For over a century, Coney Island has provided New Yorkers with an escape from the bustle of the city—be that a glittering 19th-century resort or a gritty beachside amusement park. From the boardwalk and iconic rides like the Cyclone and the parachute jump to Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, Coney Island is a place of endless possibility—located, conveniently, a subway ride away for most New Yorkers.
Coney Island’s diverse crowd and myriad traditions, from sideshow acts to the Mermaid Parade, make it a fascinating site like no other. So it’s only natural that photographers have continuously flocked to the beach—not to play, but to work. The following eight artists have produced images that illustrate the many approaches taken to capture the ever-changing spirit of this enigmatic place.