Franck Bohbot recently shot some unusual pictures of the normally bustling Coney Island’s candy-colored Luna Park. The amusement park has been going through some upgrades over the past years and the French photographer took some images of how the place looks today. What is unusual about Bohbot’s series is that all of his images are devoid of any people. The series is called Last Stop Coney Island.
Bohbot shot the newly opened Luna Park, but despite the ostensibly reworked place, his photographs radiate an aura of nostalgia and old world charm. With no people and only a few hints of being current, the park looks stuck in a bygone time.
Coney Island is a housing neighborhood, beach and peninsula found in the Atlantic Ocean in southwestern Brooklyn, New York. The place used to be an outer barrier island, but eventually was partially linked to the mainland through land filling projects. The residential part of the peninsula has a community population of approximately 60,000 people in its western portion, has Sea Gate on the west, Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach on the east, and Gravesend up north. Coney Island is reputed as the site of amusement parks in addition to a seaside resort.
These tourist attractions reached the highest point of popularity during the first part of the 20th century. They declined in popularity after the Second World War due to years of neglect. Luna Park, the amusement center pictured by Bohbot in Last Stop Coney Island was opened twice. The first time in 1903, and a second time in 2010.
Jesse McCarthy wrote this about the iconic place that has become so synonymous with early amusement park history,
“New Yorkers take the subway to the beach. The F or the Q train pulls into Stillwell Avenue and when the doors open you smell the ocean. The Lenape Indians called this place “the land with no shadows”. The Dutch hunted rabbits “konijn” and called it Coney Island. In 1901 everyone’s favorite ride was a voyage to a papier-mâché moon so popular they called the place Luna Park. On Surf Avenue is the original Nathan’s where the hot dog was invented in 1916. Coney Island is one of our myths, the landscape of our carnival.”
See Bohbot’s poignant Last Stop Coney Island here.