Coney Island: A Photo Essay

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I made my first visit to Coney Island yesterday. As I quickly learned, the place is full of contradictions.

Coney Island is simultaneously sleazy and serene, dilapidated and disarming, an eye sore and eye candy. Take a look in one direction and you may see gaudy store fronts and run-down buildings covered in graffiti . But look the other way and watch boats float by as you take in the glistening Atlantic Ocean.

In the following pictures, I try and capture these contradictions.

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The man above fascinated me. He could have placed himself and his beach chair anywhere. And yet, instead of opting for a prime space on the beach, he sets up shop on the boardwalk, opposite the beach view. His view? A vacant, polluted lot, much like the one in the background of the boardwalk bar pictured below.

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The boardwalk is the glue that brings it all together. Young and old take in the beach views in the shadows of the rides, restaurants and relics of yesteryear.

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When I saw the building below in the distance, I thought it was from the movie “Big.” I don’t know if I was right or wrong, as it was boarded up and shut down. But that didn’t stop some from making good use of its facade.

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The beach itself is a bit of a “Monet” — beautiful from a distance, but up close? Eh, not so much. The sand is littered with all sorts of debris that only faintly shows up in pictures.

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And yes, for the record, I stopped by Nathan’s. And now that I’ve done the original, I can safely stand by my assessment that Nathan’s is way overrated.

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