During it’s heyday in the early 20th century Coney Island was a major resort destination complete with a full-scale amusement park and expansive beaches. Since it was a short train ride from my temporary pad in Brooklyn, I dug out a swimsuit and took off to see what it was all about. It’s all still there, the beaches, amusement park, even parts of the resort, but is not exactly the glamorous destination it once was.
Which is just my style. It’s gritty, it’s run-down but also nostalgic and sentimental and downright historic. Maybe just don’t swim in the water.
Have I told you I was a carny once? Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon was my employer for a summer back in college days. Everything about it was great, the sunshine, the screaming children, the other carnies, even the puke (Adventureland is spot on). Most of us have a special place in our psyches for amusement parks, but I feel a double fondness having worked behind the scenes.
Nathan’s Famous is a Coney Island landmark, known for it’s hotdogs, french fries served with a tiny fork, and house-made lemonade. And frog legs apparently. Since I’m not a hot dog eater (long story) and have never in my life seen frog legs on a menu, it was an obvious choice. Deep fried in a thick batter they are about the size of a chicken drumstick, but taste more like a fish stick. It’s hard to dislike anything deep fried, but these were really not half bad. I even made some friends over frog leg discussion. New Yorkers are so dang friendly, it’s hard not to love ’em.
I even caught a minor league baseball game while there, the Brooklyn Cyclones, and will proudly sport the free jersey I got just for walking through the gate. My kinda place.