Two weeks ago we posted Bruce Handy’s photos of an Easter Island-like face carved into a rock on Coney Island’s beach. The photographer had found the carving after a summer-long search set in motion by a mysterious pic I’d seen on twitter. Both of us supposed it was a hoax because we’d neither seen nor heard of any carvings on the beach. Now we know why: the face was buried in the sand!
ATZ thought it would be fun to post Bruce’s first pix of the face as a mystery photo and have readers guess its location. Much to our surprise, Jack Szwergold, a reader who grew up in the neighborhood, quickly replied with the correct answer as well as memories of the carver:
I was a kid, so what I remember is a leathery, shirtless tanned old man with white hair and facial hair. I was born in 1968, so I would say I saw the guy carving this between 1976 and 1979. Yeah, a huge swath of time, but I know it was not earlier than that. Definitely looks “smoother” due to age than I remember it.
No idea who the guy was but there is an equal chance he’s a artist or one of the many transient “characters” Brighton’s cheap rent attracted. Or perhaps a mix of both?
Who knows exactly. What a magical, weird place the neighborhood was back then.
Oh, for what it’s worth I always thought it was an American Indian. As an adult it looks a tad Aztec to my eyes.
Since then Bruce Handy and friends have discovered and photographed five more carvings. You can see his set of photos on flickr. Here are excerpts from Bruce’s “Easter Island” in Coney Island Diary:
I found one more face, that makes five, 3 small ones on one rock, one big
one and the one I found today: medium size on the rock closest to the shore.
Now for the strange part. The big face is 80% covered with sand. I had to dig
out the top portion. I thought at first someone had removed the rock from
the beach. After about ten minutes I found the upper portion. So the ocean has
returned the sand. Until the next hurricane, the face will remain hidden.
10/1/10 – TS Nicole has released Mr. Easter from the silent sorrowful sand giving him a brief glimpse of the Sun today.
10/2/10 – Jim V discovered another face, a profile on the corner of a rock….
10/3/10 – Sand is coming back, Mr. Easter is 1/2 covered. A Russian man exercising before his swim points out a bas relief face on the east side closer to the water. Another abstract face, maybe unfinished, is also discovered near the boardwalk.
Related posts on ATZ…
October 3, 2010: Photo of the Day: Kite Aerial Photography of Coney Island
September 21, 2010: Mystery Photo: Easter Island-Like Face on Coney Island Beach
February 26, 2010: Photo of the Day: Snow Mermaid on Coney Island Beach
December 4, 2009: Photo of the Day: Let It Snow! in Coney Island