Monday, October 29, 2012

Coney Island: Stories, Images & Video of an Island on the Edge of the Storm

Up and down the Boardwalk at Coney Island, business owners and their employees fill sand bags from the beach that's soon to invade their front steps. Piling the bags  against the doors, an attempt to keep the impending flood of waters out.

A city worker shifts the frontend loader down, down the length of the beach, pushing and scooping the heavy sand in to neat rows of makeshift barriers.  Workers across the City are doing the same at all of the other beaches, including Manhattan Beach, the area of Red Hook, Far Rockaway Beach.  This is man using nature against herself, in an attempt to meet her halfway and hope that she is kind.

Consistent to what I experience in my own Brooklyn neighborhood, the locals and visitors at Coney Island are taken the hurricane warnings in stride. They're: not afraid of the storm, feel prepared with adequate supplies, not concerned about being called to evacuate; are not happy that the police are driving up and down the boardwalk, announcing that the beach is closed and that they are to stay away from the water.  These Coney Islanders are curious and they're not staying home, at least not at this moment... 

I feel badly for the NYPD.  They drive up and down the boardwalk, announcing that the beach is closed and asking everyone to stay away from the water.  As the days goes on, more and more people are drawn to the water's edge and the announcements become louder, more urgent and more insistent.  And still the people flock to the pounding surf.  They could arrest those who don't respond, who aggressively rebel, but I don't see them do this.  Instead, the cars pace back and forth, sirens flashing, speakers repeating the same message again and again. People ignore the yellow tape and step under, over and through it, so intense in their curiosity.

And I am guilty.  I'm one of those who wants to experience nature's force, to witness the awesome energy of the water as the storm approaches under a full moon.  Soon enough, I will be driven to hesitantly leave the Island, forced both by the impending darkness and the trains and buses shutting down.  Here today, the line between the NYPD's responsibility and an individual's personal responsibility heavily blurred in the ever-darkening, wet, heavy sand.

Here's a video of the Bay at Coney Island on Sunday, shot while I stood on the pier. The energy of the water is immense and there's no stopping the curious from her shores. 

And some images.


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