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A colorful history: Mural honors Coney Island’s past

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Photo gallery

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Eye catching: Danielle Mastrion’s eye-catching mural can be seen from the Coney Island train station and works as an ambassador for the area, she said.
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Mermaid queen: The first of the three murals centers on a mermaid queen with the Parachute Jump as her crown.
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Paying homage: Coney Island was the center of Danielle Mastrion’s world as a teenager, and she feels there is no better way to pay tribute to the area than with a mural that highlights the community’s creativity.
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Constantly changing: The murals are nestled in Valerio’s Way — the former home of the infamous Shoot the Freak carnie game.

It’s retro Coney — in full color!

The formerly bare walls of Valerio’s Way in Luna Park are being transformed into a vibrant art walk that highlights the People’s Playground’s past. Luna Park commissioned Sheepshead Bay street artist Danielle Mastrion to paint a three-walled tribute to Coney Island, and she aims to make the work a monument to the area’s history.

“I actually call the mural a walk through time,” said Mastrion. “It’s suppose to be Coney Island’s past and present.”

Once completed, the mural will span three walls with tributes to iconic structures and more than a century of the neighborhood’s history. Sites such as the Elephant Colossus, the original entryway of Luna Park predecessor Dreamland Amusement Park, and a recreation of a 1940s Miss Coney Island will line the walls.

Mastrion has worked on the first of three walls for more than two months. In it, a fanciful mermaid queen with the Parachute Jump as her crown greets beach-goers. The background currently features a skyline of rides, but will soon include a cityscape of western Coney Island’s high-rise apartment buildings to emphasize that the nabe is more than just a tourist attraction.

“I feel it’s important to add the cityscape of Coney Island, because I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just the seaside and the rides — that’s the part that gets a lot of love, but there’s a whole neighborhood here — that needs to be highlighted,” said Mastrion.

The Southern Brooklyn native frequented the People’s Playground with her mother as a kid. To this day the neon signs for rides that no longer exist stick out in her mind, evoking the warm memories of summer trips to the beach with family that inspired her to create the mural.

“There are so many happy memories I have about this place,” she said. “A lot of people have negative things to say about Coney Island, but to me, its never been negative, and I want to show that in a mural.”

Mastrion aims to complete all three walls by January.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2517. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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