Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Coney Island the Good

Greetings Friends,

After all the disturbance and mayhem of last weekend, I needed an image of something happy and inspiring; the first thing I thought of was the Cyclone.

As both Canada and the United States get ready to celebrate their independence (has the Queen given her official permission? She is here in Canada as I write this), what better way to get into the spirit than to conjure happy memories of favourite activities and places. All my fellow Brooklynites look forward to the Nathans Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest with relish (pardon the pun). Of course, it takes place at Nathans' location in Coney Island, just steps from the world-famous behemoth roller coaster, The Cyclone

Coney Island has been undergoing a renaissance with the opening of Luna Park, the NY Penn League's Brooklyn Cyclones, and renewed interest in turning the area into a "mixed use" neighbourhood. That's a far cry from when Frank Sinatra, Jr. wanted to turn Coney Island into a gambling pit stop between Las Vegas and Atlantic City. I'm not sure what happened to that plan, but it's now obvious it's been scrapped. Besides, Native American casinos have since popped up nationwide, ballooning America's gambling "jones" into ubiquity. I hear the Shinnecock Indians are thisclose to getting approval to put a casino on their land on Eastern Long Island. That should send seasonal Hamptons residents fleeing like lemmings towards the sea. 

Regardless of the intent, I'm glad Coney Island is rebounding. I spent many a day down there in my younger years, and rode the incomparable Cyclone as many times as I could stand to without horking my brains out. I've seen much nicer beaches in my time, but none can compare to the boardwalk, the Aquarium, the WonderWheel, and of course, the Cyclone. You have to be an urban dweller to understand my affinity to this mini "wonderland" ensconced in the concrete jungle. There may not be an animal safari or parking lots named "Donald" and "Goofy", but it is a magical place; to me, more magical than Tomorrow Land, Space Mountain, and that ridiculous mouse.

Happy Canada Day, and God Save the Queen.


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