If this were a summer afternoon, the stalls at left would be open and you'd see people playing all sorts of carnival games, like the bathroom-themed Stinky Feet. The stalls at right, however, would still be shuttered. The property on that side of the walkway, including the 1880s Grashorn Building (said to be Coney Island's oldest structure), has been vacant for several years now, courtesy of Joe Sitt, Coney Island's infamous "un-developer".
Looming in the distance is the Wonder Wheel. If you look closely, you'll notice that all of its cars are missing. It turns out that they get taken down each year during the off-season, and their return to the Wheel "is the first sign of spring in Coney Island. Being there to see the 24 cars go up, the Swinging ones first and then the Stationary, is like seeing crocuses bloom before your eyes."
This honorary street sign marks the location on the Coney Island Boardwalk where members of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club meet every Sunday from November to April for their weekly dip in the Atlantic Ocean. According to its website, the club was founded in 1903 and is the oldest winter bathing organization in the United States.
I saw a number of blue ribbons in the area today, but I couldn't figure out what they meant — until I passed by what turned out to be the house of Wenjian Liu, one of the two police officers (the other was Rafael Ramos) gunned down in their patrol car in Bed-Stuy on December 20. After seeing a little memorial sign in front of the house, I realized that the ribbons had been put up by neighbors as a tribute to the murdered officers.