Coney Island

RE: Woody Register audio and slides

I thoroughly enjoyed the Woody Register audio lecture! I had always heard of Coney Island and I knew it was in NYC and that it was a boardwalk, but that was the limit of my knowledge. Prof. Register brought to life the role of Coney Island in the lives of the middle class; its role in the origin of amusement parks; and its significance as part of the spirit of the age. Most surprising was the revelation that CI was created for middle class adults to enjoy entertainment and pleasure; it was not built with children or families in mind. There was even a nursery provided so mom could go out and play without the kids! I couldn’t help but think about all the stressors that parents and workers have today in our society and the need for entertainment to relieve them of the sober burdens of life. Of course, today we have video games, pornography and television, but it seems that the same notion is at work here- that we modern adults need ways to incorporate fantasy, pleasure and entertainment (and for Americans, the more passive, such as TV viewing, the better).  Even the turn of the century figure of the never-grow-up “Peter Pan” remains alive and well. Today, however, most amusement parks are geared toward children and families, not adults. Wow, the picture of that crowded beach! It made a sardine can look roomy. Florida beaches get crowded certain times, but never, never like that. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen the photo. Anyway, the photo speaks loud and clear about the New-Yorker’s very strong desire to enjoy the beach during the summer months, even if those few feet of sand had to be shared with so many other people. Thank you, Fred Thompson, for making pleasure and fun socially acceptable.

Susan McClung



2 responses to “Coney Island

  1. The best part of the Register audio slides for me was the opportunity to show my grandchildren the reason that I hate the beach, any beach and why I prefer the feel of concrete under my feet! I pointed out to them that their great grandparents were probably in the picture and some fifteen years later, I might have been in that picture. The only beaches they know are those in Aransas Pass and South Padre Island in Texas where people can drive their SUVs right onto the beach! However, I did love those Nathan hot dogs and fries and the forbidden (not kosher) lobster rolls.

  2. Yesterday–June 19–brought the 20th annual mermaid parade. Here’s a first blogpost it inspired; paragraph 1 provides background info. enjoy . .

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