Coney Island - Non-Ride Trip Report - Aquarium, Beach, Boardwalk, 8/25/2013

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Thursday, August 29, 2013 1:27 AM

I wasn't sure if I would post this under a trip report or the regular forum, but I went back to Coney Island for the first time with "Preflux" last Sunday.

The goal was to walk around...hit the beach...grab a qick bite on the boardwalk and get home - all using mass transportation from Long Island. The weather was very pleasant - mid 80s and no rain in the forcast.

Keep in mind that I had not been there since they fixed it up - which was before hurricane Sandy. Also, I chose Coney Island, not for rides...but for a beach. Preflux was "rided out" since our recent Knoebels visit and he has started to turn away from rides. Even those that he used to ride and like as a young teen. He also was interested in warmer water than the major beaches on Long ISland could provide...and I thought that the shallower and more gentle waters of Coney Island and Brighton would meet his comfort level.

Just a few observations...

Atmosphere - - - > The area was PACKED!!!! I knew right away that if we were going to get some space...we would have to leave the main amusement area and somewhere in Bay 10 we placed our stuff next to a life guard chair and hit the water. My predictions were correct. The water was calm and warmer than the places we usually go.

In the water - near the (wave) brake line, I noticed small schools of baitfish in the water. I don't want to turn this into a fishing report, but many of these school fishes were wiped out with the storm and are starting (just starting) to rebuild. IN a few weeks, the blues and bass will start storming the beaches gorging themselves on these guys during the fall run.

THere were shells, a few sea snails and (unfortunately) some glass fragments. We pulled up 4 that we (thankfully) didn't step on and placed them in the garbage pails that were unfortunately closer to the boardwalk than the shore line. I never saw glass in the water at Wildwood and frankly it made me mad and sad.

Boardwalk - - -> There are what look like elevated trailers on the boardwalk that are rest rooms and they looked like they were well used. IN a few areas I saw solar-powered charging stations for cell phones. There were gazeebos where singers and dance teams started doing their thing. The music and was dance and latin, but the audience was VERY mixed during the day. There were people from every race, religion and age that you could possibly imagine and for one crowded glorius day....everyone was just enjoying the day. I did not see one incident where I felt nervous or in danger. The frequently passing patrol vehicles were making sure of it.

I am not not an idiot. I know that Coney Island has a very high crime and poverty rate....but like Atlantic CIty, the main area of attractions were hopping and well-patrolled. (Also it was in the middle of a sunny summer Sunday. THis was not 11 PM in the back alleys.)

The main Nathan's was mayhem so we grabbed some lunch from the satallite Nathan's on the boardwalk. Long lines and slow moving. They guy ringing up lines was also making pretzels. Not very efficient. Also a manager type guy in a collar shirt was pacing around the place...but not helping to man a station.

Finding a bench was difficult....but worth it. The view was spectacular. (We even saw a guy with a large snake offering people to "wear it" while he or someone else took photos. Anything to make a buck. Also....on the beach....entropranours were pushing coolers selling cotton candy, ice cream, soft drinks. I'm sure they weren't liscensed, but their presence was welcomed.

We went to the aquarium and at this point it was a little sad. Sandy took it's toll on the much visited attraction and a now discounted 10 bucks gets you in to about 1/3 of it. You can see the main tank which is a reef replica, some other smaller tanks, and also the penguins, seals, walruses and the sea lion show. That's it. No more sharks, jellyfish, local tank, petting area, etc. The gift shop is still there - but that's abot it. There are signs all over showing new and impressive improvements, but it will happen in the next few years. (In stages.)

The rides were hopping - but I knew we would just be observers. There were tons of kiddie rides in the mix too. It looks like the city got a lot of this right.

I think back in time to movies and black and white documentaries that show throngs of people coming to Coney Island by train to escape life for the day. It is my hope that the positive changes continue so that this scenario can continue to play out indefinately.

Thanks for reading this. Have a great night.

PS - School starts up after Labor Day so I think my "riding season" is over. (I'll stay in my vehicle until the ride comes to a complete stop.) Even though I didn't ride anything on Sunday, it was a nice way to end the summer.

Stay safe!

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Thursday, August 29, 2013 4:25 PM

Enjoyed the report immensely, Richie. Unfortunately, the (very) few times I've been to Coney it was to spend a day at Luna, see a Cyclones game, and/or take a few laps on Cyclone/Wonder Wheel. Those visits always included a Nathan's dog and orangeade. But I never gave thought to other attractions in the area, and reports like this show me I should have.

How old is Preflux now?

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Thursday, August 29, 2013 10:30 PM

Mike Gallagher said:

How old is Preflux now?

A year older than last year.

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