CONEY ISLAND June 2006
Since having relocated to NYC, I have visited Coney Island three times. Naturally, I could not resist documenting the spectacular decay surrounding Astroland. Such an inclination is by no means special, as many artists and tourist have proven over the decades. Indeed, the area surrounding Astroland lends itself to being photographed. However, I feel compelled to share what I consider a very personal and moving experience. Perhaps best communicated through parts 1 and 3, my interests lie in contrasts: floating/solid, fun/decay, fantasy/urban.
Part 1: Hazy Daytime.
Coney Island Skyline Sublime.
The Cyclone: This Ride is Really Scary. My neck hurt afterwards. I was struck by the juxtaposition of the solid background and transparent foreground.
Bruno Lansco. This sign was painted by artist Bruno Peinado, in conjunction with the “Dreamland Artist Club” exhibition by Creative Time. These people didnt hire me, but I still like their projects. I took this picture because I was struck by the symmetrical contrast between Pienedo’s aesthetic “kitsch” sign, and the overlaid and very much anti-aesthetic “LANSCO” sign. The implied discord between art and vacancy seems appropriate for Coney Island.
Boardwalk Repair Versus Leisure Riot. Meanwhile the hazy parachute jump watches silently.
Happy People Everywhere.
Towers of Fun. I could not get enough of Coney Island’s sobering backdrop of public housing towers. Astroland’s fantasy spectacle of fun is forever tempered by this very real and unchanging urban condition.
Part 2: Mermaid Parade 2006
This “orchestra” was by and far the most well practiced musical outfit to participate in the parade.
Nuclear Family Sea Freaks. This parade was filled with lots of pasties.
According Pact. Yes, this is exactly what it looks like: a band of accordion wielding mermaids, playing Beatles cover in unison.
Sea Queen Color Kart. A fitting float for a deserving mermaid.
Part 3: Nightime Egress
Weiner Glow. Nathans hotdog stand, all lit up with time lapse.
Coney Island Street Components. West 12th Street leading into Astroland.
Dormant Fun. West 12th Street again. For me, this unused building really captured the psychic vacancy that makes Coney Island so beautiful.