Coney Island Case Study

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Goffman’s concept of front and back space regarding the self is also applicable to the social aspect of Coney Island; Goffman recognized that “the self is that collection of performances that take place in and across specific locations” (Goffman 50). The front, or representational space, of Coney Island is what gained notoriety and fostered an image of family friendliness as well as an escape from reality. Coney Island was a sort of dreamscape where the upper and middle classes had the opportunity to engage in what society deemed as proper forms of recreation. The front space of Coney Island should also be considered representational space; Lefebvre describes representational space as “the space of inhabitants and users. It is the passively …show more content…
The front space of Coney Island has served as the community’s largest source of income since the islands rise in popularity in the 1820’s. The destruction of the boardwalk, amusement parks and concession stands caused major economic setbacks for the tourism industry that is so prevalent on the island. This destruction of the front space of Coney Island also had a major effect on the back space; a large portion of the residents on the island worked along the boardwalk. The destruction of the boardwalk left many Coney Island residents without any source of income; without the lure of the boardwalk, tourism to the island came to a halt. Not only was the front space destroyed, but also the back space; many coastal residential areas were completely flooded which forced entire groups out of their communities. Lefebvre’s representations of space were destroyed and washed away leaving a physically clean slate, however the representational space still haunted the island for better or for worse. Even without the amusement parks and the boardwalk, Coney Island still gave off a unique cultural and historical feel. In an effort to bring back the classic front space of Coney Island, over $140 million was spent on economic development; the entire boardwalk was rebuilt as well as an additional amusement park. The island was soon being advertised as new and improved, but this wasn’t exactly the case. While visitors flocked to boardwalk restaurants and eateries, the “row of mom-and-pop eateries behind the Stillwell Ave. subway station” were largely ignored according to This is largely due to flaws in our society as a whole; no one wants to see the reality of Coney Island, tourists want the classic Coney image of fun and leisure, not the truth that is the immense poverty found behind the

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