Walking along the boardwalk
There are phrases such as
Please keep our beach clean
Please don’t litter
Mamma loves Sanna
Welcome to Coney Island
New York Rules
Empire State College
Brooklyn New York 2011
Written on those rusty chipped metal garbage cans
Each vividly decorated in
Red, blue, purple, orange, green or yellow paint
With images of the sea, sun, fish, clouds and more
How did they get there?
Why bother painting on them?
Is it so that we can throw out garbage in style?
As I was pondering these thoughts
I received strange looks
From those passing by
Walking along the boardwalk
Past the garbage cans
Are the mural paintings
Filled with pictures of
Fish, sharks, turtles, jellyfish, sea stars, coral reefs
Even human shadows
And the big bold words of
New York Aquarium
It just makes you wonder
Are these paintings
Coney Island’s way to
Raise environmental awareness?
Express New York Pride?
Or even familial love?
This Flux Box is a work that comments on the nature of Coney Island in its heyday. In Delirious New York, Rem Koolhaas suggests that “technology + cardboard (or any other flimsy material) = reality”. Coney Island’s various theme parks followed this basic formula, creating elaborate parks with the latest technology and flashy aesthetics to immerse visitors in a fantasy world full of pleasure. Snazzy aesthetics, shoddy building material, and outdated technology make the contents of this Flux Box the perfect building materials for the Coney Island of Delirious New York.
Welcome to the High Line Portal.
What is your destination today?
Would you like to see the floral?
The weather is nice and bright.
Relax and rest your neck
But we must get going, alright?
Or is it a motion picture screen?
Sit down, there’s plenty of seats,
And enjoy the busy city scene!
Down the path, pass the grassland,
Follow the people, that’s the flow.
Don’t get lost. Grab my hand!
Would you like to read a book?
Or take a nap until dawn?
Wait, over there! Take a look!
All grown over the tracks.
There’s nothing more to see,
Would you like to buy a snack?
It’s time to say goodbye.
Hope you enjoyed the design,
A park floating in the sky.
Told me not to tell anyone.
Secret amongst the few,
it should remain.
But how could I not share?
of green and rust,
at the tip of my tongue.
Spit them out with vigor.
How could I divine?
Induced by the masses,
clean and corrupt.
Now I must believe.
Happiness is genuine.
The secrets out.
Late night walks on the sand
Luna park, a ball of light
The fireworks behind the bands
It is a Coney summer night
Children playing in the sand
The man flying his kite
It is their Dream land
A place where ideas of fun unite
A abode of relaxation for the city
An escape from the hectic and busy
A place fresh and full of possibility
Where life becomes simple and easy
A place so treasured and close
This is Coney Island
A place that every New Yorker knows
This is Coney Island
August 23rd was the day. The day I finally had the courage to do it. My name is Dennis Karishnakov and I am 12 years old. I live in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, at 1401 Surf Avenue, Apartment 4A with my grandmother, parents, sister and brother. I go to school at IS 139 where I am in Mrs. Lewis’s homeroom. In my free time I play the violin and do my homework. My whole world was Coney Island and that day, August 23rd, is when it all changed.
It started like every other Sunday in the Karishnakov house did. Everyone gathered around the table for the weekly family breakfast of soft boiled eggs, toast and tea. While everyone else was enjoying the feast, I could barely touch my food, I was too excited. “Nu, Dennis is there something bothering you? You barely touched your eggs” my father asked. “No,” I said, “I am fine, just not hungry this morning”. Breakfast finally ended and not a second too soon. After breakfast everyone retreated into their corners of their house. Grandma went to her room to watch the latest Russian soap opera, mom and dad to the porch to smoke their cigarettes, my sister and brother to their rooms to do their homework and play their respective instruments. I knew this was the time, so I put a couple of dollars that I’ve been saving for this trip in my pocket, quietly slipped out the front door, and started walking towards the boardwalk.
When I finally got to the boardwalk, there was an all out attack on my senses. I could smell the corndogs being fried, I saw all the flashing lights of Astro-Land Luna Park, I heard all the carnies asking me to play their games of chance, I could feel and taste the saltiness of the sea water. I never felt this alive in my life. With the various distractions going on around me I knew I couldn’t stop, I was here for a reason. I was motivated to get where I needed to go. Finally, I found what I was looking for, the ticket booth to the one and only Wonder Wheel.
I took my place on line and waited, every few minutes taking a few steps towards my future. I finally was next, “How old are you, son?” the booth operater asked. “12” I answered. “Your too young, next.” I couldn’t help myself, I just started to cry, all my dreams, all the planning were just gone. “Aw, cmon kid, alright alright I’ll let you on, just stop crying, you’re driving away the rest of the customers.” Just like that I felt alive again, I was going to do it.
I sat on the wonderfully uncomfortable metal bench, waiting for the ride to start. Suddenly I felt the first jolt of the ride, as I was slowly rising, the world I’ve never seen, came into my view. There was a fabulous looking park I’ve never even been to right past my apartment building. I could see bridges way out in the distance. I could see Manhattan and all of its tall buildings and I thought of how great it must be to live on the top floor and see the all of the world beneath you. I could see out on the ocean for miles, and suddenly I wanted to sail the world. How much more was out there, I wondered. I now knew there was more to the world than just Brighton Beach and I needed to get out and see it all.
That day changed my life. I always heard about the world and all the wonderful countries in school, but seeing them was always and unobtainable fantasy. After riding the wonder wheel, after seeing past my small neighborhood and out into the world, I knew that while I may not see everything in the world, I would do my best to see as much of it as I could.
It was just an ordinary day. I was taking a stroll through New York City when I came across an entrance to the High Line. I had heard about the High Line in the media and from my friends, but I had never actually been there before. As I passed by the entrance on 14th Street, I decided that I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Everyone always talked about the beauty and the peacefulness found atop the heavenly High Line. It was my turn to experience it. I walked up the stairs and I thought to myself “Wow! This is really –!” I hit the ground like a ton of bricks. A German tourist (I know this because he was speaking German and holding a map of New York – and no self-respecting New Yorker needs a map of New York) walked into me like he was Secret Service and I was John Wilkes Booth. As I’m recovering, standing up from being knocked down, he didn’t even stop to apologize for nearly knocking me into a coma. But I just shrugged it off and kept walking along the High Line. One can say the High Line is like a pinball machine. As I walked, I was getting knocked around like a human pinball, one person smacked me into another, and he smacked me into a third, and so on. I now had a splitting headache and I saw the exit stairs. I was so thrilled as I walked toward them. Then, all of a sudden, a group of about 100 speed walkers walked into me from behind like a stampede and carried me like a wave all the way past the exit stairs. Now I’m enraged and I begin to run to reach the next exit, when I see a bunch of children playing in the grass. This seemed genuinely peaceful, like a scene from a movie. Some of the children were playing by the edge of the High Line, when I began to think to myself, “Huh? The rails are pretty low; the Park’s Department should –!” One by one, the children started climbing over the edge of the rail, plummeting down to the ground below them. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I started running again for the next exit when I saw what I feared the most. Walking towards me was a group of yuppie Manhattanites, with their bow ties and top hats, walking sticks and tuxedo tails, and like always not a care in the world and a complete disregard towards others. I soon found myself on the ground once again, now being trampled by the next hindrance on the High Line. When they finally walked past me, I got myself up, brushed myself off, and ran for the exit. I could see it … it was so close. Right at the top of the exit stairway, there were a group of pirates! That’s right, pirates. I figured that they were pretty harmless, when all of a sudden, a guy walked by and one of the pirates shanked him in the back. As the pirates started to walk down the stairs, I ran by again hoping that the next exit would be close by. I ran, bruised, bleeding, and concussed. I ran, and I ran, as fast as I could. I hit a fence. I turned around and I saw it. I was so proud of myself. I had made it to the end of the line.
“Let’s Take a Walk on the High Line”
I took about 20 photographs during my observation of the High Line Park. I used a separate photo for each of the letters and shapes on the image to show all the views I was able to capture of the scenery. The background image is that of the High Line while it was still in use. The colored letters and shapes spread across the page are meant to highlight the differences between the old and the new. The “person” with the suitcase is walking on an arrow; this reflects the very linear pathway of the High Line Park. I have included some of the photos used within the image below.
The sun specks settled above those closed, unassuming eyelids
Eardrums trembled as rushing vehicles escaped
Cameras out, fingers pointed outward – to something greater than man,
For it was fear that strummed gently across the tissues of their hearts.
Urban reconstruction, urban warfare
Man created, and man was dwarfed
Structures piercing the skies they worshipped.
In solidarity, they ran.
Framed by the retreating green walls
Entrapped by vertical arrangements
To forge survival
They created a higher line.
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