Coney Island 500 words

After reading ‘Inquiry By Design’ and visiting Coney Island for the third time now, this time in the early morning (8 AM), I gained a better understanding of the neighborhood. All three visits were very quiet. Despite the many parked cars on the streets, only few people were in sight. This most recent visit was very quiet because no stores were open yet and there were only few other people on the boardwalk. Some were jogging and others seemed to just be going for a walk. There were even fewer people on the sidewalks. Looking back at my first visit, which was closer to noon, I remembered the man who scolded me for trying to walk on ‘his’ part of the beach while he was feeding the birds. I wondered why he was so territorial and considered the option of linking his behavior to the emptiness of the space. So few people seem to occupy the space during the winter that he may assume control over the space. Another sight from that visit was a pile of dirty clothes laid out on the sidewalk right outside a construction site. This was a trace left behind that I used to make my own inferences about the neighborhood. Although I don’t know the background of how the clothes ended up in that exact spot and why they were just abandoned, I can infer that during the winter, this neighborhood is not so properly watched over or taken care of. Therefore, the few who do occupy the space may feel very much in control of it. I also did notice the abundance of art that fills up the neighborhood. From the obvious Coney Island Art Walls to the subtle mosaic structures, art can be found all around the neighborhood. At night the whole area is lit up with colorful lights; the rides are lit up, even though they are inactive during the winter time, and the stores are open with neon signs hanging above. I wondered how these stores are all still in business despite the lack of people around at all hours of the day, but then I remembered, having gone there as a child, that the area is extremely different during the summer. In the summer, the amusement park is opened and filled with all different kinds of people. I found it fascinating that the stores continue to open and the lights are constantly lit throughout the year. It’s beauty comes from the silence, peacefulness, and vibrance; I loved how something so bright, fun, and colorful could be so quiet and calming at the same time. It was difficult to observe the behavior of the people in this area, simply because of that it lacked, however what I collected from my visits is that some people may be there to be alone. It seems like an escape for some people. The boardwalk has an endless feel to it and the sound of the wind acts like white noise, blocking others from hearing your phonically or blocking out the conversation of those around you. So far, Coney Island to me is a space of freedom and silence.

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