Jeff Liao moved to New York City in 1999 and has created meditations on the city he now calls home since 2004, when he started photographing the neighborhoods along the 7 subway line, from Times Square in midtown Manhattan to Flushing, Queens. Three years ago he focused his viewfinder on Coney Island, Brooklyn. The historic amusement park and boardwalk, located along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, has gone through numerous changes since its opening in the early twentieth century; the last major revitalization occurred in 2010. This is about the time when Liao setup his camera and tripod to photograph the excitement and bustle of summertime in Coney Island. His panoramics are detail filled, and capture the essence of the many places that make Coney Island so unique–from the back-in-time feeling of the boardwalk and the thrill of the historic Cyclone roller coaster to the iconic hot dog stand Nathan’s Famous and the newly opened Luna Park. We see history meeting the present in these images, which already feel reminiscent of the past given the damage the area sustained after 2012′s Hurricane Sandy. But Coney Island goes on, as it ever has, and you can be sure Nathan’s will be hosting its annual hot-dog-eating contest on July 4, an event that marks the start of summer for many of the city’s residents. (Visit ConeyIsland.com to learn more about recovery efforts as well as when Coney Island is set to open for the summer 2013 season.)
Nazaraeli Press has recently published this collection of work by Liao in a new book, called Coney Island (Nazaraeli Press), which includes an introduction by curator Sean Corcoran. The images are also currently on view at the Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr subway station in Brooklyn, New York, as part of the MTA’s Arts for Transit and Urban Design program.