At 9pm tonight, Coney died. Condos will be built in its stead.
The place my mother, a teenager, went to in the middle of the night to swim naked, the place my aunt met her future husband, both barely teenagers, she wearing a swimsuit and telling me 60 years later "he liked me even after seeing my thighs," the place my grandmother took herself alone, no one really knowing what she thought or who she missed, the place said grandmother took me, dragging me into the ocean for the first time, feeding me Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies that forever after tasted like sand and salt to me, the place my mother, no one knowing what she thought or who she missed, took my sister and me early mornings so that we could get a good swim in and eat a hotdog for breakfast before returning to responsibilities, the place every New Years Day, our family went to, frozen on the boardwalk, but knowing nowhere else to to be, the place I could, in desperate twenties, needing to feel like I had someone beyond my own skin, go to and find my mother sitting in the same spot as she had for years - in front of the Aquarium,
The place I knew more than I knew the thoughts of my grandmother or my mother or even my own. The place I knew more than I knew what my grandmother or mother or even I missed.
Like Calvino's Invisible Cities and my mother, Florence's life, my private coney has become just a place within memory.
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.