On Sunday, my parents, Joel and I went to Coney Island. Coney Island has always kind of been tawdry, run down, a place for prostitution, gambling. Even in the 1800s, that's what it was, frankly. They're pretty much tearing it all down once autumn comes and putting up condos. The truth is, though, that the latest "urban renewal" proposal is just one of dozens of brilliant ideas developers have had throughout the centuries. Yeah, centuries. People have been trying "to clean up this town!" since the Spanish-American War. Seriously, Coney Island had problems with gang wars in the 1950s. That's saying something.
Walking on the boardwalk is actually dangerous, with all the boards coming up, splintered wood that nearly slices your ankle when someone else steps on it. I only packed my small camera (okay, it's a 20D, but that's small for me!), one lens, one digital card. I mostly brought it along to take the usual silly pictures of us, the ordinary weekend pics that fill my flickr account.
I wasn't expecting it to be quite as run down as it is- graffiti everywhere, boarded up businesses. The place practically breathes with an audible death rattle. I was completely, totally inspired. I almost wish that I worked for the T!mes, that Coney Island was close enough to my coverage area that it would have warranted an entire picture story. If I had thought of it, I would have been there for Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, the most recent hot dog eating contest. I would have tried to get access to the people who still put themselves on display on the "live freak show." Really, they're just working actors in New York, though that is a rarity in itself, depending on who you talk to.
In any case, something captured my imagination, something took hold in my mind's eye. Joel and I definitely plan to go back at least once to do more work like this, on the last summer at Coney Island. Here you are, a complete departure from my usual color palette, cropping style and composition.
For the moment, I'm calling it "Beautiful Decay."