Sunday at Coney Island

I really enjoyed the concert at Coney Island a few weeks back with Squeeze and the Romantics, so I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to get to the Joan Jett show last Thursday night (I had work the next day and I also wasn’t feeling well).  My girlfriend did go to that one, and she said it was a fantastic concert.  Too bad I missed out on it.

So my girlfriend Michele suggested that, since I missed the show, we should go to Coney Island this past Sunday.  Even though there weren’t any special events, we’d have the entire day to enjoy the place.  Despite the fact that it’s a pretty long train ride from where we live, I do like going to Coney Island.  It’s an interesting area with a lot of sights, a beautiful beach, and a great deal of history to it.  Last August we went for a day, and had a lot of fun, so I was certainly up for another leisurely day trip there.

Since we decided to take our time, we actually got there mid-afternoon.  The area was jam packed with people.  Nathan’s was overflowing with customers, the amusement park rides were busy, and there were a lot of people strolling around on the boardwalk.

One of the first things we did was to ride the Wonder Wheel.  I have to be honest: I am scared of heights.  Until a couple of years ago I had never taken a ride on a Ferris wheel before.  I finally got on one at a local fair in Queens, and that was after much prodding from Michele.  Well, the Wonder Wheel was much bigger (and higher!) than that one, so I wasn’t eager to try it before now.  Last year at Coney Island, I wouldn’t set foot on it.  This time, I agreed to go on it, but I made Michele promise to hold my hand.  Yeah, yeah, I’m a wimp.  It was fun, though, and the view was fantastic.  I took a few awesome pictures while I was on the Wonder Wheel.  Having said that, I will not be going on the Cyclone roller coaster any time soon!

A view of Coney Island from the Wonder Wheel
A view of Coney Island from the Wonder Wheel

We walked around on the boardwalk for a while, doing some people watching.  It was pretty hot out, so afterwards we headed over to a place called Cha Cha’s Bar & Grill.  They used to be on the boardwalk, but they had to relocate.  Fortunately, they found a new location close by on Surf Avenue, across the street from Nathan’s.  We had a nice light dinner there.

Afterwards, we went back to the boardwalk and onto the beach.  We had a good time just relaxing on the sand, dipping our feet in the water.  There were some really aggressive seagulls chasing after food.  I get the impression that they must be well fed, taking scraps from beachgoers.  We had a huge laugh when we spotted this one very plump seagull running along the shoreline with a Tupperware container full of food clasped firmly in its beak!

Finally, the sun started to go down.  After walking along the boardwalk for a bit more, we made our way back to the train and headed home.  For once there weren’t any problems with trains being re-routed or unexpected track work, so we made it home at a reasonable hour.  That said, there was one guy on the F train who was talking very loudly to himself.  And of course he had to sit just a few feet away from us.  It always works out that way, doesn’t it?

Anyway, we had a good day.  Here is a link to the gallery on Flickr where I posted the photos from yesterday, as well as the ones I took last year:

As I mentioned before, there is a lot of history to Coney Island.  There have been some amazing buildings in area in the past that no longer exist, due to fires and demolition.  I realize that time marches on, and progress needs to be made.  But it would be nice if some of the past was able to be preserved.  How cool would it be if the Elephantine Colossus, a hotel actually shaped like an elephant, had survived to the present day?  Fortunately, at least some of Coney Island’s historic structures are still relatively intact and have been designated as landmarks.

Elephantine Colossus
Elephantine Colossus

If you have the opportunity to visit Coney Island, you definitely should.  It is well worth seeing the area now, before it changes beyond recognition.  I read in the newspaper today that some local politicians want to build a casino at Coney Island.  I think that’s a bad idea, and apparently so do a lot of other people.  That would just change the area too much, and bring with it a host of problems.  There has to be other ways to reinvigorate the area while still keeping the character of the neighborhood intact.  But, as I said, change happens.  So take advantage of the present to see Coney Island while it still retains some of its rich history.

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