Little Odessa is located an hour by subway from Manhattan, when I arrived I was catapulted into a parallel universe, where the writings on signs, street signs, advertisements, shops and restaurants are in Cyrillic. A form of "Soviet" identity is present throughout the territory south of Brooklyn.

A SUD DI BROOKLYN

South of Brooklyn was created in 2014, during an artistic residency in New York. During my artistic residency I explored the territory south of Broolkyn. Walking was the means by which I got to know the territory of Brighton Beach and Coney Island.

 

Brighton Beach is one of the last stops on the Q line of the New York subway. It is located in South Brooklyn, on the Atlantic coast, next to Coney Island. This suburb of about 35,000 inhabitants is the "Little Odessa" of New York City, the area where the component of emigrants from the former Soviet republics clearly represents the majority of the population.

 

Coney Island on the other hand is the land without shadows was the name that the Native Americans of the region, the Lenape, attributed to this area.  Giovanni da Verrazzano was the first European explorer to discover the island of Narrioch during his expeditions to the area in 1527 and 1529.It was the Dutch who gave the name Konijneneiland, for the numerous rabbits that populated the island.

Year

2014

Between 1880 and World War II, Coney Island was the largest amusement area in the United States, attracting several million visitors a year. At its peak, it contained three large amusement parks, Luna Park, Dreamland and Steeplechase Park, as well as many independent entertainment. 

 

The area was also the center of new technological events, with electric lights, roller coasters and children's incubators among the innovations of Coney Island in 1900. This continued until the end of the Second World War.

 

The architectural importance that Coney Island has had for the New York territory is very high, it was in fact a platform for urban experimentation of what were then the growth plans of Manhattan.

 

It is no coincidence that a chapter of the Delirious New York architecture essay is dedicated to the history of Coney Island.