Thursday, July 05, 2007

Coney Island

I don't know if I mentioned it, but last weekend I went to Coney Island with my New Jersey brother (B1) and his family. It was my idea and the whole family was excited about it. The trip turned out really well. Apparently, B1, my sister-in-law, and I have all been to Coney Island before, but none of us remember it. B1 recalls a story where he insisted on going on the Cyclone several times and a cousin of ours had to take him. He might have been 8. But he only remembers hearing the story--he doesn't actually remember riding the Cyclone!

Rumor has it that starting in September, Astroland will close (that's the park with the Cyclone) and the land will be developed for some other use. I wanted to see it before it was gone. Rest assured, the Cyclone isn't going anywhere.

As it turned out, we didn't go to Astroland at all. The kids and adults in our party were similarly leary of roller coasters, let alone hundred-year-old wooden ones. We stuck to Deno's Wonder Wheel Park. Home of, you guessed it, Deno's Wonder Wheel, which is sufficiently wonderful.

We rode the kiddie rides--I went with my oldest niece, Annie, on the kiddie roller coaster (just about my speed)--ate some great pizza, jumped in the ocean and had ice cream. A perfect day at the beach.

Of course, I couldn't help comparing the boardwalk experience at Coney with my more recent experiences at Ocean City, MD. I'm sad to report that Ocean City is better than Coney. The boardwalk is bigger, cleaner and in better repair. I didn't do the arcade thing at Coney, but there wasn't much to do. And, I haven't spent much time at the pier in Ocean City, where the rides are, so they may be worse than Coney, but overall--OC wins. How the mighty have fallen!

What is great about Coney Island, though, is the beautiful beach, the good, greasy food and the ready accessibility. Two separate subway lines terminate there making is easy for almost anyone living in New York City to visit. I wondered if I lived in NYC, if I would go to Coney Island many times in the summer? If Ocean City were closer, I know I'd go more often. Too bad there's not a subway or train to take me there!

Other highlights:

Having my oldest niece grab my hand tight when we rode the swinging car on the Wonder Wheel. I was almost as scared as she was!

Observing the young hipsters mixed in with the older folks, and the white, black and Hispanic families. Coney is definitely more integrated than Ocean City.

My younger niece's quizzing about my marital status.

Katie: Do you want a baby?
Jamy: Sure, probably.
K: Well, um, do you want a husband?
J: Yes. Ideally, husband first, then baby.
K: Then why don't you get a husband!
J: Heh, um, well, those husbands can be hard to come by. They're sneaky. Illusive.
K: ??

One last note, I was trying to remember what I did last year for the Fourth of July and I haven't the faintest recollection. I checked the blog, but it's completely silent on the subject. In the interests of posterity, I'm going to record what I did. First, I got lots of work done around the house (laundry, dishes, mail sorting) and later I attended a cookout at Nancy's house. I played with little kids, talked to people I knew from work and reassured the vegetarians that the hot dogs were, indeed, full of meat when they exclaimed, "But Nancy and Suzy are vegetarians! They wouldn't serve 'real' hot dogs!" Oh yes they would. And they did.

I was home by 9pm and didn't go out again. I missed seeing fireworks (I love fireworks), but it was too inconvenient this year. Next year, for sure. (I have the feeling I said that last year too.)

Grateful for: the beach, family, days off mid-week.

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