Coney Island puts a freaky spin on holiday gift market

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Forget sidewalk sales — this is a sideshow sale!

Coney Island USA, home to Sideshows by the Seashore, is throwing a freaky holiday market on Nov. 29. And the vendors are promising some surprising stocking-stuffers.

“I make Siamese Barbies — that’s a new adventure,” said Stephanie Torres, a snake-charmer who performs in the sideshow as Serpentina. “I cut them in half at the crotch, and I’ve been melting them together for the last two days.”

The performer said creepy creations are right up her alley.

“I like crafting and making different things that you can’t get in the store, and I’ve worked in sideshows since ’98, so I figured I’d keep it in the realm of what I know and like,” she said.

Other goodies will include vintage Coney Island postcards, African-inspired jewelry, murals, and fine art, said Coney Island USA artistic director Dick Zigun.

Coney Island USA’s own assistant house manager Kate Wirth is bringing keepsake boxes hand-painted with comic book characters and video games like “Bioshock” and “Portal.” But despite their inspiration, the boxes painted for “Portal” — a game where players create rifts in space to solve puzzles — are not bottomless.

“Well, the stuff would have to come out the other end, wouldn’t it?” Wirth said.

In addition to one-of-a-kind crafts, a former Bloomingdales Santa will visit with kids, and Miss Coney Island USA — Betty Bloomers — will make her debut ahead of her January coronation, Zigun said.

And the market is the tip of the iceberg for Coney Island USA’s wintertime programming now that the headquarters finally has a functioning heater, Zigun said. The art organization threw a Thanksgiving variety show on Nov. 26, and it is planning December and January burlesque shows and a Black History Month installation in February, he said.

The holiday market is charging a small table fee to vendors, and the revenue will go to support programming at Coney Island USA, he said.

And if you’re looking for something a little more Christmas-y, they will have that too.

“I also made shadowbox Christmas ornaments with ‘spidera’ [a spider with a woman’s head] in them since, ya know, it’s the holidays,” Torres said.

Coney Island USA 2014 Holiday Gift Market at Coney Island USA (1208 Surf Ave. between Surf Avenue and Bowery Street, Nov. 29 at 1 pm. Free.

Posted 12:00 am, November 26, 2014
Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

MetroPlus Roosevelt Savings Bank Coney Island Hospital Brookdale VillageCareMax

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: