Coney Island: America’s Playground
by Lauren Welles
“If Paris is France, then Coney Island, between June and September, is the world.”
—George Tilyou, 1886
Despite the incessant predictions of its demise, Coney Island continues to attract visitors of all races, social classes and ethnicities, who, seeking respite from their quotidian stresses and routines, come together and inject the veins of “America’s Playground” with its celebrated joie de vivre.
A Day at the Beach
by Gisele Duprez
The “A Day at the Beach” project started in 2016. For only the cost of a subway or bus ride, people from all over NYC and the world make their way to the beaches, peacefully coexisting side-by-side and speaking multiple languages.
Start at the pier and listen to salsa music. Keep going and hear the screams and laughter from the amusement rides. Catch a boardwalk dance party and join in. Pass the promenade of Russians watching the world go by from prime seating along the boardwalk. Walk along the water and see people trying to keep cool in the summer.
I have been photographing the Coney Island Polar Bears for several years in the winter. During the pandemic I began my own cold-water swim journey — looking for safer ways to meet with people and keeping me from being too isolated. I am honored to be invited to begin the process of becoming a Polar Bear this season. I’m looking forward to seeing my project grow as I move from the photographing at the shoreline into the water.