Daily photographs by HANS VON RITTERN, with humorous, artistic and social commentary on life in the big city.

Posts tagged “Coney Island


Photo of the day: REASSURING THE SHORE – I am taking my German tourist guests on my 5 hour long tour of Brooklyn today, via Harlem Spirituals Tours. From the Fulton Ferry landing at the Brooklyn Bridge allllllll the way to Coney Island for a Nathan’s hot dog lunch – wunderbar! Our last and final stop will be the 5 Pointz Graffiti museum as a surprise ending 🙂
At Coney Island for the past few weeks we have been met by this long pipe snaking along the beach. Early in September the $7.2 million Army Corps of Engineer’s project to pump 600,000 cubic yards of sand along Coney Island’s shore began. Although the beach closed for the summer after Labor Day and red flags indicated no lifeguards were on duty, there were a few sunbathers and swimmers adjacent to the area where the work is getting underway.
While restoration work is going on, there were rolling closures of roughly 1,000 foot wide sections of the beach where construction work is active, according to the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE). The beach nourishment project extends from West 37th Street to Brighton Beach, and is expected to be completed in the fall.
Coney Island was hit hard by Super-storm Sandy and soon, its beaches will be well on their way to being protected against future flooding. There’s a ship out on the horizon pumping the sand from the ocean’s floor (and surprising a few startled crabs I bet) and pumping it methodically onto the beach where it is sifted and raked. You can hear the rumbling of the stones and shells as they go whizzing by inside the large rusty pipes lining the beach. Soon we will be enjoying pristine sand to stick our toes into! Join us?!



Photo of the day: MY SPEECH TO SAVE 5 POINTZ DIRECTED AT COUNCILMEMBER JIMMY VAN BRAMMER AND DEVELOPERS – On Wednesday October 2, 2013 both sides in favor and against tearing down Graffiti & Mural museum 5 Pointz, gathered inside City Hall for a hearing by the NYCHA – The New York City Housing Authority. It’s basically a side show/dog and pony show with the real estate developers always claiming tearing something down is “for the good of the community.” The owner, Jerry Wolcoff wants to build twin mirror glass apartment towers for which he will receive $7 million. Now you know me – I do not go quietly! Here is my passionate speech directed in part at my Queens councilmember, who is Christine Quinn’s lap dog and Mayor Bloomberg’s pet – Jimmy Van Brammer – who has stated he does not believe the magnificent powerful graffiti and mural works at 5 Pointz is “art” – and therefore in favor of tearing the building down. (When embarrassingly trapped by the truth of his statement at the hearing he said: “Well….I said I don’t quite understand it.” After also admitting he has rarely ever visited the site in his district.




My name is Hans Von Rittern, born raised in Queens, licensed tour guide of 8 years. I have been hired by Harlem Spirituals Tour company to take European tourists on a 5 hour tour of Brooklyn. They marvel at the view from Fulton Ferry and thank me, they love Park Slope bagels and Coney island puts a smile on their faces. The endpoint of the tour is supposed to be hipster Williamsburg. I chose not to do that and end my tour at 5 Pointz as a surprise. When I get back onto the bus, each and EVERY single time they burst out into spontaneous cheers and applause saying  “THIS is highlight of the New York tour”! “THIS is New York!”

I take tourists on “art tours” of galleries and or museums. When they reach MOMA’s PS1 they are bored and unmoved by the art. I say “come with me”  and lead them to 5 Pointz and I always have trouble getting them back into our vehicle. This is an untapped   rich   resource that needs imagination of design and investment, NOT a quick buck, another mirror glass box and then get the hell out of there as fast a possible.

There are 2 ways to make money: The quick bang fix and run – or, the wise investment – for perpetual monetary return on your investment of restoring the building and let the artists go hog wild on the interior. Hipsters will kill for a graffiti-ed loft, stores would love the unmatched  ambience and above all, CHARGE FOR THE ADMISSION INTO THE BUILDING AS A FULLY FLEDGED MUSEUM.

Muralist VERONIQUE BARRILOT makes her (final?) statement

Muralist VERONIQUE BARRILOT makes her (final?) statement

‘Not a museum because it’s not “art”’,  as some politicians like my councilmember Jimmy Van Brammer will say?

May I remind you:

Toulouse L’autrec – was considered street art and torn off the walls, today  his street posters are considered the finest examples of classic art.

Matisse – was dismissed as “scribble,”

Picasso – was considered a crackpot for putting a woman’s nose where her ear ought to be

Warhol– not taken seriously at all, soup cans as art?! Own one today and it’s worth millions.

Keith Haring – used to graffiti at my subway station, I watched him get arrested. Today he hangs in MOMA and the cathedral of St. John The Divine.

Basquiat – was looked down upon as wanna be street artist. His work is now in the major museums around the world.

Yes, I fully realize this is not what the building was intended to become, but it has, it has become bigger than what you realize.

So who are YOU – to say this is not “art” and therefore not worth saving and investing in?

I should think greed alone would take over and try to save it.

Don’t have your names forever associated with the destruction of this building so all of you can make a “fast buck” rather than a wise “invested buck.”

Look back, which one of you doesn’t wish they owned a Warhol soup can now?

Well –  you have dozens of them, right here in front of you.

Just because it is relatively new art does not make it less relevant art.

Remember all the fools that said the same of Lautrec, Warhol, Haring and Basquiat.

Will you be the same short sighted fools?

Fellow tour guide Andy Sydor testifying in favor of 5 Pointz

Fellow tour guide Andy Sydor testifying in favor of 5 Pointz

Reporter Greg Mocker of WPIX11 Covered the hearing, I can be seen testifying saying : “Yes, I fully realize this is not what the building was intended to become, but it has, it has become bigger than what you realize.” Here is the video link http://pix11.com/2013/10/02/nyc-council-hears-plans-for-iconic-queens-grafitti-building/#axzz2gfgASpxA

5 POINTZ WEB SITE: http://5ptz.com/



Photo of the day: WONDER WHEEL GOT TO GO ‘ROUND ~

What goes up must come down

Wonder wheel got to go ’round

Talkin’ ’bout your troubles it’s a cryin’ sin

Ride a painted pony let the Wonder wheel spin

You got no money and you got no home

Wonder wheel all alone

Talkin’ ’bout your troubles and you never learn

Ride a painted pony let the Wonder wheel turn

Did you find the directing sign on the

Straight and narrow highway

Would you mind a reflecting sign

Just let it shine within your mind

And show you the colors that are real

Someone is waiting just for you

Wonder wheel, spinnin’ true

lyrics by Blood, Sweat and Tears 1968

* * * * * * * * * * *

The Coney Island Wonder Wheel is a 45.7-metre (150 ft) tall eccentric Ferris wheel located at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City, US.

Eccentric wheels differ from conventional Ferris wheels in that some of the passenger cars are not fixed directly to the rim of the wheel, but instead slide on rails between the hub and the rim as the wheel rotates.

Built in 1918 and opened in 1920 by the Eccentric Ferris Wheel Company, Wonder Wheel has 24 fully enclosed passenger cars, each able to carry 6 people, giving a total capacity of 144 passengers. 16 of the cars slide inward and outward as the wheel rotates, the remainder are fixed to the rim. The whole wheel weighs 200 tons.

The only time the wheel stopped while not under the control of the operator was during the New York City blackout of 1977 on July 13, 1977. Wonder Wheel operates on electricity, however, the passengers were not stuck on the wheel, as the owners cranked the wheel around to get them off.

Photo of the day: DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY!

Coney Island, summer 2013

Coney Island, summer 2013

Photo of the day: DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY!  – the lifeguard is on duty, HAPPY WEEKEND EVERYBODY !
(Did you ever stop to think: A lifeguard’s vocation is his vacation.)



Photo of the day: AN UNEXPECTED DAY AT THE BEACH FOR CHARLIE – Weather forecasters predicted rainy downpours for Tuesday, hardly a day to go to the beach. But Charlie insisted mom take him anyway since by 11am it still had not rained the and sun was peering through the clouds. “Can we just go on the boardwalk, they’ll be no wet sand there?!” Mom gave in and they headed off to the Coney Island. By the time they got there by noon the sun was high in the sky with no sign of rain and the warm sand was beckoning Charlie – ‘come play with me…’
Coney Island boardwalk

Coney Island boardwalk

There is a magic to going to Coney on a day when everyone else didn’t think it was the day to go – you have it alllllll to yourself. You can see waaay down the boardwalk with no crowds to obstruct your view of the end.


Hans Von Rittern (me) taking a bite out of Coney !

Hans Von Rittern (me) taking a bite out of Coney !

No long impatient waiting on line for mom to buy you that hot dog and soft fries at Nathans – just walk right up and smell that griddle!  The amusement park is open just for you alone. All the rides are calling ‘ride me first!’ The thrill of running around the rides trying to decide ‘which one first?’ Then hoping on and having the flying elephants and rockets all to yourself to command. Yippee !
Coney Island flying elephants

Coney Island flying elephants

Coney Island rockets

Coney Island rockets

But the sand, that wonderful stretch of sand, beckoned Charlie, “please can I play in the sand?!”  Reluctant to sit in the hot sand because of Charlie’s fair skin, mom remembered she had brought her blue rain umbrella ‘just in case.’ Mom smiled approvingly. Charlie pulled his mom to that special spot he had picked out. It was just them and no one else! There was that special feeling the beach was his and no one else’s. Charlie had brought his favorite dump truck to play with and settled in. Mom opened the ‘just in case rain umbrella’ and let Charlie conquer the beach.
Alone with dad at Coney Island's Wonder Wheel

Alone with dad at Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel



Photo of the day: GOLDEN GIRL WITH PARACHUTE – Brooklyn’s Eiffel Tower ‘The Parachute Jump’ has been towering 250 feet over the seashore since 1941. It was built for the 1939 York World’s New Fair in Flushing Meadows, Queens and was moved to Coney Island in 1941 as part of the famed Steeplechase Pier. The ride ceased operations in 1964 when the park shut down for good. Today it is the only remnant of that bygone era.
What has not changed, despite hurricane Sandy, is the tradition is basking in the sun on a hot summer’s day, sitting not too far away from the famed Nathan’s hot dog stand. Life will always be a beach and a boardwalk – the amusement park, the smell of Coppertone, sand between your toes, sounds of children splashing with delight in the water, beach umbrella hawkers and young men perusing the boardwalk for their golden girl.
**(Celebrating my 300th post!)**



Photo of the day: I’VE BEEN ACCEPTED INTO THE QUEENS “INVINCIBLE SUMMER” ART FAIR ! – This photo called “Winter’s Sun” of a polar bear bather taking a dip in the winter’s ocean on Coney Island got me accepted into the art show and fair. The fair is a juried exhibition for which hundreds entered and 50 were selected one of them is ME. The exhibition grants me the right then to also be in the art fair, which is an art sale to be held at Queen of Angels parish hall on June 9th from 1pm to 5pm. A formal invitation will be announced here! Please come and “meet and greet (and catch up with) the artist!’
The on-going exhibit will be held right down the street from me in my hood at the Claret Wine Bar, June 11 – July 9.
Sunday, June 9, 1-5pm: Art Fair – Queen of Angels Parish, 44-04 Skillman Ave, Sunnyside, NY 11104, Phone: (718) 392-0011
Tuesday, June 11, time tba:  Exhibit opening night party. Claret Wine Bar, 4602 Skillman Avenue/corner 46th Street, Sunnyside . Queens . 718-937-7411   http://www.claretwinebar.com/
A N D – – – all good things come in three’s. I will have my own exhibit of 12 – 14 works at The Brogue Bar and Restaurant in mid June!! https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Brogue/113474548686125
My photography web site: http://hansvonrittern.com/
I truly hope you will join me there! STAY TUNED  ! ! !
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