On July 9, 2011, my friend Jodi and I took my 11-year old nephew, Duke, to Coney Island. I couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to share the Coney Island experience with him. After an hour’s commute on the D train from midtown Manhattan to the Coney Island stop, we arrived at this family-friendly amusement park and beach community.
Just a few days earlier, Joey Chestnut engulfed 62 hot dogs (including buns) in 10 minutes to win his 5th consecutive championship at the annual July 4th Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Contest. Believe you and me, if I could have rallied my NY friends to go see this event, I would have. But now, being there and seeing Coney Island through the eyes of a young boy was exciting enough.
We started the day by walking the boardwalk. The seaside attractions were calling us, so within a few minutes we slapped down some money and tested our fishing skills at a "Go Fish”-like game. We three came out of the fishing challenge with our very own mini Teddy bears. Next up were the bumper cars, Tilt-a-Whirl ride (which was so crazy fast and furious that I had to collect myself after the ride operator gave us extra time of spinning) and some kind of jolting up-down ride that I could have done without.
We wound our way to the arcade room where 40 minutes went as fast as the $25. And for our keen sharp-shooting, motor cross riding, skeet ball tossing, etc. we received a stream of tickets to exchange for…hold on, wait, it’s almost here…a noise maker. Ta-da!
By now it was time to wrap up the afternoon and grab our late lunch at Nathan’s before leaving this land of good times. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to Nathan’s--no ketchup, just mustard on my hot dog. Duke, on the other hand, went for the hamburger. Both were deeeelicious.
Umpteen games, $20s worth of rides, 1000-plus laughs, two lost-then-found sunglass incidents, five stuffed toys, one order of a hotdog, hamburger and side of fries and two bottles of ginger ale later, we headed back into the City. The bottom line is this place is full of numerous rides, food, games and shops. And if it weren’t for the fine New Yorkers who knew how important it is to preserve the past for the future, I wouldn’t have these amazing memories of the day my nephew and I went to Coney Island.
If you want to keep up on the preservation efforts to “restore Coney Island as the Playground of the World”, please connect with http://www.saveconeyisland.net.