Wednesday, September 30, 2009

'The Prince of Mermaid Avenue' at Coney Island Film Festival

The Coney Island History Project sends word that "The Prince of Mermaid Avenue," a film by Charles Denson, will be premiering on Opening Night of The Coney Island Film Festival, October 2, Friday, 7:30 pm at Coney Island USA.

Here's a description of the film:

Jimmy Prince was the last link to what Mermaid Avenue meant to Coney Island in the “good old days.” The Avenue was once a bustling street of family-run mom-and-pop stores. Each block had bakeries, luncheonettes, five-and-dimes, clothing and shoe stores, furniture stores, delis, and butchers. It was a tight-knit community.

The city’s urban renewal plan of the 1960s called for the demolition of the entire West End, including Mermaid Avenue, and few businesses survived the development onslaught. Jimmy Prince transformed his Major Meat Market into the soul of an earlier era, a cordial oasis of
tradition and hope, a throwback to what Coney Island was and what many dreamed it could be again one day. Prince worked at Major’s for sixty years, seven days a week, twelve hours a day, and formed a unique relationship with a community that hungered for respect.

When he finally faced retirement, it became a painful process that dragged on for over a year, just as the city was heralding another master plan. He dreaded making a formal announcement about the store’s closing, but his friends could sense it was coming. His loyal customers expressed their love for him and their fear for a future without him. This film documents Jimmy’s decision to retire and the painful process of leaving the Coney Island community that he loved and supported for so many years.

Screening venue:
Coney Island Museum, 1208 Surf Ave. 2nd Floor
(please note: this venue is not wheelchair accessible)

Advance tickets & info @

Photo courtesy of the Coney Island History Project

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