Party people: Locals celebrate community at Alliance for Coney Island’s annual gala

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Play ball: Brooklyn Cyclones Assistant General Manager Gary Perone and Brooklyn Cyclones Vice President Steve Cohen were all smiles.
Man of the hour: Alliance for Coney Island honchos presented Coney Island YMCA Executive Director Samuel Moore with a Community Leadership Award.
Man of the hour: Ernest “Sandy” Chabel of Sneakertown received the Small Business Award.
In memoriam: From left, Vice President of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park Dennis Vourderis posed with Beth Ritter, who accepted an award on behalf of her late husband, environmental advocate Gene Ritter, and Alliance Executive Director Alexandra Silversmith.

They found the fun in raising funds.

Residents of the People’s Playground partied at the Alliance for Coney Island’s seventh annual gala at Gargiulo’s restaurant last week.

More than 300 attendees representing the neighborhood’s various communities — including local residents, business owners, and developers — turned out to the April 4 fund-raiser for the organization, according to its executive director.

“It was a great array of the whole community,” said Alexandra Silversmith.

Locals gathered for the soirée at the Italian eatery on W. 15th Street between Mermaid and Surf avenues, where Silversmith and other Alliance honchos honored the 80th anniversary of the now-defunct Parachute Jump and handed out awards to local leaders, including Coney Island YMCA Executive Director Sam Moore, Sneaker Town USA owner Ernest Chabel, and Beth Ritter, who accepted a tribute honoring her late husband, local environmental activist Gene Ritter.

Economic Development Corporation President James Patchett also delivered remarks about the quasi-governmental agency’s work in the neighborhood, including adding a forthcoming ferry stop and expanding Coney Island Hospital.

By press time, Silversmith said honchos had not determined how much money attendees raised for the organization at the event, and added that the cash would contribute toward staging events such as the weekly summer Friday Night Fireworks and the Flicks on the Beach film series at Luna Park, along with the group’s annual children’s Halloween parade.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 2:04 pm, April 8, 2019
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