The first time I ever went to Coney Island, NY was my first full summer in NYC. I was recently single and raring to live my life. I strapped on my bikini and took the N train from Astoria Blvd (2nd to last stop) to Coney Island (the last stop on the train). As the ride progressed more and more brightly dressed and sequined people boarded the train until it was a pretty sea of potential mer-people.
This time, the anticipation was more centered around meeting Brazilian Helicopter Pilot’s friend from his undergraduate program, H.R. Man. We got off work and hung out for about an hour before jumping on the train to get into deep deep deep Brooklyn. We arrived at the Coney Island station only a few minutes before H.R. Man and I immediately gravitated toward the huge poster explaining what a rip current is and how it’s not called a “rip tide” and what to do if you get sucked into one (you swim parallel to the shore until you are out and then head back to shore). Now remember that I grew up in lakes. The worst you have to worry about in lakes is gross, nasty, slimy seaweed touching your bare legs. In the ocean you have to worry about rip currents, getting salt water in your eyes, jelly fish, sharks, and bodies wrapped in plastic and left in life guard shacks (thanks Criminal Minds for that last one). While I was terrorizing myself imagining being sucked out to sea and murdered by the sea witch, H.R. Man showed up and the fun part of the night started!
We quickly decided not to go to Nathan’s for dinner because it had really long lines and I wanted to sit down. We dismissed the SUPER AWESOME FAMOUS pizza place because it’s cash only, and finally landed on Wahlburgers. Yes. We decided to stand in line for almost an hour to sit on the roof of a restaurant owned by the Wahlbergs. The wait was fun because Brazilian Helicopter Pilot and H.R. Man were excited to catch up. Between the three of us we had lots of fun stories. I contributed mostly by horrifying H.R. Man with all my H.R. violations.
It was a lucky thing that we were good company for each other because the service and the food left much to be desired. Now my first job was in a restaurant and I was terrified of waiting tables so I mostly handled back bar and running the dishes. I have a million and one stories that I could tell you about working in a restaurant. My third job was a barista. I KNOW customer service and the service industry and I know how hard it can be. But I swear to God the roof was almost deserted and we never had the same server/wait staff person twice. The food wasn’t bad, but the burger that Brazilian Helicopter Pilot did not look extraordinary and my salad was average. They also forgot H.R. Man’s fries. To top the whole thing off it started to sprinkle in the middle of the meal so we all had to huddle up close to Brazilian Helicopter Pilot because he was the one under the umbrella. Now, I don’t mind being snuggled up to my honey, but I am a jealous woman. Ain’t nobody else supposed to be cozyed up next to my baby.
Once we were done eating and were about to head out BOOM! The fireworks start. The one good thing about the staff was they did let us stay up on the roof to watch the entirety of the show instead of being jerks and making us leave. One of them actually pointed us over to the other side so that we could see them more clearly. Like any true fireworks lover I oooooooohhhhhed and aaaaaaaaahhhhhed and made boom ffffffsssssshhhh noises along with the fireworks. In that moment, I could FEEL how much Brazilian Helicopter Pilot loved me and how adorable he thought I was without even looking over my shoulder to see the look he was giving me.
After the fireworks we wandered around Coney Island a little. Saw some of the wall art while there was music playing so loud with such a strong bass line it was over-writing my heartbeat. H.R. Man is a connoisseur of roller coasters so he was regaling us with tales of which ones were the best and what ones not to go one as we walked. I am not a roller coaster kind of girl. I went on the Superman Ride of Steel once and only once. They strapped me in and not even halfway up the first hill I knew I had made a major major mistake. We crested the hill and went over. I screamed so hard nothing came out. Let me repeat that. I SCREAMED SO HARD NOTHING CAME OUT. THAT IS WHAT HAPPENS IN NIGHTMARES WHEN RAPISTS ARE RUNNING AFTER YOU WITH CHAINSAWS AND YOU ARE BUCKASS NAKED BOOKING IT DOWN THE STREET AND NO ONE IS AROUND TO SEE OR HEAR YOU AND YOU CANNOT FUCKING SCREAM SO ARE SO SCARED.
We meandered down the boardwalk toward the carousel (I still cannot spell this fucking word even though I grew up next to the freaking CAROUSEL MALL) and Parachute Jump, which was lit up. H.R. Man and Brazilian Helicopter Pilot were shocked to learn I have never had White Castle and it was unanimously decided without me that the next time we came down to Coney Island that was where we would be eating. We were sort of loitering near the base of the Parachute Jump and I made the executive decision that I had not gotten enough ocean air the last time I was at the beach so I directed us down the pier so I could greedily gulp down the heavy salt air as we wove our way between people and conversation topics. I will never tire of the smell of the ocean and the feel of the ocean breeze on my skin. On our way back down the pier, heading back to land, there were two crabs scuttling around and a small group of people shrieking about it.
H.R. Man then guided us to an amazing gelato shop where Brazilian Helicopter Pilot and I got milkshakes, mine was the cappuccino flavored gelato and I nearly cried it was so good. We then entered the heart of Coney Isand – the rides. We didn’t go on any of them, but H.R. Man pointed out all of his favorite rides and I shook my head emphatically telling him that “I never ever ever could” and in return I pointed out all the rides I could do – the spinning teacups, the swings, the Himalaya, etc. The final ride he showed us had me backing away, eyes wide, saying “No, oh no, oh God no, they’re not going to….oh noooo!” it also had flashing lights that were BEGGING to send someone into a seizure.
Despite the hellacious subway ride back to my apartment in Manhattan, it was a wonderful time : ) 15/10 would recommend