The Brooklyn residential and neighborhood Coney Island is among the favorite summer hotspots on the East Coast, known for its iconic and historic amusement parks. Originally an island disconnected from the mainland of Brooklyn, the landfill turned it into a peninsula. Signature rides like the Wonder Wheel, B&B Carousell, and Coney Island Cyclone are just some of the many reasons people visit. There are plenty of public parks dedicated to other activities like Surf Playground and Leon S. Kaiser Park. Having always been intrigued by the vibrant life in Coney, Lomographer Ariela Parisi a.k.a. elaparisi visited the place to capture the colorful spirit she loves.
I am from Argentina and I grew up watching a lot of American movies where I would see county fairs and attractions parks. We have similar things in Argentina but nothing quite spectacular close to my hometown in Rosario. I remember visiting Coney Island for the first time 4 years ago while traveling solo and I went there at 9 am. Of course, the park was closed and the place pretty much empty. At that time I was doing digital photography and having the place entirely for myself was amazing. Then I came across the chronicles about Coney Island written by the Cuban writer José Martí, while he was living in the US during the 19th century.
I was curious about visiting the place again but this time I went there in rush hour to see if many years later there was still any reminiscence of what I read. I could totally relate to what Martí was describing and I enjoyed taking pictures on Coney Island with all its temporary inhabitants on it. I think that Coney Island, with its vibrant colors and cacophonic sounds, might be one of the places where it's part of the quintessential American lives and I tried to capture that.
You can find a wide variety of people around since Coney Island is a great destigmatization for tourists and locals to visit. Regarding restaurants, there are several places where you can go. The most famous one is Nathan’s with its classic hotdogs and delicious lemonade. My favorite part about eating in Coney Island is that you can share a table with strangers and have a conversation while eating.
The last time that I went, I had seafood and sat next to a guy from Puerto Rico who did his study abroad in Argentina, and we had a great conversation about my country. For dessert, I recommend ice cream. I am very picky with ice cream and in Coney Island, I had one of the best gelatos that I have ever tried. If you go to Coney´s Cone I recommend two flavors: Nutella and Milano Cookies.
Coney Island has taught me that the same place can exist for many years and be able to keep and change its essence completely at the same time. I am sure that the feeling of excitement and enjoyment that I get to experience whenever I visit Luna Park is very similar to the one experienced by José Martí during the 19th century. And I think that there is a little bit of magic in that. I love the idea of myself 20 years in the future looking at my pictures and grasping from them a little bit of that same excitement.
There is a great collection of graffiti art around that I did not get to photograph during my last visit that is awesome. This is a must if you like street art. Moreover, closer to the beach there is an aquarium that always has interesting props outside like the big octopus coming out of the building. Coney Island is a very dynamic place and there is something new to see. However, the attractions and the rides are always there and the entire park is super colorful. I love the different games that you can find just outside the park, they give several types of prizes and it's fun to sit and wait for someone to play and capture that moment.
Before doing this little trip to Coney Island I spent a lot of time looking at pictures here at Lomography. I was trying to find images with vibrant colors and see which film was used. I decided that I wanted to try Kodak Ektar 100 at Coney and I loved the results. I will try to make this film my “summer” film. For this situation, I used my Leica C1 which is a point-and-shoot camera because there are so many things going on and everything happens so fast at the park that I thought it was the best way to hunt and capture those fun moments. Searching for inspiration from my fellow colleagues here at Lomography has been a great way to discover and explore new types of film for me and I will keep doing that in the future.
I live 40 minutes away from NYC and because of the pandemic, I did not get the chance to visit the city for over a year. Being away helped me focus on my quiet neighborhood in New Jersey and find nice places and people around me. That changed my perspective a little bit and I think that you could see it reflected in my LomoHome, which right now is a mixture between urban landscapes and more suburban ones. I do not have a preference and I try to enjoy what both environments have to offer. I am fully vaccinated now and that gave me a lot of peace of mind to go out there and start taking pictures again.
Following the amusement park theme, I just shot an entire roll of abandoned attractions in Michigan that I will be sharing with all of you very soon. In the short term, I am also planning some little trips for this summer and will keep taking pictures to share with my family in Argentina. In that way, they can get to see the US with me. I guess that taking pictures in the US is the equivalent of writing my own travel chronicles.
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