I am a native New Yorker and have lived through various post-war eras: the burnt-out, crime-ridden city of the 1970s; the thriving art scene of the 1980s; the Giuliani 1990s that essentially killed nightlife and, by proxy, the once thriving art scene of the 1980s; and the post 9-11 Bloomberg era that fostered the current state of crushing gentrification. One place I was hoping that would remain immune to the nightmare that is gentrification is Coney Island.
I have LOVED Coney Island for my entire life. The most interesting New Yorkers are not found on the Highline, but on the Coney Island boardwalk. Ten years ago, a close friend offered to take me out on my birthday. I said that I wanted to spend the day at Coney Island. He looked at me and said, “ I didn’t think you were the Six Flags type.” I replied, “You’re right, I am not. Coney Island is nothing like Six Flags.” My friend, who wasn’t from New York City, had never been to Coney Island. In short, he still occasionally mentions our day there a decade ago. He came to understand what I love about Coney Island: unlike Six Flags, it is completely random, unexpected and uniquely a New York City experience.
I visited Coney Island in July 2016 after an absence of about three years. I was surprised by what I found: an Applebee’s opened as well as other “trendy” and “high end” establishments. I prefer the independent, mom and pop establishments that serve delicious knishes, cotton candy and corn on the cob. This past summer, I returned several times with my camera to capture the real Coney Island of real New Yorkers before it becomes indistinguishable from any other big box amusement park or worse, a resort for the rich. I lovingly present this photo essay of Coney Island, Summer 2016.
I was not the only one trying to capture the rhythm of life here.
Photos in Blue.
People Watching the People Watcher.
Capturing the Boardwalk.
Coney Island is not just about the sites, it offers a lot with regards to sounds and music. Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, on most Friday nights during the summer months, hosts Karaoke and other musical talent contests.
Boardwalk Bucket Drummers.
Father Daughter Karaoke.
RIDES AND SITES
There is a lot to see and photograph. Rides, scenery and people!
Loopy and Framed.
Coney Island Color Splash.
Coney Island Corn.
Only One Cyclone.
Sunset from the Top of the Wonder Wheel.
The most interesting aspect of Coney Island are the truly colorful people.
Chanel on the Boardwalk.
Parkour on the Beach.
MY FAVORITE ONE
I love this photo because it happened purely by chance: I framed it in such a way that only the last three letters of the word Cyclone appear with only one passenger on the ride. I was amazed when I got home and downloaded it. What are the chances? The first thought I had when I saw this was that sometimes you alone, are enough.