CONEY ISLAND MEMORIES: Coney Nights
CONEY ISLAND MEMORIES
When I heard that the boardwalk at Coney Island ‚ "along with the area's classic carnie atmosphere ‚" was under threat by real estate developers, I vowed to record the scene before it undergoes any fatal makeover. I went out there and started to shoot with an old Rolliflex twin lens, but the images were too plain, too documentary. I turned to my Dianas, my plastic camera collection, though I have shot with them only rarely for years, since I have been relying on my Hasselblad.
Traveling out to Coney Island brought me back to my childhood. I lived in Gravesend Brooklyn on 86th Street and Avenue W, where I had a direct view of the Parachute Jump from my bedroom window. On Friday evenings in the summer there were fireworks displays at the beach that the whole neighborhood came out to see. It was always impressive and fun. The parents would send the kids to L & B Spumoni Gardens a few blocks away for Italian ices. We would come back with our hands and arms sticky from the melting ices.
These return trips to Coney are bringing all of this back to me, and I am using the Diana to give that dreamy, forgotten time a new life. I am capturing as much of the transition of this historic playland as I can until she is gone, like so much of the wonderful character of our city, which is changing, shifting, disappearing.
New York, New York
At Left: Parachute Jump Memory-4
Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY 2007