I was especially excited to head out there, because Ryan and I had never been to the ocean together before. The beach wasn’t crowded in the least, and the weather was sunny and breezy. We even bought a Pro Kadima paddle ball set for a little extra entertainment (well worth the purchase as it now accompanies us on every park trip). We spent the whole afternoon playing paddle ball and attempting to swim in the (freezing) water. The ocean floor was so ridiculously rocky that you could barely walk! If we ever go back, I’m definitely bringing a pair of these hot numbers with me:
Unfortunately, my camera battery died after just one photo, something you’ll soon find to be a recurring theme in my life. I only have one snapshot of Ryan, but it’s definitely not his most flattering photo so I don’t think he’d “appreesh” very much if I posted it. :) I did collect a bunch of seashells from the excursion though, which we washed and arranged in a vase for posterity. Something a little more romantic to remember the trip by than just that Pro Kadima set.
Ryan: Blair fails to mention that she wrapped the shells up in a bandana, and just left them on the kitchen window sill for about 4 months before washing and arranging them...
Labor Day 2008
This year, we decided to venture out to Coney Island for our big Labor Day trip. I’d read somewhere that this summer was the last summer you’d be able to find Coney Island in all it’s freak show-watchin’, arcade-playin’, Nathan’s Hot Dog-eatin’ glory. Apparently, some real estate developer bought everything up and will tear down most of the Coney Island attractions everyone has come to know and love; we didn’t want to miss out on the experience before it was dissappeared. Ryan: Besides, where would all the foreign immigrants go to bask in their Speedos?
It took us about an hour to get there by subway, around 20 stops or so. MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority, for all you non-city dwellers, is the government agency that runs the subway system here in the city) is testing out some new state-of-the-art subway cars, so I was pretty amped to be on one for the ride out. So clean and high-tech, with electronic maps, TVs, and whatnot.
The train station is caddy corner to the original Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog stand, so we made that our first stop of the day. Needless to say, the line was PACKED! We waited in line for about 25 minutes, just to get a taste of the original Coney Dog (yes, I’m still a vegetarian, we’ll get to that in a minute). The wait was worth it though just for the people watching. Plenty of crazies out there to observe. Ryan: Again, the Speedos and lots of chest hair.
My favorite was probably the lady who was standing in front of us in line for hot dogs… A normal enough looking gal, about 10 years older than us. Nice and quiet in line, until it came to be her turn. All of a sudden I hear her yell at the cashier “What do you MEAN it’s all hot dogs… Like MEAT hot dogs!?”, and then proceeded to have a nice little meltdown. Apparently this chick waited in line… for 25 minutes… at arguably the most FAMOUS, old fashioned hot dog stand of all time… and just assumed that their “peppers and onions dog” was a veggie hot dog made of peppers and onions. Call me crazy, but I don’t know why someone would think that an institution like that would buck 90-some-odd years of tradition and just decide to say “You know what? We should throw some mock meat wieners on that menu.”
Once her little tofu-fueled tantrum had subsided, it was our turn to get a piece of hot dog history. Even though I’m still a Boulder veggie hippie at heart, I decided to give one of those dogs a shot. I mean, they’re supposed to be the best in the world, right? It just seemed wrong to pass up the opportunity and have a side of fries for lunch instead. We went crazy with corn dogs, regular Coney dogs, and a large order of cheesy fries. Those cheese fries alone had a modest calorie count of 1,444. Nice. I must say that I can kind of understand why Kobayashi would want to put 60 of those suckers down, they were pretty delish.
Nice Fingertip In The Gratuteous Nathan's Shot, Ry
Those Wicked Cheese Fries
They Apparently Couldn't Be Bothered To Cut This One, So We Also Had Cheese Fingerling Potatoes
After that, we tried to walk off the 2 days’ worth of calories we had just ingested and take in some of the sights. We ended up making a bee line right for the infamous Cyclone Roller Coaster. It probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do after a huge lunch of hot dogs, cheese fries, and soda, but we were still game.
The World Famous Coney Island Cyclone
I Don't Want To Talk About It.
Ryan and I both consider ourselves roller coaster fans, so we weren’t considering the ride to be anything special. I mean rickety old wooden roller coasters are cool and all, but no match for the newer, faster, high-tech machines they have today, right? WRONG.
This. Thing. Was. SCARY. By stroke of luck (or not?), we ended up in the front car. I spent the entire ride seriously wondering if I would get brain damage, or whether we would just die first before the brain damage had the chance to kick in. You could literally feel the car separating and lifting off of the track as it turned corners and lunged down the drops. Overall it was a great experience, but we were pretty sore for the rest of the day. Here’s a little snapshot of what was probably my favorite part of the whole experience:
Needless to say, we stayed away from the rest of the rides that afternoon. After the roller coaster, I wasn’t about to tempt fate by getting on another crazy old ride some carnie was operating. These little feet were staying squarely on the ground, thankyouverymuch.
Hot Dog Vending Machine... Seriously
Strangest Attraction There
We decided to end off the trip by walking out to the end of the Coney Island pier. I definitely recommend this if you’re looking to get away from the touristy stuff and want to observe the locals in their native habitat. The pier is apparently the hot spot for fishing, so we spent a good portion of the time watching people make a lazy afternoon out of catching the evening’s dinner.
Being a mountain gal (and not a huge fan of seafood), I’ve never had much exposure to anything having to do with lobsters, crabs, etc. We had the pleasure of watching people fishing for crab, which is something I never thought I’d see. Basically, it consists of someone tying a raw chicken thigh to the bottom of a collapsible basket, and then hurling it off the pier. They tether the basket with a rope to the pier, let it sink to the bottom, and wait for some unsuspecting crab to catch a bite of chicken goodness. We probably saw 10 or 20 crabs in various peoples’ catch buckets.
Crab Potting In Action
All in all, it was a really fun experience for the both of us. We both feel very blessed to live in a city that has so much to offer us only a short train ride away. We hope you were able to squeeze a little adventure into your Labor Day as well!!!