Coney Island

Another huge brownie point I would award to New York City Subway was the way the fare was charged. Unlike (very expensive) London Underground which increased it by zone, its New York counterpart charged a one-off fare for the journey, regardless of the distance. That meant I would pay the exact same amount from my stop 51 St to 42 St Grand Central or to Coney Island. What not to like!

It was another hot day and I wanted to smell a sea breeze…

I hopped on 5 Line and travelled to Brooklyn first. I am not 100% sure but I think it was Bergen St where I alighted.

Walking along McCarren Park…

The streets around Brooklyn were a lot quieter than in Manhattan…

I went to see Manhattan Bridge…

Then with Q Line, I was off to Coney Island. A view from the train was exquisite…

One of the books in the reading list for my post-graduate study was Rem Koolhaas’s classic, Delirious New York, a chronicle of New York City. It was a great read and I was gripped from the beginning to the end. Especially, the chapter which was dedicated to Coney Island was so fantastic, it was etched on my mind.

A view of Luna Park from the window, as the train approached to the terminal…

Luna Park opened in 1903 as one of the three amusement parks in Coney Island. As the name suggests, the original theme of the park was “A Trip To The Moon”. The architectural theme was Oriental, tall mushroom-like towers adorned with countless light bulbs were built around the rides with intriguing names such as the Airship Luna IV, the Barrel of Love, the Tunnel of Love, etc.

Out of the terminal and I found myself on a side street leading towards the beach. The atmosphere was poetically derelict and seductive. It reminded me images from William Eggleston…

The park was no longer called Luna Park but Deno’s Wonder Wheel. I could see structures for the rollercoaster in the distance…

A circuit for go-carting…

Because of the good weather as well as the imminent Fourth of July weekend, the park was full of visitors and a long queue was formed in front of the each ride.

An entrance to the park was situated on the Boardwalk…

Sadly, the present park no longer possessed any original rides from their early days except the Cyclone – one of the oldest wooden structured roller coasters in the world. The ride first rolled down its track on June 26, 1927 and despite some ups and downs – the amusement was nearly scrapped in the 70s – it was declared a New York City landmark on July 12, 1988, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 26, 1991. I would have loved to ride this relic from the past with amazing history. But the crowds around it appeared colossal and the wait for the ride was advertised as 2 hours!

The Boardwalk was lined with restaurants and bars…

It would have been great if I had some company so we could share the famous Coney Island Hot Dog at the Nathan’s…

Kaori by Laori Okumura

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