Coney Island: holiday neighborhood of Brooklyn
January 1, 1970
by Vanessa Roca
Coney Island, a holiday district of Brooklyn
Coney Island is disputed between the feeling of nostalgia for observe the remains of an amusement park built in the early twentieth century and the brash American tourism eating fast food on the floor in front of a public locker rooms. So, Coney Island is one of the most hated and most loved New York areas.
A day in Coney Island
The intensity of the color of snapshots become desaturated when I start to see the scene. It seems as if people were complying with the tradition of spending a summer day on the beach at Coney Island. A sacred tradition that isn’t never breaks: that unifies the family and feeds the enthusiasm of the smallest of the family. A summer without Coney Island is not a summer.
The island seems has been frozen in time. New Yorkers, especially the lower middle class, continue to make Coney Island their vacation spot. The complex consists in the remaining amusement park area called Luna Park, the beach and a promenade full of fast food establishments and souvenirs.
Sacred summer day: Luna Park and the beach
The beach is full of families sitting down above sheets and all kinds of umbrellas or substitutes that allow them to eat, drink and listen to music. Almost every two umbrellas have a transistor from the rising rap or Latin music, that convert the beach in a chaotic rhythms disco music. All the parents send their children to the sea to have fun. Most of them do not swim, they only expects the waves to jump above them.
After the beach, it’s time to go through the locker room, leading into and out of the sand, to finish the day in the Luna Park. The more daring climb to Cyclone (roller coaster), Wonder Wheel (Ferris wheel) or the Parachute Jump (leap). The others sit on any piece of the promenade, eating a hog dog at Nathan’s, the most famous US hotdogs and chips place.
Live music: flowing with the musicians street
In the distance, Latin music is making pleasant to a crowd of people that are listening. The curious were in the background. Experts take their plastic chair to rest. Start the show. There are some brave that they do not stop dancing, others interspersed periods of dancing with break moments in the chair. Most know each other and greet each other as if they expected each other. A piece of the promenade becomes an impromptu dance hall where Puerto Ricans come every Saturday to dance salsa and merengue.
Multi-arts center defending the american popular culture
Coney Island USA operates a multi-arts center in a landmark building in the heart of Coney Island. They exists to defend the honor of American popular culture through innovative exhibitions and performances. Presenting and producing exciting new works, our approach is rooted in mass culture and the traditions of P.T. Barnum, dime museums, burlesque, circus sideshows, vaudeville, and Coney Island itself. Preserving and championing a set of uniquely American visual and performing art forms, they seek to create an international forum for cultural preservation and discourse, and where Coney Island represents these impulses, they strive to make it once again a center for live art and entrepreneurial spirit.
They produce and present programming in three unique venues: the Coney Island Museum, Sideshows by the Seashore and the Shooting Gallery/Arts Annex. Serving both New York City and an international community that includes visitors to Coney Island and enthusiasts of various cultural forms, our signature activities include the Mermaid Parade, the Coney Island Circus Sideshow, the Coney Island Museum, Coney Island Film Festival and new theatrical work.
Contextualizing: Coney Island inside New York City
New York City is the most populous city of United States of America. It is impossible to understand in all its complexity, if we do not desgranamos the city into small pieces. New York is composed of five major boroughs (districts): Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. When you go from one district to another, it may appear until you change to city.
I spent my first days in a house in Brooklyn where I started to practice my English at night with a beer in hand and talking on one of those fire stairs. My host was Sarah, an American friend of my traveling companion Clara. A young designer, who worked in the heart of Manhattan in a recognized fashion company.
Many different realities in Brooklyn
The only thing that connects Manhattan with Brooklyn are the three bridges of the East River. Brooklyn is the most populous district of the city of New York and is also the most ethnically diverse hosts for its traditional attraction of migrants. From north to south, we can find a neighborhood of modern young artists (Williamsburg), an area where mandated by the African-American population (Bedford Stuyvesant), a Jewish-Orthodox neighborhood (Borought Park), numerous Hispanic neighborhoods or Russian and population Ukrainian (Coney Island).
Understanding New York…
That’s why New York can not be understood in a day, or a week. New York needs of many months or years to explore every small neighborhood, different from the next. That’s why New York will surprise every day. You can not get an idea of what the city is until you say goodbye, and when you come back, you can only talk about what you saw, because what you can not live you can not even see it coming you.