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Monthly Archives: June 2007
|Grotto of Lourdes, Emmitsburg, Maryland|
The Virgin Mary, atop the Pangborn Memorial Campanile. (a.k.a. belltower.)
I find myself perversely missing the Chinatown bus. Maybe I’ll ride it round-trip with no layover one of these days, just for kicks.
|Cleaning the beach (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY)|
I don’t live in New York. Like half of my generation, I’d love to. An interim solution for me has been to visit New York a lot. (Having a $35 travel expense hasn’t hurt.)
American tourists are lambasted for seeking constancy; sitting in the McDonald’s in Paris, or wandering in the Hotel Zone in Cancún, rather than spelunking the Catacombs or finding some fresh ruin to disrupt. I have to admit that I’ve sought consistency while traveling to New York – at Coney Island. Coney seemed an anachronism, a hearkening back to simpler and woolier times, Diane Arbus’s 1960s captivatingly androgynous, looming freakshow. It was potent stuff to a wide-eyed Southern-by-comparison boy, and it drew me back most visits, moth to SHOOT THE FREAK neon flame.
Arbus’s Coney is dying. A developer bought much of it, and is steadily destroying it. Astroland, mini-golf, hot dog vendors, it’s all to become condos and glossy cineplexes.
The ending has already begun. Here’s the mini-golf course in 2005, with a few die-hard players defying a summer squall:
|Diehards (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY) – 2005-07|
And here’s the same golf course a few weeks ago:
|The waterfall (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY)|
Half of Coney is already boarded up. Across the street from what used to be a go-cart racetrack:
|Grandpa’s Bus Line (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY)|
Since one fence picture begets another, here’s what’s left of the track itself:
|Go-cart tracks in ugly light (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY)|
Even the Aquarium’s mural has been rendered soulless. Here’s April 2006:
|Rasta Poseidon (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY) – 2006-04|
and May 2007: (At least Brighton Beach seems thus far unaffected.)
|At least it has sharks (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY) – 2007-05|
One bright spot among the devastation – Deno’s Wonder Wheel gets a new paint job:
|Man, that’s bright (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY) – 2007-05|
Needless to say, the new face of Coney is not universally loved; it’s being greeted with outrage and pointless snippiness. Neither reaction is likely to stop developers.
|The Cyclone (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY)|
The Cyclone’s supposed to live another day. Yet it’s a wooden rollercoaster, for cryin’ out loud; its days, too, are numbered, except perhaps as an oddity. (But being oddities didn’t help many of the other rides and theme parks.)
And so Coney Island, self-same for half a century, fades into yesteryear. I guess I’ll look for my consistency in Penn Station. (Ah, crap!) Toodles, Coney; see you around…
|Boardwalk (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY) – 2006-04|
Mother Teresa: (from the ever-authoritative Wikipedia)
When Mother Teresa received the [Nobel Peace Prize], she was asked, “What can we do to promote world peace?” Her answer was “Go home and love your family.”
During the filming of the documentary, footage taken in poor lighting conditions, particularly the Home for the Dying, was thought unlikely to be of usable quality by the crew. After returning from India, however, the footage was found to be extremely well lit. Muggeridge claimed this was a miracle of “divine light” from Mother Teresa herself. Others in the crew thought it more likely due to a new type of Kodak film.