c. 1995. Pencil on lined paper with mysterious water stains, 7.5 in x 10.5 in.
Summer is gone and so is Coney Island as I remember it.
Coney Island was once populated by an incredible landscape of signs and symbols. The few storefronts that retain their unique signage seem more and more endangered with every visit.
In 2004, a Creative Time initiative attempted to revive the fading signscape. A group of 25 artists formed The Dreamland Artsits Club and hand painted murals in the area as well as signs for local businesses. Sadly, even many of those have since disappeared or have become isolated fragments.
Despite neighborhood opposition, development corporations continue to homogenize and strip Coney Island of its personality, replacing beautiful and inventive lettering with horrifically bland banners that are completely devoid of any aesthetic value.
Years ago, Coney Island felt like a typographic oasis, far removed from the standardized signs and sterile typography that now overwhelms most of New York. Today, it seems more like everywhere else.
View 100 more images on the Coney Island II section of the main archive.
If you’re interested in supporting Vernacular Typography, consider making a donation to the project through Artspire & New York Foundation for the Arts 501(c)3 HERE. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.