The shimmering light of Coney Island’s amusement parks and the strong bonds of the local community have inspired residents and those who work in the neighborhood to put pen to paper. Coney Island’s first-ever site-specific poetry installation features work by local Brooklynites posted at iconic sites like Deno’s Wonder Wheel, the Riegelmann Boardwalk, and more.
Printed on weatherproof banners and posters, the poems are scattered around local businesses on Mermaid Avenue, in the Coney Island Library, and at Kaiser Park among other locations. A few of the featured poets include Peny Arcade, Amber Atiya, Kurt Boone, and Tina Chang. The diverse set of poets drew inspiration from their own unique backgrounds and the neighborhood they share.
One young wordsmith, 11-year-old Coney Island resident, Nikolai Ilyusha wrote a poem about his hometown that was also translated into Ukrainian. Poet Steve Dalachinksy pulled up his memories of attending the historic Sun Ra John Cage concert of 1986 to compose his poem “Ra Cage.”
There are a total of 25 poems spread throughout the Brooklyn neighborhood. You can find the location of each work on a colorful map illustrated by artist Philomena Marano. Presented by Parachute Literary Arts, the installation was conceived by poet Amanda Deutch, whose family lived in Coney Island for several generations.
You can hunt each poem down individually, or see them all in one spot at the “Poetry Wall” at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, 3059 West 12th Street. The poems are on view now and will be up through October 31, 2023.
Next, check out 20 Secrets of Coney Island