As I read Coney Island, I often lost track of the point Martí was trying to make - whether or not there was one - because he went of for paragraphs at a time describing the things he saw and his observations. His run on sentences and endless use of adjectives were poetic and beautiful but easily lost on me as my spanish vocabulary is lacking to say the least.
I did find many recurring descriptions and themes that I though would be an interesting topic of discussion (maybe someone else noticed them too?). I noticed that he seemed to always describe the United States with a sense of curiosity and wonder. Because Martí describes his thoughts in long passages, I will as well. There always seem to be crowds or throngs of people (muchedumbres) everywhere, they are never sleeping and vary greatly in appearance and the women seem to be free to do what they please (even if they are married). The throngs of people parade around the street at all hours of the day. Wealth is available and everywhere, everything is new and exciting. Martí always plays the part of the observer, curious but never a participant. I can imagine him with his little mustache wandering late at night, unable to sleep, quiet but with eyes wide open, watching and making mental notes of all the wonderful and awful things he sees as he strolls the streets and allies of Coney Island.
My question then is why is Martí glorifying the strangeness of the New York middle and lower-classes? Does he admire their sense of freedom (and real freedom from British colonists)? Has he never seen anything like this in Cuba and in Europe? He kind of sounds like a naive tourist that has a way with words to me. I enjoyed in none the less