During the last three years I've been having dreams of what I would feel like when I get to see Coney Island again. Upon my one-day business trip to New York this week, I had to make it over to Coney Island to see, in person, all that I've been missing out on over the last three years. Yes, I'm embarrassed to say that I have been away for so long from this beloved place, which I claim to love so much. Through the rigid winds of southern Brooklyn, I hopped off the F train and jumped onto Surf Avenue and...there it was. "Finally, I'm here", I said.
My favorite little place in the world. And there it was...in person; the fabulous grand gates of Luna Park. And there they were...a few henchmen working on the destruction of the Shore Hotel and Henderson buildings. I cringed and jogged down Surf Avenue while my hands and ears were hurting with the nipping of the winds and hoping that the bank building was still there. I was hoping that all those picture of its demise that I've been seeing on the internet were not accurate. I was hoping it was just a nightmare. But as I neared the Coney Island USA building I heard the bulldozer. I thought on, one hand I should have been here to make "Thorasick Park 2" (a sequel to my little short back in '07 about Thor's destruction on Stillwell Avenue). But on the other I got mad at the city for not stepping in to stop this madness. All they've done is once again give greedy developers the freedom to destroy what's best for Coney Island. So, there it was...or wasn't. The Coney Island Bank Building's remains lay there resting on its own pile of rubble. I was sad and angry. I got closer to take a picture of the shame as two demo henchman gave me a look. I was not going to let them stop me and I walked onto the lot and aimed my camera. As I gave my condolences I walked around through the frigid air which occasionally blew my hood off and slapped my ears with a brisk painful frost. I wasn't used to this cold since being in Florida for the three years.
As I walked out of the Coney Island Beach Shop on Stillwell Avenue I bumped into Coney connoisseur and author of "Coney Island Lost and Found" Charlie Denson. He was videotaping the Henderson building as more demo henchman were viciously at work. I was glad to see him again after so long. He expressed a similar sympathy with losing the historic buildings and the long-standing businesses along the boardwalk. We departed and I gave my goodbye to Coney Island...for now. I know it won't be long before I head back up. And when I do I hope to see a better place. I hope I don't see empty lots. I hope to find Ruby's open to grab a beer. I hope to see the gates of Paul's Daughter open to gorge on a funnel cake as a I look up and take another snapshot of that Astro burger boy. And I hope that time it will be to stay!
[view slideshow of Coney in a day after the jump]
Flickr Slideshow "Coney In A Day"