Category Archives: NY

sunshine

Leeds Pond Preserve
Leeds Pond Preserve Click to enlarge. Copyright 2007 Chris Combs.
 
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Oded Balilty – “Inside the flag, he looked so comfortable.”

Today's Express, page 15.

“They came to pay their respects to those people that were killed there — not exactly for the country. That is why it was very interesting to see this guy cover himself with his flag.”

I interviewed Pulitzer-winning AP photographer Oded Balilty for the “Afterimage” section in today’s Express. Here’s more from the interview.

On the Gowanus at 5PM

Park Slope-ish, Brooklyn, NY
Park Slope-ish, Brooklyn, NY Click to enlarge. Copyright 2007 Chris Combs.
 

Authorized Parking Only - Brooklyn, NY
Authorized Parking Only – Brooklyn, NY Click to enlarge. Copyright 2007 Chris Combs.
 

Nightflowers

Buffalo, NY

Buffalo, NY
Buffalo, NY Click to enlarge. Copyright 2007 Chris Combs.
 

Also from Coney

The Coney Island of Tomorrow

Cleaning the beach (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY)
Cleaning the beach (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY) Click to enlarge. Copyright 2007 Chris Combs.
 

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
Diehards (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY) – 2005-07 Click to enlarge. Copyright 2007 Chris Combs.
 

And here’s the same golf course a few weeks ago:

The waterfall (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY)
The waterfall (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY) Click to enlarge. Copyright 2007 Chris Combs.
 

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) Click to enlarge. Copyright 2007 Chris Combs.
 

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)
Go-cart tracks in ugly light (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY) Click to enlarge. Copyright 2007 Chris Combs.
 

Even the Aquarium’s mural has been rendered soulless. Here’s April 2006:

Rasta Poseidon (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY) - 2006-04
Rasta Poseidon (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY) – 2006-04 Click to enlarge. Copyright 2007 Chris Combs.
 

and May 2007: (At least Brighton Beach seems thus far unaffected.)

At least it has sharks (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY) - 2007-05
At least it has sharks (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY) – 2007-05 Click to enlarge. Copyright 2007 Chris Combs.
 

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 Click to enlarge. Copyright 2007 Chris Combs.
 

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 (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY) Click to enlarge. Copyright 2007 Chris Combs.
 

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
Boardwalk (Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY) – 2006-04 Click to enlarge. Copyright 2007 Chris Combs.