CONEY: THE WHOLE WORLD IS A SUMMER
There is, in the colorful wall of The New York Aquarium, just across the sea, in one of the busiest points of the boardwalk,
a quote attributed to George Tilyou: "If Paris is France, then Coney Island, between June and September, is the world. "
The sentence, dated from the late 19th century, when the place was starting to live it's glory days, serves as a summary for
the rich and tumultuous history of this neighborhood located at the southern end of Brooklyn's district. Born there huge amusement parks – precursors of those who would do the fame of Florida, about 100 years later –, unlikely shows oddities (known worldwide as "freak shows") and even some of the first experiences with incubators for premature babies. Everything offered in the eyes of the respectable and insatiable public.
The parks were mostly consumed by devastating fires. From the mid-20th century, the location, as well as most of New York was dominated by violent youth gangs and lived decades of economic decline.
Coney Island just sketched a reaction at the turn of the century, rebuilding itself around the omnipresent wonder-wheel built in 1920, the charming wooden roller coaster, considered a National Heritage of the United States, and a sense of community supported by the urgency of preserving – more than the remaining parks, more than the bustling boardwalk, but mostly
a typical American lifestyle and a special way of having fun.
The Tilyou phrase painted on the wall is also a welcome invitation to the photographic experience that follows. An immersion in the universe of lights, sounds, laughs and faces of people from all around the world. An innocent flirtation between two elderly Russians, balls that become true collective trances, children flying kites and even half-clothed women. Cubans, Guatemalans, Chinese, Americans, Brazilians and citizens of many other countries are there.
The toys from ancient times recorded by tourists with cell phone in hand; a world that has built a long time ago,
side by side with a new world which is built day after day.
Impossible to simply take pictures of a place like this. One lives, breathes, sweats. For each recorded image, other thousand were lost in the finger that does not respond or in the respect that prevailed. But life persists in Coney. As diverse
and beautiful that never tires to leave photographing.