The Days and Nights of the Coney Island Carnies

Photos Matthew Feddersen

This summer has been one rolling heat wave after another. One way to escape is to hop on a subway and head all the way out to Coney Island. You can cool off in the ocean, sure.
Just beware the errant condoms floating amidst a tangle of seaweed and plastic bags!


You could head over for a walk down the boardwalk and hop on some of the rides that have been thrilling crowds since 1920. Some of rides, like the Cyclone, are classics, while others, like the Slingshot, are destined to be timeless in their own way.

Whether its your first time in Coney or you were the Grand Marshal of this year’s Mermaid Parade, your enjoyment—and safety—rests in the hands of the men and women who operate the rides and supervise the games at this Brooklyn institution.

We talked to a few of them and found out that whatever wild things you might dream of doing in the swinging cars of the Wonder Wheel have already been done.

And the aftermath has been cleaned up.

With a hose.

Here are some of their stories.


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