Today a friend sent me a carny job advertisement and it took all the strength I had not to quit school and renounce my sedentary lifestyle on the spot. Here’s an excerpt from a collaborative feature I did with photographer Kitra Cahana on carnival workers called Astroland No More:
To an average onlooker, Coney Island culture borders on the obscene: children suck neon snow cones, fat orange men drink clam-flavoured beer. Women expose breasts adorned with uneven Nascar tattoos. Taste seems somewhat suspended.
“This is where poor people can take their kids to play,” says Maria, a 43-year-old carnival worker. “That’s the way it should always be.”
Maria, who has been working the Coney toilet stalls for 12 years, answers my questions with a mix of apprehension and resignation. Her painted eyebrows droop as I question her about the upcoming corporate developments, and she seems annoyed by my teeming idealism.