Olympics fever: Coney Island style!

Muscle man, Coney Island, 1950
Muscle man, Coney Island, 1950
Arm wrestler, Coney Island, 1997
Arm wrestler, Coney Island, 1997

I’m sorry to disappoint my readers by saying the I won’t be competing in the Olympics this year. My arthritic hip is acting up on me again and I was disqualified from my usual figure skating performance. However I will be watching. And watching is exactly what I’m good at anyway!

At Coney Island, watching was always the sport for me, which worked out really nicely since the place is and always was, teeming with show-offs and good natured competitors. A large crowd and lots of applause was the equivalent to a medal, and pretty much anybody could capture one. As a spectator, admission was free and you could count on a repeat performance next week-end — or a completely new and different one.

Coney Island is an event — a kind of Olympics of humanity. You can stand in one place and see it all, and you might be both audience and actor without even knowing it. These are just a few of the contenders you might see in the on-going Coney Island Olympics. (Oh, and I posed for the arm wrestler on the left. Don’t be intimidated).

Beach gymnasts, Coney Island,  1967
Beach gymnasts, Coney Island, 1967
Beach boxers, Coney Island, 1969
Beach boxers, Coney Island, 1969

Beach boxer, Coney Island, 1969
Boxer on the beach, Coney Island, 1969
I’m still waiting for the Five man pile-up to be recognized by the International Olympic Committee since it requires great skill and always pleases the crowds.

Five man pile-up, Coney Island, 1949
Five man pile-up, Coney Island, 1949

In anticipation, some people get warmed-up on the way to Coney Island! I think this guy gets the gold!

Flexing on the subway, 1977
Flexing on the subway, 1977

Have fun watching the Olympics in Sochi, but always remember you can see good sports on the beach at Coney Island as soon as it gets warmer! Don’t miss it!

6 comments

  1. bob salzman

    I love this theme. And I suggest an event based upon another picture of yours: beach blanket toss. I think your photo captued the highest toss ever. I speak from years of experience as a lifeguard at Coney Island and Brighton Beach in the late 50’s.

    Oh, how we all dreamed of being champions in the sun.

    Thanks for the memories!

  2. Bruce Handy

    Inspirational photos, Harold. Today, 2/22/14, my friends and I open an exhibit of our Coney Island photos and today is the first time I’m seeing your extraordinary photos. I live in Coney Island and am a street photographer and our exhibit is in the Shooting Gallery on Surf Ave next to the Coney Island USA headquarters. It is where Denny’s Ice Cream was.

    So excited to have found your photos on the same day our exhibit opens. Truly inspirational.

    http://www.coneyisland.com/news/photo-exhibition-opening-stroll-through-coney-island-among-friends-saturday-222

    • Harold Feinstein

      Great work Bruce. So glad you found me….and that I found you. I remember the Shooting Gallery well. Keep on clicking! Coney Island is the center of the universe!

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