News From Coney Island.. and Pics Taken Today of Coney Island
My daughter Dina took these pics in this article.. she lives a safe distance from the water near Kings Highway, far enough to be safe but not too far to drive over and look around. She loves the ocean, the beach, the sky... so do I.
I grew up in Miami Beach...the only real image I had of Coney Island was the book cover of one of my favorite books of poetry. A Coney Island of the Mind, by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and it's iconic cover which to me was my mental visual that was Coney Island. An eclectic series of poems... and a black and white cover to a beautiful book.
"New Directions Publishing, 1958 - 93 pages
The title of this book is taken from Henry Miller's Into the Night Life and expresses the way Lawrence Ferlinghetti felt about these poems when he wrote them during a short period in the 1950's-as if they were, taken together, a kind of Coney Island of the mind, a kind of circus of the soul. Ferlinghetti's A 'Coney Island of the Mind' has become a modern classic. It has been translated into nine languages and there are now three-quarters of a million copies in print."
Years later I fell in love with Henry Miller and never realized the other poet I loved also loved Henry. I was young, I loved the cover and thought the poems were about Coney Island.. a place I had often heard of but had never been to..
I opened up the book and fell in love with the prose... the thoughts and the cadence of the voice of Ferlinghetti even if I couldn't find a lot of poems about the beach or about Coney Island.
"and I am waiting
for the lost music to sound again
in the Lost Continent
in a new rebirth of wonder"
So it sits on my bookcase between The Sun Also Rises (the only Hemingway Book I like) and Ragtime, a slim marker between two bigger books..almost lost in the crowd. Haphazardly put there when I redid the bookcase a few months back on my favorite literature shelf.
The same way the cars near Coney Island are haphazardly tossed around sitting abandoned where they landed after being picked up by the storm surge of Sandy.
There are various rumors as to the conditions at Coney Island. The boardwalk stands, but it is covered in several feet of sand. Houses up the way on Avenue Z have severe damage.
My daughter Dina went down with her best friend and took pictures, walked on the sandy boardwalk and called me to tell me what she saw and the thoughts going through her mind. She is an artist. She has an artist's eye and uses art the way I try and use words. She paints a pretty dramatic picture of homes that were in the evacuation zone that lost everything they had...starting with their cars.. ending with everything in their homes that they left behind.
Dina has been in hurricanes.. she knows them from Miami and was in Irene last year. She is no newcomer to the destructive power of hurricanes.
She said that Coney Island and Avenue Z looks as if a bomb went off..
"glass blown out"
"yellow tape everywhere"
"poles leaning on buildings at odd angles"
"Coney Island Hospital looks like a ghost town, all lights off.. no signs of life"
"cars blocking the stairs to buildings as if just thrown there" (and indeed it was thrown there by the storm ..)
"coney island and avenue z... really bad"
"just looks like a bomb went off"
"Neptune looks as if there were underwater passages during the storm..
...as if the ocean spilled out right there"
"a bus is sitting in the middle of the street, abandoned near Coney Island Hospital that looks abandoned"
She got to the boardwalk.. covered in sand. Fences down around the amusement park, pushed down by the weight of the water surging inland on it's way towards destroying homes on Avenue Y and Z.
The Boardwalk amazingly is there.. the stores are there.. a lot of damage but it's all there ..standing unlike the cars that were picked up and deposited up the way haphazardly in the middle of the street at odd angles. The fence lying on the ground..looks more like a ghost town.. like the grey cover of Ferlinghetti's book shown above.
The boardwalk covered in at least two feet of sand you can walk on as if it's pavement.