Sunday, 12 July 2009

Back to Coney Island

Coney Island is a special place: selling fun mixed with the sinister. Like most things in New York its has been renovated and sanitized down to a Gap friendly world, and theres little left to the glory that was ASTROLAND, except it seems quite clear that most f the employess have done hard time. If you're in New York I strongly recommend a visit there, as it may be your last chance to grab some of the scuzzy glamour. The well publicized FREAK SHOW is disappointing, but the Freak Show that is the public and employees, never ceases to deliver. The day I visited I almost got to be involved with a fight at Nathan's.(Which is not an advertized feature). The Cyclone is still the scariest rollercoaster in the world...splinters of wood fly off as you tumble towards your death. Even the Wonder Wheel is terrifying. Coney Island's history is dark and dank. I would have loved to have seen it when it was a " midget village" featuring 300 little people. Its steeped in urban myths, with alot of fires and deaths in the past. You constantly have the feeling of wanting to get out of there quick, that a disaster is waiting to happen. All this charm is set to the background music of the best hip hop mixed with the carny's weird Burrough's -esque rants. There was a plexiglas box with some mangy old mannequin that was bent over a toilet vomitting and shitting water out of his/her ass. Sorry I didnt get a photo of that, I was like deer in the headlights of wonder and disgust and confusion. I couldn't operate the camera.I can't stop thinking about it. It worked on so many levels. Like many sites in Coney Island, it really made an impact on me. I remember one of my first visits in the 1980's, I went on the ghost train in Dante's Inferno. After a few minutes on a rickey old train track, with a psycho in a soiled mummy costume jumping out and poking us, we got to the main room. In the middle of the pitch black room was a broken down mannequin with a ratty wig bathed in black light and neon coloured clothes, and a big sign reading, " Cindy Lauper she's soooo unusual!"???? Typically Dantes Inferno burnt down (something is always on fire at Coney Island). One of the most cracked out places on earth.

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