To understand Stephon Marbury, first understand Coney Island, where he grew up.
A century ago, the narrow strip of Brooklyn beach and boardwalk gave birth to modern American pop culture: city-size theme parks and sexy electric nightlife and moving pictures and freak shows that make today's reality TV look like The Brady Bunch. Coney Island broke new ground for what entertainment could be, and how money could be made. When Steeplechase, one of Coney's three great amusement parks, burned down in 1907, the owner put up a sign: "Admission to the Burning Ruins -- Ten Cents." At Dreamland, paying customers viewed premature babies in experimental incubators.
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