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September 7, 2012

Coney Island by Hazel Hankin Featured in Life Force Magazine

Life Force Magazine, an online monthly reportage magazine which celebrates the art form of the photo essay featured Hazel Hankin's Photographs of Coney Island in their September, 2012 issue:


Polar Express Disco Ride, 1985 © Hazel Hankin

"As a kid growing up in Brooklyn, Coney Island was a place of wonder. Alluring yet a little scary, it seemed to exist outside of normal life. It was a dazzle of exotic sights, sounds and tastes. In my teens I went with friends to scream on the Cyclone, to swing high above the ground on the Wonder Wheel, to wolf down Nathan's delicious franks, fries and clams. When I became serious about photography in the late 1970s, Coney Island became the subject for my first long-term project. Now, on top of the amusement park theatrics, I was touched by Coney's air of faded glory, amused by its visual ironies, and heartened at the persistence of its unique brand of popular culture, carrying on stubbornly in the face of poverty and neglect. This was no Disneyland: no slick, sanitized, carefully packaged corporate resort. I loved Coney Island for its pluck, for its funk. In the 1980s I became part of the Coney Island Hysterical Society, a pioneering troupe of visual artists who created art in, for and about Coney Island. Like New York City itself, Coney Island has multiple layers of history and character. Like the City, its tawdriness is part of its richness and charm. But today powerful real estate interests and the politicians who serve them are gradually hollowing out New York, and those same forces now threaten Coney Island. America's beloved, iconic amusement beach is under attack by forces that would destroy it in order to "save" it. I truly hope that whatever happens on that stretch of shore, Coney Island will survive; that its spirit will live on for future generations of New Yorkers and the world."
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