Finally, Coney Island 6/21

Associated parks:
None

Saturday, June 28, 2008 6:46 PM
Bummed that I didn't get to experience Coney Island last year with the impending closing of Astroland I finally wore down my wife with my insistent mentioning of CI into every fourth conversation. I do the same with Disney also.

A local hospital was running a bus trip to NY and for $46 each it was better than making the 3+ hr. trip in the car. However, in a car I could have stopped on the way home and stretched my legs as my 6'3" was feeling very cramped on the way home. It's why I always look longingly at those seats in first class on the planes. Can't afford them, just look at them.

We arrived around 9 am and they dropped us off at 7th Ave. and 50th. 7th Ave. was closed down to Times Square for a 'street fair' of sorts so we strolled down the middle of the street for several blocks. We didn't really look at any of the stands to shop, that has no real interest to us. It's probably why we don't travel there much, that and my wife is no real fan of the big cities.

After passing a big 'yogathon' in Times Square we found a Q line subway (per the suggestion of a recent TR), bought Metro Cards for more money than we would need for the round trip and waited maybe 10 minutes in the very warm, very humid station. I'm guessing no air conditioning.

Arrived at CI around 10:45 and walked right over to Nathan's (one of the main reasons for the trip for me) with a one person wait and only half the counter space being used. I told my wife I had seen photos of how crowded this place can be and when we walked by at 3 p.m.. a mob probably 6 people deep everywhere around the building.

When I had a SP to HP last year I refused to eat at the Nathan's they had put in the Boardwalk because I insisted that I had to eat at the original. We each got a dog with sauteed onions, a spicy concoction, a small fry and a large 32 oz. Coke. With a coupon from the wonderful internet for a free dog our total was $8 and change. Even without the coupon it would have been less than $12 and would have been a good value in our opinion.

I imagine that I can't get the sauteed onions at all Nathan's locations but we liked it alot and were pleased with our meal and the fact that we were there early enough to get a table on the side of the building.

Nathan's, Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel. The only reasons for this trip but this day also happened to be the annual Mermaid Parade celebrating the start of summer and all things with the sea. We knew of this ahead of time and would stay to see maybe half of it before we bolted to try to beat the masses back to the city on the subway. Turns out that this is the busiest day of the year.

After Nathan's it was on to the Coney Island Cyclone. We bought our $8 tickets and walked through the well themed chain link fence que and waited less than 10 min. to the craziest loading platform I've ever seen. Not much room, no designated rows (you just stand along the edged) and if you have a bag the yell at you to fight against the crowd to take it to the back of the platform than fight forward to your 'row of choice'.

I had told my wife that I knew the trains were really padded and being older I imagined roomy. Uh-yeah. As the train right before us was being loaded the ride ops were laying on the lap bars to try to lock them in place since the lap bars all operate together on each car. I'm already concerned for her because it looked like it may not close for us and I didn't want her to be embarrassed.

The one train running (I'm almost positive only one) rolled back into the station and it seems to stop at a different spot each time. Well the seat that stopped in front was even tighter than the one I had eyeballed earlier and as I navigated into it she said she wasn't getting on and disappeared into the crowd as we were quickly off. They really move the people through.

The ride, as expected. wild and rough with just enough out of control feeling to make if fun. I'm a Phoenix, Lightning Racer type of wood coaster person. Out and back, speed and air are what I enjoy but the Cyclone was actually better than I had anticipated.

As I got back into the station rather than give the ride ops the $5 for a re-ride I asked if I could stay on since my wife didn't ride and she had paid $8. The guy said he would ask his boss and as we drifted down to the loading area his boss nodded his head yes. Of course at that time it would have been chaos trying to unload me as others were trying to load.

After my second ride I exited and walked down the ramp to find my wife with a ride photo of me and she gives me HER ticket. Seems that when she worked her way to the 'chicken exit' as she told the guy he gave her a ticket back. Soooo I took the ticket and back on I went riding in the second seat rather quickly as I was ushered past a group waiting to ride together and the guy in the front seat re-rode.

On my way out (Mr. Front Seat stayed for a least a third ride) I deposited $3 in the tip jar since the ride op was decent enough to trust me for my second ride. What would have been $18 for three rides cost me $19 with the tip. I was OK with that.

Had to kill a little time before I braved the Wonder Wheel. It was going to be swinging car all the way but with memories of DCA's Sun Wheel somewhat unsettling swinging cars I needed to make sure the hot dog was digested.

I rode alone, great views and a surprisngly calm swinging car ride. Not nearly as intense as the Sun Wheel. Great nostallgia.

Waited for the Mermaid Parade, saw scantily clad merfolk with just pasties on their breasts or in some cases just body paint. I'm not sure the one 'lady' even bothered with the body paint. Saw my first 'fake' boob in person so that was a highlight. Well not a highlight since I am not a fan of that oversized stretched balloon look.

Yet it was a very family atmosphere with young children marching with their families. I wished we could have watched it all, it was pretty interesting.

Had to walk up to the next station up since we couldn't cross at the CI station due to the parade. Lots of people, very festive. Probably didn't experience the CI most people do since there were tons of police and lots of people.

Had a great time, not sure how they sustain the place since the rides still weren't that crowded even on the busiest day of the year. Maybe the nighttime is more crowded.

Thanks for reading.

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Monday, June 30, 2008 11:44 PM
Like you. I did only the Cyclone, Nathans and the Wonder wheel. was a weekend so no park passes as I would have love to ride the obviously insane bumper cars at Dinos and the insane top spin and wipeout along with a few of the fun houses.

Nathans on my trip had lines out into surf avenue all the way around but the sea of employees kep the wait to about ten minutes. Better than I expected. the rest will be in my Coney/Rye TR.

Thanks for you views. I somewhat share them
Chuck

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008 12:40 AM
I missed the mermaid parade by a week :( I was hoping to see that big of nostalgia while we were out there.

I almost boarded the subway at that next station on the way back because you don't have to wait fifteen minutes for them to switch drivers and such like at the Coney Island Terminal.

As for the street fair going on at seventh avenue, I think that is a weekly thing. Sixth was closed the weekend we were there for some street fair (and later the Tony Awards). Our tour guide for our guided tour said they also have a parade every weekend. Our weekend was the Hare Krishna parade.

Nathans was dead on our visit, then again it was raining for a majority of the time we were there.

Anyways, here's hoping Joey Chestnut repeats on the fourth of July and keeps the hot dog eating title in the United States!

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