Saturday, July 10, 2010

June 13 My Coney Island Photography Workshop

I finally decided to take a photography workshop. I've thought about it for years but never signed up until I found this one through Our first meeting is tonight at Ruby's Bar on the Coney Island boardwalk. So I have the day for myself. I am staying at a Bed & Breakfast in a 100 year old Brooklyn brownstone in the old Italian neighborhood of Carroll Gardens. I highly recommend this place so here is the link, The Inn on Second. I decide to go to the Bronx Zoo to see the lion cubs. On the way to find a bagel I came across a Farmers Market. It is great to see these markets popping up everywhere. 
After picking up some cherries and a fresh baked blueberry muffin, I am off to the Bronx Zoo.
It was a very hot and muggy day. This brown bear was chilling in his pool.
I passed this polar bear three times and he never moved from this rock in the shade.
It took awhile for mama and her cubs to emerge from their den but it was worth the wait. As the cubs ran around for about an hour, the crowd just kept growing at their exhibit.
The youngsters, two females and a mama's boy according to a docent at the exhibit, were a crowd favorite.
Eventually, everyone decided it was time to rest. I had to take off to make the long trip to Coney Island.
Let me just say it now, I love Coney Island. I fell in love with it because my grandfather took me here as a kid every summer. He fell in love with Coney Island during it's heyday from 1930-1950. I fell in love with it during it's lowest times in the 1970's. Coney Island has improved since then but it is currently caught in a battle for it's future as an amusement area. That is why I decided to join Andy Levin's Coney Island Photography Workshop. Andy is a photographer that believes photography can be used as a tool for social change. I happen to agree with him so I signed up and was accepted as the only non professional photographer in the group. I had some nervous anticipation about the whole thing until I stepped off the F train at Stillwell Avenue. It felt damn good to be back in Coney Island. 
I met several of the photographers in the workshop. Gyula came from Budapest, Handen came from London, Kevin and Steven live in NYC and Andy currently lives in New Orleans. After a few beers and dances with the locals who were celebrating the Puerto Rican Day Parade, we headed down the boardwalk to take some pictures. I once saw a T-shirt that said "Coney Island - The Beautiful Freaks Come Out At Night". A perfect description of Coney Island.
 A Coney Island lifeguard, Greg with his girl
a local at Ruby's who told me, "I don't want to see my picture up at the Post Office!"
Having a smoke after dancing to Ruby's eclectic jukebox
The Coney Island Dancers had set up on the boardwalk behind the Aquarium. Due to a misty rain, the speakers were covered with plastic garbage bags, but the party was raging. This guy was tapping out a beat on a brake drum and blowing the whistle dancehall style.
"All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players"
 Party at West Tenth & the Boardwalk

This used to be Gregory & Paul's, now it is Paul's Daughter. Great place for freshly shucked raw clams.
These classic old boardwalk food stands are in danger of being replaced by modern chain fast food places. If that happens, that's all the proof I need that God does not exist.
Why do I love places like this...where else can you buy cotton candy, beer, giant lollipops, italian ices, soft serve ice cream cones, popcorn, hot dogs and salt water taffy while wearing a bathing suit.
The party crew still going strong at Ruby's.
Stillwell & Surf Avenues. A late night frankfurter at Nathan's and the F train to bed in Carroll Gardens.


  1. Never been to Coney Island but I hope it will always be there with all the food places and characters. Your pics during your trip make me feel that I was there seeing it all with my eyes.

  2. Thanks Marilyn. I'll post pictures from the rest of the week soon.