Who is Joey Coney Island?

A strange Coney Island mystery has been discreetly decorating the streets of New York. Over the past months, Coney Island graffiti pieces have been popping up all over the city! I first started noticing them around Coney Island, now they are everywhere!

There’s even one on the door of my past/future shop which “Joey Coney Island” kicked me out of! The artist, an unknown Coney Islander, is making a statement using the image of Tilly, the Coney Island Funny Face along with the title Joey CI!? I am so curious… What is the message this artist is trying to convey?

I can’t help but jokingly wonder…. Is Joe Sitt’s street team responsible? The only Joey Coney Island I can remember was revealed in a New York Times article that was published in 2006. The article was a publicity showpiece about Joe Sitt, president of Thor Equities, the developer who bought most of Coney Island! The smoke and mirrors in this article tried to portray Mr. Sitt a nice, local guy who wanted to help the neighborhood. The article claimed that Joe Sitt was known to the local community as Joey Coney Island! That was the first I (or anyone in Coney Island) had ever heard of “Joey Coney Island!”.

Is this one last attempt from Mr. Sitt to try to look “street” and like a cool Coney Island local? Is the artist making a statement about the redevelopment of Coney Island? Are they making a statement about the fabulousness of Coney Island’s past trying to emerge through the confusing blur of hope and false promises of the present? Why is the Funny Face often portrayed blindfolded by the words “Joey CI”?

In some instances, why do the words appear like a signature, taking ownership for the decomposition of the surrounding landscape? Who is this graffiti artist, embellishing the city with this symbol of Coney Island? Mr. Sitt, is that you? From the depths of the smoke and mirrors, who is the REAL Joey Coney Island?

Check out Pablo Jonsey’s wonderful slideshow of Joey CI pieces!

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