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

Tokyo Dome City Attractions @ Kōrakuen

Trudging around my studio, I had been wincing and sighing. It felt like I was a deep-sea diver with lead boots on. After last night’s hockey practice, I was again, a complete wreck. One of great qualities Hubbie possessed was he always knew when to keep his mouth shut. Instead of reminding me that I may be too old for this kind of physical challenge, he just gave me a knowing nod and carried on eating his dinner. Even after 24 hours, every bit of my body aches and I just can’t shake off this annoying fatigue which drapes over my shoulders. Gee, am I really too old to take up the sport one more time? A feeling of doubt raises its head and it bothers me. Oh well, I am not gonna throw in a towel. Not just yet…

Enough moaning.
Let’s turn the clock back to the mid January Tokyo time.
The aforementioned super cute Moomin Bakery & Cafe was situated in the middle of an amusement park called Tokyo Dome City Attraction. This park was used to be called Kōrakuen Yūenchi (後楽園ゆうえんち) which opened its gate in 1955…

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Various rides and attractions were crammed into a confined space.

A merry‐go‐round was built on top of the restaurant and they were wrapped around by a canal for a water slider…

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It was a normal weekday and therefore the park had only a handful of visitors.
Despite the temperature hovering just above 0 degree, some people were boarding “Wonder Drop”…

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Just before each ride ended, there was a final steep descend which catapulted the craft to hit the water so hard that it splashed cold water all over the poor passengers! I guessed they would have to take a refuge in one of the cafés until their clothing became dry.

Another noise which broke the stillness of the under occupied park was a roar of the roller coaster “Thunder Dolphin”…

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Mum was never a big fan of amusement park attractions. We visited Tokyo Disneyland years ago and I remembered her steadfast refusal to climb aboard any ride. No matter how hard she was coaxed – “Mum! You don’t know what you are missing!!”, she never joined the queue. I wouldn’t have minded trying the roller coaster if the weather wasn’t so wintry. My teeth would be chattering with the cold air rather than with fear, I thought…

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Once we finished inspecting the park, we visited an adjacent shopping mall, LaQua.
The view of the park from above…

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The mall was rather unremarkable. Most of their merchandise was not very memorable or original. The only thing which pulled my attention was Shūgi-bukuro (祝儀袋) envelopes on sale…

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Aren’t they cute?
The decorative envelopes are used to wrap cash gift for newlywed couples.
The ones I knew were more traditional kinds – just red & white. Even mum was astonished by the amount of new designs!

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A view of the Tokyo Dome from LaQua..

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This all-weather baseball stadium is the first of its kind in Japan and nicknamed as Tokyo Big Egg. The stadium serves as a home ground of Yomiuri Giants the baseball team and also hosts various sports events as well as trade shows throughout a year. I am yet to step into this air-supported structure but visited the predecessor ballpark, Kōrakuen Stadium as a child. When mum & I were there, they were hosting a nationwide ekiben (boxed lunch) fair. We were tempted by it but didn’t fancy walking around the area over 112,456 m2 (27.788 acres) so headed home.

I feel bad about my blog slacking off recently. Once my body is used to a new fitness regime and I feel less exhausted, I shall log my blog more frequently. Thank you for your patience and understanding. X

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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