Photo diary of the Jazz age lawn party, hosted on Governors Island in New York.
On Sunday, I realized a few things: I do not own any beach towels, nor do I own any of the trendy clothing staples the kids these days wear to the beach, including one piece swim suites with open backs and choker necklaces. Instead, I herded a bath towel, a Target swimsuit from high school and an old headscarf into a monstrous IKEA bag. Without any idea of what we had ahead of us, Abby and I ventured off to Coney Island.
The train ride was uneventful, regrettably so. I assumed that during an hour and a half on the subway, I would see something of interest, but that was not the case. I believe it was because I had witnessed a man sexting his partner next to me the day beforehand. It was truly incredible. I was just sitting down, minding my own business, when I happened to glance at a big ole pair of breasts gleaming from this man’s iPhone. I couldn’t believe my luck, my first intrusive look into someone else’s life on the subway! Slowly but surely I’m earning my badges as a New Yorker. Anyway, I saw nothing of the sort on the way to Coney Island.
Stepping out of the Coney Island subway stop was surreal. Grungy shore vibes, mixed with the sounds and smells of an amusement park, backdrop by a beach, all in New York. I hadn’t been back in Brooklyn since the turmoil of my Air BnB experience (see previous post), so it was a welcomed change of pace. Abby and I wandered to the beach to catch some rays before we embarked on our true mission: eating. Looking back, I realize that while lathering myself with multiple layers of SPF 50 is beneficial to my future self, it’s no surprise I retained no color.
The first food of the day was not featured in a photograph due to its not-so-photogenic exterior: a taco. Not just any taco, a mystery taco. You run two risks consuming an ugly mystery taco: severe intestinal issues or sheer bliss. Luckily it was the later. The stand had no name and one employee. While I only ordered one taco, it was the largest taco I have ever been served. It was so unpleasant to the eye because the toppings were strewn about the top of the tortillas. Lettuce, tomatoes, onions and chicken completely covered the corn tortilla shell. No complaints.
The second dish of note was the meat and potatoes: a hotdog and French fries. While I don’t eat hotdogs, Abby maintained dignity for the both of us by loading up a dog with the works. In the meantime, I worked away at the massive vessel of crinkle fries that lie between us. Nathans Hotdogs made me test my limits in ways I didn’t know possible; my French fry tolerance has gone way up since Sunday.
For dessert, Abby and I treated ourselves to mangos on a stick and gelato at Coney’s Cones. While the frozen treat was delicious, it took second place in comparison to the novelty of a mango covered in mysterious red spices. The spices contrasted the sweetness of the mango in the most delectable way.
At the end of the day, amidst the hyper-stimulation that Coney Island creates, I found myself smiling, at no one and at everyone. In comparison to Manhattan, Coney Island feels more real, more authentic. No one is tying to be something they’re not. The beach is lined with bodies, many of which flaunt skimpy swimsuits featuring unflattering excess skin in all the wrong places. Kids build sandcastles next to speakers blaring Nikki Minaj rapping about truffle butter. It’s wonderful, it’s real. While I bid Coney Island adieu for now, it certainly won’t be for long.