Monday, May 23, 2016

The Curious Coney Island

    Living in New York City and Long Island is a great balance for me, I am always the girl who wants to have busy lives with dynamic things going on every second but sometimes i just want to relax and breath in the fresh air from the countryside where greenery, flowers and a huge blue sky can be seen . Where you just have to interact with the animals. Ahem.

   Between these two balanced lives, there was a time i wanted more, a place where it is different from the city and the tranquil country living, a place that is more intimate, much like a small town. I did a few researches online, hoping i would get out of New York City for a trip,  I thought of going to New Jersey, which was just a train ride away from the station i usually got off to the city, and also a place i could not remember the name, 3 hours train ride away from the city. Yet, through all the considerations i have had, i put these ideas aside and decided my trip would be completed by this special spot - Coney Island.

 Oh Coney Island, the first thought or impression i had for you was based on the Phantom Of the Opera - Love Never Dies. The story of how Christine Daae got away from phantom and has been living and performing in Coney Island secretly alone was such a gripping idea for me to go visit this circus-y, mysterious place. And as i googled the site, what i felt like about this place was it was old, full of history, fantasical and strange at the same time. Well, if you didn't know already, Coney Island is basically a beach with a carnival/ roller coasters sort of attractions. Spoiler alert, there is no circus so we won't be seeing Christine Daae. What i found from the website was it was the month of the Mermaid Parade which everyone can dress as a mermaid and stride down the road if they
want. Interesting. The other thing i found was the icon which i think was a clown, grinning from ear to ear to you doesn't seem pleasing at all, in fact, was a bit eerie. There is certainly something mysterious about this place, This place is old, has been cultivating the American history and i felt I could just step right into the 1950s when i got there.

     The weather on the day i planned to go there wasn't nice at all, it was so cloudy it almost felt like it could rain any moment. So i squeezed in Finding Neverland the musical to my afternoon itinerary first and got to decide if i wanted to go to Coney Island afterwards. Part of it was because of the weather but part of it was because it felt like i was going somewhere else, somewhere out of Manhattan, having nobody knew where i was going, the idea was a bit scary for me as i totally didn't know the  place, will there be any gansters...okay. So let's talk a bit about  Finding Neverland the musical first before we moved on to Coney Island. It was completely different from what i expected, it was not a Peter Panny fantasy storyline, Matthew Morrison's attempt on British accent was not that pleasing but what i didn't expect was i shed a tear in one of the scenes as it was too touching. I thought this would be a family musical where fantasies happened, who knew it would be that touching.

  Anyways, let's get back to the main point. I plucked up my courage and bought myself a single ride ticket to Coney Island. Stepping into the unknown was always intimdating and exciting and i am so glad i took the step. The thing about METRO was really interesting, you can get to anywhere with $2.5. As far as Coney Island to as close as 3 streets away, which literally takes you 5 minutes. The price is the same. That was also why i chose to walk whenever possible like 40 streets down, no problem. i could do that, So $2.5 to Coney Island felt like i earned a lot.

   As i arrived the station of Coney Island, i followed the sign - Mermaid Ave and got out. Shops and restaurants with huge banner reminding me of the Old America greeted me as I walked out. The colors were old, rustic and very American. I felt like i was not in the modern ages anymore.

  Passing along these oldies, i found myself walking up the wooden- boarded stairs and onto the pier of Coney Island. The air of salty, beachy smell wafted into my nose. I have been watching some vlogs where people videotaped themselves on piers in Brighton Piers and that pretty much felt like Brighton Pier. With a cobbled stoned beach, the sea, a pier lined with shops, if i didn't tell you from the picture, it wasn't that much different from Brighten Pier.

    It wasn't raining when i got there. But blue sky was no where to be seen. I wonder how beautiful it would be if it was a sunny day with the sun shining brightly to the sea, casting some crystal reflections on each wave. Still, despite the weather, the voices of seagulls flying across the sky and walking on the wooden boarded pier, hoping to get some food crumbs from the people who just got the food from the shops were producing a lovely scene to this calm place. Stalls of hotdogs, bars with beautiful banners were lying along the pier, people, usually family or friends gather together to walk along the pier or to grab a drink or food, sitting down to enjoy a lazy day from the busy city.

    The walk along the pier was a relaxing moment. It really brought me back to the old days, where pastel colors, bold prints, A-line skirt, prim and proper clothes were in fashion. Like those scene from Brooklyn the movie. Though the movie version was much more intensified in these elements.

   What kind of trip would be completed in Coney Island if i didn't go into the amusement park. So i went inside, hoping to ride on a ride or two before i could catch the train back to the city. Seeing the prices on the game stalls, i wasn't sure what to do. The lowest price one has to pay was $40 and with that $40, you can play up to 6 rides in one zone only. Since the amusement park have totally like 3 zones, it felt really stupid to spend $40 in just one zone. And i didn't have time for that as well. So i walked around and found myself a less intimating roller coaster.

   I approached the staff monitoring that roller coaster/entrance and asked if i could just pay for the ride and how much it would cost for one time only. As i remembered, he was a black guy, young and with a little hair, i think he was wearing a hat too? anyways, he said, Why you just want to ride this one? So i said to him, " I'm just travelling and i will have to leave in 15 minutes but i really want to play this once before i catch the train." (Actually i didn't know why i was in such a rush to catch the 6-ish train duh. But ya that happened.) That staff looked around, seemingly looking for anyone to answer my question.  A few moment later, he said to me, "Don't worry about that", and spun the entrance for me and let me go in for free.

 That was the happiest moment of the day. HE LET ME PLAYED THE ROLLER COASTER FOR FREE. That was the most generous thing i have ever encountered and i could tell you that only happen in Coney Island. I smiled and thanked him and got on the ride which scarily there was no seat belt. So i held tight to the handles on the "horses" and as the bell rang, the "horses" were ready to dash off. It was such an amazing feeling not only i felt adrenaline running through my veins, what's more rewarding was when the "horses" got to the top, i was able to see a bird-eyed view of the pier, the shoreline and the sea. It was so peaceful. I know it's a weird word to use in riding roller coaster, but it really felt like that.

 Thank you for the staff who let me ride that roller coaster for free. The trip would not be completed with his kind act.

Have you ever encountered someone giving you a kind act? And have you ever given to the others?



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