Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Coney Island Rocks

I love Coney Island. I always have. The first time I went there was around December of 1990. The weather was horrible and the place was deserted. But it was still beautiful. Because of movies, I felt a weird sense of déjà vu. I didn’t know that I would never see the Thunderbolt again. It’s less seedy now. But it still ain’t Disney. And that’s good.

Sometimes I think I should move out there so I can jump in the ocean and ride the Cyclone every day.

No matter, I go there as much as I can. And when I do, I think of how much I love New York. When I’m there, I wonder why anybody ever feels the need to “get out of the City.” Sure there are “nicer” beaches. But the beach at Coney Island is pretty nice. It’s huge so it sucks up the largest crowds nicely. And It’s much cleaner than most people give it credit for.

And at Coney Island you can ride the Cyclone. And watch a minor league baseball game. And shoot the geek, go to the Sideshows, play minigolf, swing in the batting cages, drink at an interesting bar. And—now pay attention because this is important—you can take the subway there! For $2 you get on a train and one hour later you’re there. It’s so easy.

We set off around noon. I and Ali and his son and Zora. Alas, Zora, who was just coming for pizza at DiFara’s, had to turn around at Queensburo Plaza because business called.

The pizza was great. It’s on Avenue J. When makes a nice stop about two-thirds of the way to Coney Island. Here’s that quiet group that watches the maestro make pizza, trying to get their order in but not be too aggressive.

I know it’s just a beach. But there’s something beautiful about the mix and diversity of Coney Island. And people walk around the sand and sell you beers and mangos on a stick.

We hit both great New York pizza places on one day. Here we are at Totonno’s. I liked DiFara’s a lot more.

The Parachute Drop sure is pretty. Too bad it’s been closed 40 years. But it is a landmark and has been rebuilt.

I don’t have a picture of the Cyclone. But I love it. I doesn’t look like much by modern standards. But it’s a great rollercoaster. It packs a punch. I won’t sit towards the rear because it’s neck-snappingly brutal back there. The front is great.

I love that it’s a still a independent ride. And grizzled men move big wooden levers to make it go. And you can haggle about price for the re-ride. Mostly I love how happy I am every time I go on that ride.

Neither Ali nor his son had ever been it before. 11-year-old Ishmail says he’s never going to ride it again. But I don’t believe him. Karl and I rode twice. When you re-ride, you can move up to the front.

The Cyclones beat the Hudson Valley Renegades. These players aren’t ready for prime time. But it’s a nice place to watch a game. I like being there more than Shea. It’s so much cheaper and you’re close the action. And it’s at Coney Island.

We didn’t get to the Wonderwheel (on right) this time.

Fireworks after the game?! OK. We watched from the Boardwalk.

We got back on the subway at 11pm. One hour and few New Yorker articles later, I was home again. I love New York.

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