Coney Island


Monday was my last day in NYC and I'd planned to walk around midtown, first to Times Square to get a specific shot I wanted then just wander from there. It was pouring pouring rain, and when I stopped for lunch a wave of tiredness washed over me — we'd been go go going for days, walking like 7-10 miles a day in the cold. Then suddenly I remember Coney Island exists. Once I realize I can get to an ocean... that's it, here I go. One hour each way from midtown NYC. I made it there about 30 minutes before early winter sunset. Pouring even harder rain. Abandoned and creepy (as I hoped it would be), carnival ride neon flashing at no one at all in the flat silver sky. Empty boardwalk. Two teenagers making out under an awning. Lone mystery figures under umbrellas. Crazy mean old guy feeding bread to like 1000 seagulls who yelled angrily at me for daring to exist in his line of sight. The day before the beach had been full with the New Year's Day "polar bear" jump into the ocean, but I saw about 20 people in town the whole time I was there. Desolate and spooky. Loved it. Got soaking wet, seagull poop on my boot, and ran for the subway as it got dark. I enjoyed a very Slavic ride home through Brighton Beach etc in a steaming dank subway car, then emerged from the dripping swampy underworld to join my lady at a fancy hotel bar. I love New York. I posted this photo on Instagram on the ride back and a few hours later it'd already been featured by a major street photo gallery. So strange when that happens — when something goes from being an intimate immediate moment to public comment. The more I look at this, the more I see — which as a creative person is so deeply satisfying, to watch your own work continue to breathe outside of you. I get lost in it like a poem, and I still have the sand on my shoe to take me there. ➰

PhotographyJill Corral