October 5, 2013

Summer Summations; Vol. 3: Brooklyn Cyclones

Now, with the dog days behind us and autumn officially arrived, in order to sum up the series of "Summer Summations" that I have been writing, I want to talk about a wonderful place that I had been hearing about my entire life, but never had the chance to visit until this August. I'm talking about Coney Island in Brooklyn, NY.

This long row of family entertainment runs along Surf Avenue and parallels the beach and boardwalk with its first big attraction being the NY Aquarium. At the time of my visit, parts of the facility were closed for renovation after being damaged by Hurricane Sandy with the promise that the revamped aquarium would unveil many new features as of 2016. Even so, I was treated to a sea lion show, a penguin feeding, an encounter with some friendly otters, and an indoor array of bright tanks that houses many fascinating examples of oceanic life. For the reduced price of admission, this aquatic sojourn was well worth the time.

After a stepping out of the aquarium and on to the boardwalk, a brief stroll brought me into the midst of the carnival atmosphere of a string of amusement parks that takes over the landscape. Featured here is the famous roller coaster "The Cyclone," as well as Deno's Wonder Wheel and several extreme rides such as the Sling Shot. Nearby is also the Coney Island Circus Sideshow. It is a sword-swallowing, snake-charming, fire-breathing good time. It is also the last authentic sideshow on Earth.

For lunch, I stopped at the Original Nathan's Famous for some cheese fries and chili dogs. This structure has been in place since 1916, when it was a nickle hot dog stand. While I've have enjoyed food from the Nathan's in the mall a few times, for some reason, it just tastes better when sitting under an umbrella on the boardwalk during a warm, sunny Brooklyn afternoon.

Last last stop along the boardwalk is MCU Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Single-A affiliate of the New York Mets. As I try my best to attend at least one baseball game every summer, I was very fortunate to find out that the Cyclones were in town for an evening game at the time of my visit. The diamond looks absolutely beautiful with the now-defunct Parachute Jump tower being lit up with all different colors just beyond the right field wall. A very exciting night!

After the game let out, I took another walk on the boardwalk, which is still very active in the evening. I can definitely see why Coney Island is such a special place. I'll definitely go again in the future. Cheers!

"Remember, O LORD,
your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you are good, O LORD."

~Psalm 25:6-7