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Coney Island R.I.P

Coney Island January 2009
Coney Island January 2009
It's been common knowledge for a while now that the old-time, seedy charm of Coney Island was on its way out due to a massive re-developement plan. But the photos of the shuttered shops on the boardwalk plastered with for lease signs still comes as a shock to me. As easy as it is to rag on gentrification, the fact is, most folks (especially us parents) enjoy the benefits of a sleek, clean, amenity-laden neighborhood. And yet, as a native New Yorker who doesn't like change, I often find myself complaining bitterly about the trajectory of the city. That's when my 73-year-old mom (also born and bred in the Big Apple) shuts me down by saying, "The only thing that doesn't change about New York is the fact that it always changes." Still I can't help feeling like something is wrong in the city. Hard times usually inspire a certain amount of fight in its citizens, but right now, everyone I see just seems so tired. Yes, I know there have been Save Coney Island rallies . But the people protesting look exhausted. This quote from Dianna Carlin, Coney Island glamor queen and erstwhile proprietor of the Lola Staar boutique on the boardwalk, sums up what I'm talking about. An unwavering supporter of her community for almost a decade, now that she's out, Carlin told The Observer : "My New Year's resolution is I just want more stability in my life. I'm just tired of fighting. I can't live my life like this anymore. I'm getting too old for this." If we are headed back to the '70s , as many folks fear, looks like we're on our way with little spunk. God I hope there's still a Mermaid Parade this year.
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