When you grow up in suburban NJ with parents who grew up in NYC and left for a better life, all you hear about Coney Island is how much of a hell-hole it's turned into.
Then of course, you become a surly teen, and anyplace vaguely hellish becomes a magnet...so you go and discover the attractive nuisance of its boardwalks and sideshows and rides...
And as a surly young adult, you go there after dark to drink on the beach and, if you're in a punk band, to play at Sideshows by the Seashore.
After a while, it dawns on you, "Yes, this place is indeed a hellhole." You get bored by the smell of urine on the beach, and the broken glass and the unwashed masses, and you stop coming to CI even for its kitsch value, replaced by another wave of youngsters who are just discovering its grubby charms.
Recently, though, as I've chronicled here, the Monkster and I have been running on the beach in the mornings, as the sun comes up. Our company is old folks, dogs, tai-chi-ers, the occasional stumble bum. No kitsch, no culture, just primordial morning oceanity that takes you right out of your little head.
I feel more intimately connected to its rhythms and beauty than I ever did when it was just a Symbol of our Decaying Society and a place to meet boys with complementary record collections.
I've lost track of the news story about Disney wanting to come in and give the place a makeover. Is this still in the works?
Without knowing too much about the issue, my uninformed opinion is: if they can clean the place up, preserve some of its unique architecture, and let the beach itself remain free and open to all, then I have no problem with it. It could even create some job-a-rooneys.
Walking and Talking: what a movie! The director of Me Without You could learn a thing or two about presenting the peaks and valleys of a friendship without oversimplifying everything, or making every scene a huge emotional blow-out cryfest. Of course Keener and Schrieber were great, but I'd forgotten that Heche is a good actress, too! I'd been side-tracked by her fame.
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