Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Coney Is

Okay, here's how it begins. Around 11am today I'm doing dishes and I get a call from my friend Michael. Our company planned an outing to Coney Island today and he called to ask if I was going. I said I was going and he asked if I wanted to ride with him in the zip car that he rented today. Turns out he needed to go to a reading of a new show in New Jersey and needed the car to get there. The car was a convertible Mini Cooper. It took me half a second to say, "I'll be the person in the passenger seat of the Mini Cooper."

It was a compact, cute, maroon Mini Cooper. I ended up in the back seat because I didn't want to be the direction person so Katrin took the passenger seat. That was fine by me. I sat in the back and let the wind blow through my hair without a care in the world as to what I would look like when we arrived. There were so many things to look at while driving from Queens to Brooklyn. A sight that never gets old is the skyline of the city. I love it. As we neared our exit to Coney Island we had nothing but water on the right. I felt like we weren't even in New York anymore. Looking at the Verrazano Bridge, which connects Brooklyn to Staten Island, I felt like we were in California. It was amazing. The sun, the wind, the water, the car, the radio, the laughter - all things that just made any stress melt away.

When we saw the exit sign for Coney Island it read Coney Is. I yelled, "Coney Is" and Michael yelled back, "right lane."

We got to the boardwalk and everyone was thirsty so beer seemed in order. It was such a beautiful day to be on the boardwalk and the beach. We three met up with our coworkers who already had a spot on the beach. I took off the shoes and socks and rolled up the jeans and put my feet in the sand. What is it about sand and bare feet? It feels so good! I wanted to go to the water's edge and let the surf wash over my feet. I love the way the sand erodes as the water retreats. How perfect to be standing in the water with a cold Corona having a great conversation with friends from work. Kudos to our company for doing this for us.

Enough with the water. It was lovely and all, but we all wanted to ride the Wonder Wheel. It was time to hit Astroland. I've lived here 12 years and this was only my second time to visit Coney Island. Both of which happened this year. However, the park was closed in April when I took my mom to Coney Island so this was the first time to ride any of the rides. We started with the Wonder Wheel. It's completely different than the ferris wheel I used to ride at the Carlisle County Fair back home. For starters, it's bigger. For seconds, some of the cars actually swing. We chose a swinging car. When it first started to swing as we moved I couldn't believe I had gotten myself into this. By the second time we started to swing I was better. I asked why there was nothing for me to hold on to in the back seat. Michael said, "Because it's a kiddie ride." By the second rotation of the wheel I was more relaxed and having a great time. The view was breathtaking. I just wanted to stare at the water. There's just something about the ocean. It's soothing and comforting. From the top of the Wonder Wheel there was even a view of downtown Manhattan. Again, gorgeous. The bumper cars and the spook-o-rama were the next two rides that had me laughing harder than I've laughed in weeks. It reminded me of Noble Park in Paducah, KY. We used to go there when I was a teenager. It was old and nostalgic much like Coney Island. If the opportunity arises for you to drive around and hit people in bumper cars, I say do it!

Then came the final ride. The one not everyone would ride. The rickety, wooden, looks-like-it's-gonna-fall Cyclone. Four of us chose to ride the roller coaster. We were in the middle of the cars. As we started up that first hill, that incline that will plummet us down once we've reached the top, I began to prepare myself for the plunge. And what a plunge it was. I swear it's almost straight down. I came out of my seat every time we went down hill. It reminded me of The Screaming Eagle at Six Flags or The Beast at King's Island. One of those old wooden coasters that goes 90 mph and throws you all over the place. We were thrown around like rag dolls. Well, rag dolls that had a safety bar in their laps. I laughed and screamed and said "Oh my Lord" so much that Michael made fun of me for the rest of the evening. When we reached the starting point again, the attendant asked if we wanted to ride again. Michael and I were totally game and headed to the front car this time. Let's just say it was a crazy good time.

The main event of the company outing was the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball game. How many of you that know me think of me and baseball in the same sentence? I bought the requisite hot dog with mustard and relish and a Miller Lite. I wanted a Corona, but that wasn't even an option. We sat there and cheered and clapped and talked and laughed. There were at least 20 of us total. So it wasn't Yankee Stadium. It was Keyspan Park and my first baseball game in New York. It was fantastic!

Piling back into the Mini Cooper we headed toward the lights of the city we call home. I'm tired and my neck hurts a little, but I wouldn't trade this day for the world. It was the perfect day to be at Coney Island and this bunch of people and the things we did went together like the ingredients in a blended cocktail worth savoring.