The Road Less Travelled: Coney Island + Brighton Beach
The day is sweltering and small droplets of sweat break out along my hairline. I’m sure eggs would fry if I cracked them on the sidewalk. They’d sizzle with abandon until cooked all the way through, smiling sunny eyes perfectly at home in New York’s torrid summertime temperature.
On days like these the question remains: what to do? This is important whether you live here or if you’re visiting during the June – August months as it seems that New York serves up a healthy dose of summer sun that can feel far more offensive than what places like Cairo can deliver. I’m talking oppressive walls of 33 degree heat that come with a generous helping of humidity, the type that make you sweat seconds just after leaving the confines of any air conditioned abode. The sort of air temperature that sends a perfectly coiffed hairdo into a bastion of downward spirals.
This ‘Intolerant’ figures: if you can’t beat the heat…give into it and hit the beach.
Located in southwest Brooklyn are the residential neighbourhoods of Coney Island and Brighton Beach. Bordering the Atlantic Ocean, these suburbs are home to a high number of Russian-speaking immigrants and are blessed with a wide strip of sandy beach and a boardwalk that takes vistors from one neighbourhood edge to the other.
It’s a fantastic walk on a smokin’ hot summer day, so I can only imagine how enjoyable it must be in the mid-Spring or early Fall. People were clearly taking advantage of the July sun and slight breeze as pink and brown bodies frolicked in the surf, kites cut through the air, food was devoured under enormous rainbow coloured umbrellas and a couple of women – only a few thank goodness – ensured they had even tans thanks to the use of foil reflectors (I think I blistered just looking at them).
Not only is Coney Island beach and seaside resort territory, but it also boasts a handful of amusement parks that entertain both the young and old alike. In spite of roasting temperatures and feeling the back of my dress grow sticky with sweat, I was utterly thrilled wandering around the fair grounds, watching children of all ages squeal with delight as they galloped on the merry go round, raced ’round and ’round on the roller coaster or acquired whiplash thanks to the bumper cars.
The smell of popcorn, hot dogs and fried…well…everything really, permeated the air and I marvelled at things I had never seen before and had assumed were urban legends as I had only heard about them via Twitter or travel/recipe sites. Things like deep fried hamburgers, hotdogs, Snickers bars and Coke doused dough. Things that should never be dumped in a vat of oil – or eaten at all for that matter – like Twinkies (do they actually still make these or are they still selling stock from back in the 80s?) and deep fried Oreos.
Oh, hell no. *groans*
I managed to convince Mr. Intolerant to get on the Wonder Wheel so we could unleash our inner children and get a view of New York from above. While the ride was fun and afforded spectacular 360° views, I think I’ll choose one of the stationary compartments next time as opposed to a swinging one.
I mean, no one wants to lose their lunch. Even if it consisted of deep fried Oreos.
In the end, it was a really enjoyable afternoon and I have a feeling it’s a trip I’ll be making (roughly 30-40 minutes by subway from the heart of Brooklyn to Brighton Beach) again and again, especially in the March – June and August – October months
Brooklyn, my dear, you continue to grow on me. I already sense it’s going to be quite hard to leave you.