CONEY ISLAND – The 29th Annual Sand Sculpture competition in Coney Island attracted more than 10,000 visitors to the beach to see sand sculptures that told stories from participants from around the country, according to the organizers, Brooklyn Community Services and the Alliance for Coney Island.
This year’s contest winner was Joe Slobodia of Long Island who won with his U.S.A themed
castle and complex. He and his buddy Frank Russo have been building sand-castles for 25 years.
“We would take the family and the kids to the beach and it sort of evolved into building these more elaborate sand-castles,” Solbodia said.
Gary Feliciano of Sheepshead Bay won the individual prize for his sand depiction of a woman climbing a mountain.
“I made a woman climbing a mountain because it represents the future of women and the future is now,” Feliciano said. “It’s time for women to rise up so she’s climbing a mountain. I did it for the women because this is the year of the woman – climbing the highest mountain and every mountain.”
Taking the best team castle was Nelson Mercado of Williamsburg and John Martinez of Dyker Heights who won for best group effort of their depiction of a Disney like fantasy land of castles and trees in the sand.
“That’s what we enjoy doing – we do it for the kids and they enjoy it and it makes people feel good,” Mercado said.
Other notables was a portrait in the sand of musician Lee Lawless by his wife Marina of
‘I did it because he is an amazing musician and an amazing person – I love this guy,” his wife said.
John Woodard of New Jersey did a man locked in a jail of his own making.
“There are two ways to look at this – you give the right answer to a question and then you give the truth, and it represents the conflict that people face,” Woodard said.
Rachel Luka was joined by Stephanie and Cathie Nicholas of Bushwick where they made the Statue of Liberty swimming in the Hudson.
“We just wanted to get a little New York in there – Lady Liberty is standing there in the hot sun holding the torch and so she takes a swim to get a hot dog at Nathan’s,” Luka said.