Coney Island - a kind of circus for the soul.
At the very beginning of the twentieth century, Coney Island was the quintessential American resort: the birthplace of the hot dog, the enclosed amusement park, and the roller coaster. Its history is one of breathtaking transformation and reinvention. Celebrated at its pinnacle for its glittering amusement parks and its enormous crowds of visitors, it was in earlier times a vast seaside pleasure ground with grand hotels, racetracks, beer gardens, gambling dens, concert saloons, and dance halls. It gained notoriety as Sodom by the Sea long before it gave rise to Steeplechase and Luna Park. Visitors gawked at the Elephant Colossus, at Pain’s pyrotechnic spectacles and at Little Egypt’s erotic gyrations. Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show had its premiere seasons at Brighton Beach and Harry Houdini worked his wonders there. Sigmund Freud paid a visit to Coney Island’s Dreamland and reported to have remarked “The only thing about America that interests me is Coney Island.” Coney’s shimmering, incandescent seascape left writers breathlessly straining for adequate words to describe it. Some envisioned a substantial city of brick by the sea. But Coney Island was destined to be a city of lath and of fire, a place of transformation and illusion. A city of transitory wonders.
photographs by @eimyfig and I