Sunday, March 09, 2008

Coney Island, Off-Season

"Look, I think Coney Island needs to be more ritzy; you know, do something that's gonna bring in the people with the money," said boardwalk game Shoot the Freak operator Anthony Berlingieri to the Washington Post last July. "You got some people out here, they're just opposed to change. But I say, look at the rest of New York. Look at the progress and all these affluent people everywhere. Hey, why shouldn't Coney Island get a piece of that?"

Shoot the Freak is a game with a prime spot on the boardwalk (in the ruins of what must have once been a small business) in which the curious pay for the chance to shoot a sun-burnt guy in plastic body armor with a paintball gun. Mr. Berlingieri or someone like him heckles the shooters and challenges onlookers via microphone. In any redevelopment scheme, it is likely that Shoot the Freak is precisely the sort of business that big money would get rid of first.

The photographs of Coney Island "off-season" above and below are by Robert Polidori from a slide show on the New Yorker website.

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