Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY, USA
After two years of living in the United States, I still find myself asking questions. As an observer, I cannot help but be intrigued by certain spaces that remain difficult to define, both visually and verbally. Coney Island is one of these spaces. A paradise at once kitschy and decadent, full of junk food both greasy and legendary, it makes me feel anything but indifferent. On hot days, those who haven't been able to claim a spot along the packed shoreline settle for a space beneath the plastic palm trees that spurt out jets of water onto unsuspecting sunbathers. Children of all ages, mainly of Hispanic origin, run amidst the crowds while their parents make vain attempts to cover them in lotion. Along the shore nearby looms Astroland, a rickety theme park about thirty years past its prime. A precursor to Disneyland and Las Vegas, the park serves as a backdrop to one of the most iconic images of Americana. I find this scene absolutely irresistible. It gives rise to a series of feelings that are difficult to express if not through the lens of a camera. To be present at Coney Island, even if solely as a visitor, also means becoming a part of recent history, a history Americans have created through images and soundtracks.