Coney Island Waterboarding!
As a Brooklyn native, I’ve never been a Coney Island partisan. It’s a shame that there’s no more Astroland, but, you know — ehh. The nearby Russian gangsters of Manhattan Beach are more authentically Brooklyn than the tourist-trap of the boardwalk. You want to actually go in the water, you go to Rockaway.
But it was just that improbable impulse that drove the artist Steve Powers to open the new “Waterboard Thrill Ride” on West 12th Street, just off Surf Avenue, in the shadow of the Cyclone and a mere corn dog’s throw from Nathan’s.
It looks at first like any other shuttered storefront near the boardwalk: some garish lettering and a cartoonish invitation to a delight or a scam — in this case there’s SpongeBob SquarePants saying, “It don’t Gitmo better!”
If you climb up a few cinderblock steps to the small window, you can look through the bars at a scene meant to invoke a Guantánamo Bay interrogation. A life-size figure in a dark sweatshirt, the hood drawn low over his face, leans over another figure in an orange jumpsuit, his face covered by a towel and his body strapped down on a tilted surface.