” on Coney Island, holding space for those who live and work on the peninsula first and foremost. 

This year’s poems include “You’re in Coney Island,” written by an 11 year-old resident; and “Coney Island Cyclone,” an ode to the famous roller coaster written by acclaimed Brooklyn poet Tina Chang. 

coney island poetry map
A hand-illustrated map serves as a guide to the exhibit.Photo courtesy of Parachute Literary Arts/Philomena Marano

“Parachute Literary Arts shifts the notion of what a poetry event can be, creating a unique poetry experience and drawing out the poetry from within the Coney Island cityscape,” Deutch said.

Brooklynites can use a map to tour the neighborhood and visit each work on their own, and all 25 poems can also be seen together at the Poetry Wall at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park at 3059 W. 12th St.

To find the full map and more information, visit the Parachute Literary Arts website

(Update Sept. 11 at 2:02 p.m.): This story has been updated to allow comment from Deutch.