Saturday, November 24, 2012

Coney Island Playland Arcade

     It is a sad but necessary fact of life that structures deteriorate. It is often best to see an abandoned building in its prime: walls of pristine paint before vandals can get to them, metal fans, hypodermic needles and ancient books before looters can get to them. Unfortunately, in the case of the Playland Arcade in Coney Island, I had arrived much too late.
     Many interesting items could once be found within the Arcade, such as disco balls or carnival prizes, left alone by the explorers who silently photographed, and went on their peaceful way. I arrived in Coney Island a few days after the hurricane, and the Arcade was nearly utterly demolished, a shell of its former self. Apparently the wind and the waves tore the boarding down, so anyone could come in.
     Coney Island is based on a principle of pleasure, stimulation, Hedonism. The makers wanted those who came to lose themselves in the sounds of the pounding music, the flashing lights, the smell of hot dogs wafting through the air. In contrast, I got sparse sunlight climbing down a collapsed rooftop, the scent of a ruined abandonment, and the lonely sounds of the wind pushing the waves onto the shore.
     The only remnants that hinted of the Golden Age of Coney Island were the festive and funny decorations on the wall, once so vibrant, left to pathetically fade into the walls.
     It is a sad but necessary fact of life that people deteriorate. Perhaps this is what I find interesting in the Playland Arcade. It reflects our inevitable fate, the one that you and I must endure.

                                This next series of shots assesses the hurricane damage.

                                 In a city that never sleeps, the busy station had to be shut down.


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