THE LAND WITHOUT SHADOWS
" The great American dream: the illusion of a wonderful world in which everyone would be happy."
Fifty minutes by subway from Manhattan to set foot in what was a mythical place in the imaginary American, that now, at long truth, it is no longer.
The Lenape Indians called this place “the land with no shadows”describing how its south facing beaches always remained in sunlight. The Dutch hunted rabbits “konijn” and called it Coney Island. Some of the alternative theories on how the island got its name include the Irish Gaelic name for rabbit which is Coinín, which is also anglicized to Coney.
Coney Island was the Luna Park most futuristic never given birth by the human mind - the one architect's thirty year old Frederick Thompson, in 1903 - nine hectares facing the ocean and populated by rollercoasters and dance floors, circus and women-cannon, observation wheels and strange characters. It was called Dreamland, the land of dreams. Then Coney Island became the beach of the people in the years of the Depression, destined to a slow decline. So fades a dream which can be traced in films, photography, literature. Coney Island of the Mind by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and some comic Buster Keaton, Woody Allen in Annie Hall and Radio Days, fades to legend, of a myth.
Although today is a big amusement park, a place for New Yorkers can get to the beach, and visitors can relive the myth, at Coney Island the time really seems to have stopped, what remains is a structure, an undefined space, constructed on memory.