R.I.P. Don Ferris
It is with great sadness that Coney Island USA must announce that we have lost a long time friend and loyal co-worker, Don Ferris. Don died of a heart attack on Thursday, January 4, 2018.
A Coney Island native, Master Carpenter, ride mechanic, and much more, he was involved with CIUSA since the early 1980's and was integral to the remodeling of Coney Island USA, from our expansion into the full Child’s Building in 2007, the reconstruction after Superstorm Sandy in 2012, and continued to work for our improvement until the day he died. Coney Island USA would not be what it is today without Don’s efforts.
After brief stints with the US Military and the NYPD, Don became involved with local amusement work and eventually became a traveling showman working East Coast carnivals from Canada to Texas. In the last decade of his life he worked throughout the neighborhood, building and rebuilding aspects on nearly all properties beloved by Coney Island Fans. He had worked for McCullough’s Kiddie Park on the Bowery, B&B Carousell, was featured in Amy Nicholson’s 2012 documentary “ZIPPER: Coney Island’s Last Wild Ride.” And contributed source material to Dick Zigun's play "The Ride Inspector's Nightmare".
Often found at the Freak Bar at the end of a long day, Don was a working class hero with sand in his shoes, exemplifying everything that makes Coney Island the Peoples Playground.
We will miss him dearly and cherish the time he was with us.