Thursday, July 30, 2009

coney island's fate decided... goodbye, beauty

artist's rendering of the "new" coney island. via the daily news.

i am a big fan of coney island. been going there since i was a kid. now we live only about 10 minutes from the amusement area. we attend the hot dog eating contest every year -- even took little miss anna jae there for her first of our annual tradition.

there's something magical about the area. yes, there are questionable characters. yes, the boardwalk is in dire need of some repair. yes, maybe some of the rides could be safer. and yes, maybe the surrounding area is in need of an economic pick-me-up.

but still, the magic remains. the colors of the rides. the hand-painted signage on the boardwalk storefronts. the mermaid parade. the freak show! these are parts of history. on a weekday afternoon, when the beach is not nearly as crowded, you can really see how much fun coney island was in its hayday, and how much fun it still is, if you really take it in.
photo via la galeria.

boardwalk beauty.

coney island bath house.

and now, it's all about to change. the city council voted yes on the revamping of coney island yesterday, complete with high-rise hotels and an indoor amusement area, so that it can be open year-round. i understand the desire to bring new jobs and a new life to the neighborhood. but the way they are planning it seems as though they are just going to stamp out the life from what already exists. what made it famous in the first place.

maybe this is a larger commentary -- maybe new isn't always better. maybe we can preserve the old while using it to bring in more people, more business. maybe, sometimes, they just don't make 'em like they used to.

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