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Coney Island: Lost and Found Paperback – March 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews


"Offering far, far more than the usual gauzy nostalgia...Superb." -- New York Magazine, December 9, 2002

From the Publisher

•Features 300 color and black-and-white photographs, including many never-before-published images.

•Detailed hand-drawn maps trace a century of amusement park history.

•Includes posters, programs, and tickets from past and present.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (March 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580084559
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580084550
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Paul Kronenberg on November 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
Coney Island: Lost and Found is an absolutely amazing book. Charles Denson lived in Coney from the mid 1950's through the 70's and really knows the place. In the 70's he took over 5000 pictures of his world and captured the very sad devastation that was taking place. He has preserved in photos so much of the day to day life in Coney Island that is gone. He has documented with interviews and observations so much of the history of the amusement parks, bungalow colonies, bath houses and just ordinary life of people who grew up in Coney Island. What makes it so moving and real for me is his inclusion of his own life in the book. I got a very real sense of what he and his family and his friends experienced living in Coney Island. Charles Denson hasn't just studied Coney Island, he's lived and grew up there and is passionate about it. That's what powers this book and makes it so incredible. Although I've lived only a couple of miles from Coney all my life, I hardly knew what was going on. Thanks to this book, I'm learning. Coney Island came close to death in the 70's. Charles Denson introduces us to some of the people and forces that came close to killing Coney as well as the wonderful people who fought against the forces of destruction.We meet Dick Zigun, founder of the Coney Island museum, who for over 20 years has been working to keep the spirit of Coney alive.The last year or two has witnessed the opening of the ballpark, major improvements on the boardwalk, the beginning of a major rehabilitation of the Parachute Jump and the rebuiilding of Stillwell Avenue subway terminal.This book comes at a time of tremendous hope for Coney and provides us with a vision of what Coney Island was and can still be. I've only scratched the surface of the beauty and power of this book. You'll have to read it yourself and let it speak to you about Coney Island, a truly amazing and spirited place.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Chaz on September 30, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although his name doesn't ring a "bell", I had to have known the author. In 1963, my family moved into the same NYC "Projects" (i.e. Coney Island Houses) where the author lived. His story is in many ways my story, his outlook on the one and only Coney, my outlook as well. In a borough of giants (well, maybe only "Dodgers"), when Brooklyn *really* WAS the "World", Coney Island was KING! Where else in the world could working-class folk (white, black, Jew and Gentile) live in relative peace and harmony while enjoying the waterfront views millionaires would be envious of?
Author Charles Denson hits the right balance with both his superb history of America's original "Playground" and his personal reflections on growing up in the shadow of a myth. Coney *was* changing along with America in the 1960s. Much of the change was harsh and relentless. Poverty and greed bred crime and desolation. Coney Island, more vulnerable than most Brooklyn neighborhoods to the ebbs and flows of capricious fortune, became a victim to the times.
The author aptly outlines this decline and recent rejuvenation with such skill that (unlike other "neighborhood" memory/history books) one can "taste" the vitality of the arisen "Phoenix" known as Coney Island.
Almost as good as a Nathan's frank and a bag of fries, sitting in a boardwalk "pavillion", watching the summer fireworks. (Or maybe skating in Abe Stark and going to the Tilyou for a matinee?).
Just an afterthought...
I thought I was the only one on earth who remembered "Al" the "Good Humor"-man...
To Mr. "Coopey" (of the immortal "Coopey's Corner"), who's recommedation here on Amazon prompted me to buy this book... You'll never know how many children's souls you touched and made smile. A THOUSAND blessings!
Charlie R,...(who broke his leg at age 6 on the monkey bars in the "little" playground next to 2928 in 1964)
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Danielle Bennignus on April 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
Calling all Coney Island fanatics, nostalgia buffs and preservationists - this is the book for you. I hardly know where to start in singing its praises - simply put, it's a heartfelt love-letter to the past, present and future of our beloved Island. The photographs are exquisite, the author's personal experiences poignant, and the history documented fascinating. What more could you ask for?
I was amazed upon first opening Denson's book - for some years I had been photographing the "leftover buildings", as I knew them - faceless, nameless structures from the old days of Coney, unsure of their histories, but endlessly fascinated by them. Charles Denson cleared up most every mystery for me, documenting the pasts of these previously anonymous remnants. For this, I cannot thank him enough. Even further, he has included photographs that he took over a lifetime, of demolitions, which are heartbreaking, but informative, to see. It's as if he's putting his private treasure trove of images out for all the world to see, which, really, is a great gift. I owe him many thanks.
The layout and sequencing of the book is perfect, arranged in a timely, appropriate manner. Unfortunately, it is a very fast read, but not due to a shallow treatment of its subject - rather, that it is such fascinating material, handled with enthralling interest. One can feel Denson's pride and joy in Coney Island - it practically radiates from the pages.
This is one of the few books that I'd recommend buying even if one doesn't have the chance to view it first - it would be well worth three times the asking price. It is a truly landmark reference book on Coney Island - although it's a delight, it's accurate, respectable, and quite sincere, as well.
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