30 Before 30 / Bits & Bites

30 Before 30: #3 – Go to Coney Island

Yes, I know, I’ve already turned 30.  This project is now more like “30 Before 30 is Over,” and I will still consider it a success if I can finish off the list before I turn 31.

This has been a tough one to accomplish because Coney Island is kinda far away.  It’s the last stop on the N/Q and takes an hour and fifteen minutes to get to, which isn’t all that long when you’re actually doing it but sounds like forever when you’re planning.

Since I had never been to Coney Island, there was a lot I wanted to see there.  We missed the Mermaid Parade this year (one of the area’s biggest and wackiest attractions) but read about a sand sculpture competition (the 25th annual, no less!) and decided to build our adventure around that.  After watching the “Famous Nathan” documentary about a year and a half ago I knew the legendary hot dog spot also had to be a stop on the trip.  Since I saw the movie with Danielle, I called to let her know we were going on Saturday and she told me she and Seth were planning the same thing.  Commence: girly freak-out.  It was meant to be.  Now the trip out there was bound to be more fun because we had buddies!

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View of Brooklyn from a dingy subway window

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There’s a beach and rides and restaurants; Coney Island is a little all over the place…so what to wear?!  I decided not to wear a bathing suit underneath my clothes because I just didn’t feel like my stuff would be safe if we all got in the water and left it on the beach.  Still, I wanted something that would be fun for walking on the beach/boardwalk.  Gotta think practical: no dresses because I didn’t want to flash anybody while I was on a ride.  No child needs to go on an exciting trip to Coney Island only to be scarred for life after seeing my num nums.  I also went with a small crossbody bag that could go with me on the rides (though I learned most rides make you leave your things with the attendant anyway).  Make sure not to wear flip flops or you’ll just worry about them falling off on the rides. my outfit was perfect for a first trip to Coney Island, when it was all about exploring. The next trip will be less about the amusement park and more about the beach. For the price of a subway ride, you get to enjoy a gorgeous beach – it may be trashier than the Hamptons or even Long Beach, but the ease of travel and free aspect makes up for it.

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Most sculpteurs were pretty amateur (which means you – yes, you! -can participate), but there were a few really good competitors.

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Triumph! I was terrified but made it through one of my first roller coaster experiences.

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“I wanna be big!”

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Some musts:

  • Get a hot dog from Nathan’s. The service was terrible as it was way understaffed, but it’s an institution and a pretty good dog.
  • Grab an ice cream and strut your stuff on the boardwalk. There was some great salsa dancing going on when we were there.
  • Go on a coaster because you deserve a thrill.
  • Check out the current art installation behind Nathan’s. Local artists got to graffiti up some walls. It’s in the same area as an outpost of Smorgasburg, where the vendors use shipping containers as stalls.
  • Grab a beer from the Coney Island Brewery. It’s not actually a brewery, but it’s local beer with good packaging and in the same spot as the sideshow and burlesque show if you’re looking for some entertainment.

Coney Island is an all-around fun experience.  It’s so much easier to get to than you’d think and, once there, it’s such a different world.  This is the ultimate summer mini-getaway.

Date of Completion: 8/15/15 (Yes, after my 30th birthday but before my 31st – I’m ok with that.)

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