The other morning, The B Man and I woke up and instantly started listing things which must be done: laundry, buy a shower curtain, grocery shopping, clean out the hall closet... the list was boring and stupid and I had no care for any of it.
Halfway through the list, I cocked my head to the side and said "Wanna go to Coney Island?" The B Man, not one to ever shy away from a good time, agreed. So we hopped on the Q train and headed down to one of Brooklyn's oldest gems.
For those of you who don't know, Coney Island is a little barrier island (but really more a peninsula since the gap was filled many moons ago) on the southern coast of Brooklyn. It's been a major tourist attraction since just after The Civil War as a seaside resort, but since the early 20th Century, it's main draw has been the amusement parks.
There have been a few different parks throughout the years, but today you've got Luna Park. A carnival-style amusement park just across the boardwalk from the Atlantic Ocean.
You can buy wristbands, tickets for individual rides, or "credit cards" that give you access to pretty much everything in the park (with the exception of the older rides like The Wonder Wheel and the Cyclone which have to paid for separately). Prices are incredibly reasonable and if you go during the week, like we did, you basically won't have to wait in line, or "on line" as the natives say.
If you come in through the Stillwell Ave entrance, the first ride you will see is this...
The Thunderbolt is by far the craziest of the new rides a Luna Park with a nearly vertical drop and plenty of upside-down loops.
So naturally, that's what we did first! As always with roller coasters, I'm psyched out of my mind until they lock me in and it starts moving. This was no exception and once we were tilted completely vertical, I decided this was a terrible idea and was very vocal about it.
The ride up is anxiety producing and by far the hardest part of the whole thing, but I'm sure you'd have a great view if you have the guts to open your eyes... I did not.
But once the first drop began, we were off like a rocket and I was having a blast! This ride was so freaking fun my face was basically frozen in a giant smile afterward.
I did it!
Oh B Man, endlessly cooler than me.
With our adrenaline pumping, we raced on to the next ride. Sadly, the world famous, Cyclone wasn't running that day. It was a bit of a disappointment, but the Cyclone has been having a bit more trouble since it was submerged in water during Hurricane Sandy a few years ago. And quite honestly, I like my roller coasters in tip top shape due to fear of death and bodily harm.
We hopped on The Soaring Eagle (which I didn't manage to snag a pic of). But it's one of the coasters where you lay flat on your stomach and fly around Superman-style.
At this point we were pretty hungry and where else do you eat at Coney Island except for Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs?
Nathan's is an institution almost as old as Coney Island itself and if you go there and don't grab a dog, you are a fool.
I got an original dog, with chili, sautéed onions, sauerkraut, fries, and a traditional lemonade.
The hot dog's themselves and the toppings are gluten free, and I just brought a piece of Udi's Gluten Free Bread in place of a bun. Celiacs will need to check on the oil the fries were fried in, it varies by location.
About two seconds after we sat down, our plates looked like this:
Can you say gutbomb?
After stuffing ourselves full of chili dogs and fries we decided it would be less than wise to hop on a roller coaster, so instead we wandered the boardwalk and took some pictures.
I guarantee I didn't look nearly this composed on the actual ride.
Locally, Coney Island has the reputation for being a little dirty and filled with weirdos. It's certainly not the pristine, white sand beaches of The Hamptons, and pre-Hurricane Sandy it was a little rundown and in need of a facelift. The hurricane basically wiped out the whole thing and the result after the construction is a much newer and cleaner Coney Island that is still filled with the same delightful New York weirdos.
No joke, there was a man walking around with a python around his neck. He wasn't a boardwalk performer, just a man wanting to take his snake to the beach for the day. I did not take pictures do to crippling fear of snakes.
The wind doesn't do hair any favors, but whateves, it's Coney Island!
As my expression suggests, I grew a bit tired of taking pics and was ready to hit up more rides and games. So back to the park we went, hitting up some carnival games and The Steeplechase rollercoaster (do this ride BEFORE eating Nathan's, the way they secure you into that ride puts a lot of pressure on the tum and don't be fooled, it's crazy fast).
We even made a detour to see Miss Coney Island.
If you giver her a quarter, she and her cats do a little dance for you. It's sort of the epitome of Coney Island: a weird mannequin with cats dancing in a window for money.
Coney Island is a New York summer tradition you simply can't miss. It was by far one of the most fun days I've had in a long time. If you can, get yourself on the Q or the F train and take it all the way down. You'll have a hell of a time and have had a quintessential New York experience.
P.S. I won that polar bear stuffed animal. He now lives on my dresser next to a really radical penguin The B Man won. Truly fine trophies!