Monday, June 25, 2007

Last Time This Year...

This is to be the last year for Coney Island, the last chance for the run-down summertime sidewalks, with their dusting of sand skittering in the breeze, to skin the knees of unwary children, those whose eyes wander everywhere but right in front of their noses.

The last summer for Astroland, the sole remaining amusement park in Brooklyn, the park whose sale cleared the final land obstacle for redevelopement, the acreage that provides the last piece of the puzzle for the ultimate disfigurement of the seaside dreamland.

Coney Island is a strange place. It's a place that tugs at the heartstrings of people who went there once, 20, 30, 40 years ago, who come back now and wonder what happened to the place, and why no one goes there anymore (ignoring the fact that they, themselves, haven't been there in 20, 30, 40 years). Did they not realize that mass cultural tastes as well as the technical advancement and sophistication of entertainment, not to mention its year-round availability, would surpass the seasonal offerings of seaside barkers and simple rides?

And there really isn't a whole lot to it these days, either. The Cyclone is on West 10th Street and Surf Avenue, Astroland fills the next block to West 12th Street (there's no W. 11 St. in Coney Island). Some Go-Kart tracks and batting ranges take up the next block to Stillwell Avenue, then the lots are vacant for the rest of the boardwalk to the baseball park and the parachute jump.

After that there's Nathan's on Surf Avenue of course, across from the subway terminal. There are a few minor arcades and food stands along either side of Surf back towards 10th and the roller coaster, but that's about it. The New York Aquarium is just east of the Cyclone, and if you went to elementary school in New York City, you've been to the New York Aquarium.

To be continued....

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

So now you have to go back again to capture "Shoot the Freak", pre-rehab Childs and the rest of Astroland...including the Ferris Wheel. We'll need your records in the coming years ahead when we look out over the parking lot and go, 'huh'?

Sharon said...

I love the way the passerby is exactly in the middle. Even with that towering thing looming over the viewer, that guy's the focus of the shot.