The Best Reason to Visit Coney Island This Summer

Coney Art Walls is transforming Brooklyn’s summertime destination into an outdoor museum of street art.

The Best Reason to Visit Coney Island This Summer

Courtesy of Coney Art Walls

Williamsburg and Bushwick aren’t the only Brooklyn neighborhoods full of street art. Starting this weekend, Coney Art Walls returns for its third edition, bringing a new set of murals by prominent street artists to New York’s classic summertime escape. Located on Stillwell Avenue just steps from the Wonder Wheel, Luna Park, and the Boardwalk, the murals add even more color to this already lively junction, where New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds come to ride the roller coasters, gawk at sideshow acts, walk their dogs, scarf down Nathan’s hot dogs, and hang out on the beach.

Joseph Sitt, CEO of real estate developer Thor Equities, and art world insider Jeffrey Deitch are curating the project, which features murals by artists Buff Monster, Iranian brothers Icy & Sot, Ron English, Maya Hayuk, Aiko, D*Face, and a handful of others. Before it shuttered in 2010, Deitch Projects shook up the New York art scene and helped launch the careers of artists like Cecily Brown, Brad Kalhamer, and Kehinde Wiley. A longtime supporter of artists inspired by street culture, Deitch coauthored a monograph on Keith Haring (whose estate Deitch’s gallery represented exclusively), wrote Jean-Michel Basquiat: 1981, the Studio of the Street, and cocurated Wynwood Walls in Miami.

“We’re pleased to add an outstanding group of new artists from England, Egypt, Puerto Rico, California, and New York,” Deitch said in a statement. “We are especially honored this year to have a wall mural by legendary New York artist Lee Quinones, one of the inventors of Wild Style. In addition, Crash, who has participated in the project since its inception, is creating a new entrance wall. This year’s new murals bring us further toward the realization of creating New York City’s outdoor museum of street art.”

Greenwood Beach—run by the owners of the Brooklyn beer garden Greenwood Park—is organizing live entertainment and food by Patacon Pisao, Chick-N-Cone, Coney Shack, Neapolitan Express, and the Hop Shoppe. The festivities kick off on Saturday, May 13, and continue through September. Events include a Unicorn Carnival presented by millennial makeup brand Winky Lux on July 8 and the Burger Records Beach Bash on July 22. Coney Island is perhaps best known for its exuberant Mermaid Parade, but Curbed reports that this year’s event is in danger of being canceled if the organizers can’t raise enough money to keep it afloat.

“Thor Equities’ and my own connection to Coney is a personal one. For me, it was the summer hangout of my youth,” Sitt wrote in a letter published on Coney Art Walls’ website. “Coney Island has struggled for decades and lost a lot of the sparkle that once drew millions each summer from New York and beyond. In the long term, we aspire to return the luster to Coney and bring it back to being a playground not just for New Yorkers, but for the world.”

>>Next: New NYC Ferry Service Connects Tourists with Vibrant Local Beach

Laura Itzkowitz is a freelance journalist based in Rome with a passion for covering travel, arts and culture, lifestyle, design, food, and wine.
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