Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Coney Island

Coney Island boardwalk
Believe it or not, Coney Island is not an amusement park on an island (seriously, I can't be the only person who thought that).  Rather, it's a normal neighborhood in Brooklyn (like Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant, etc.).  Situated on the south side of Brooklyn, Coney Island exceeded all my expectations whilst not actually meeting any of them.  Seriously, I had expected an island with rides.  Instead, I got a beach resort (See, expectation not met yet exceeded).  Best July 4th surprise ever.

For $2.50 you can take the subway to Coney Island from anywhere in New York City.  The D, F, N and Q lines all terminate at Coney Island.  The B line will get you pretty close, terminating at Brighton Beach.  The journey takes about an hour from Midtown.

Coney Island Beach on July 4th
First of all, who knew New York City had a huge, lovely beach?  I've lived here now for over 6 months and not one person or article about things to do in the summer has mentioned this beach.  Come on!

So, once you finally discover this beach, if you're anything like me, you run out to the water to soak your feet and then plop down in the sand to just absorb the moment.  Not wanting to leave, can you imagine my joy when a plethora of vendors begin to parade in front of me?  Peddling Italian ices ($2), ice creams ($2), churros ($1), mangoes and cotton candies, these vendors allow one to snack on summer foods without expending too much energy or losing your choice beach spot.  Without being obtrusive at all, just pushing their little carts along the sand, ringing a little bell to alert you to their presence, these vendors were very popular and their presence, especially in that suffocating heat, was very welcome.

Luna Park at Coney Island
If simply basking on the gorgeous, 3-mile long beach and playing in the warm (when compared to the Pacific) waters of the Atlantic is not enough to divert you, Coney Island has many other activities to choose from.  In addition to the restaurants and bars found along the boardwalk, there is also an aquarium, amusement areas and rides (including the famous Cyclone) as well as MCU stadium, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones (minor league Mets).

Having never lived in a city with this type of a beach, I'm really excited to start putting together my 'beach bag' for weekday afternoons and lazy weekends.  For the first time ever, I have the opportunity to get off work and go directly to the beach or waste an entire weekend day sitting on the beach instead of on my couch (figuratively, since I don't have a couch).  Who knew this could happen in NYC?

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