On hot July days New Yorkers stand waiting on sweltering subway platforms, we hurry down the avenues spotlighted by a blazing sun. Our hair sticks to our neck, makeup melts off our faces, and unsightly wet patches peek out from under our arms. At this point in the summer visions of sand, ocean breezes, and cool salty water dance in our heads any moment we are without AC. A weekend in the Hamptons sounds like a dream, a week-long trip to Maine a blissful fantasy. Still, if you don’t have time to get away from the city, you can still escape the heat. Which is exactly what I did!
Coney Island Beach is the Brooklyn summer hotspot. I had visited once before, it was almost unrecognizable. Deserted, cold, and dark when I walked the beach on Easter morning to witness a spectacular sunrise. When I stepped off the train on a July afternoon, swimsuit on and beach towel in tow, I was amid throngs of people. Excitement and energy buzzed in the air. Subtext of every conversation? IT’S SUMMER! IT’S A BEACH DAY! HOORAY!
Down on the sand, a wall of umbrellas obstructs any view of the shore line. But you can see the ocean, sparkling bright and blue. So it must be there! Even though it was a Sunday, even though it was twice as crowded as any beach I’ve ever been to, my little group of friends was still able to find a spot for our towels and beach blankets. No umbrella for us, though we easily could have bought one and joined the masses. Every 15 minutes or so someone selling them came by muttering, “Umbrellas, umbrellas”. Unlicensed venders have a booming business on Coney Island Beach- it’s too crowded for the cops to spot them.
We ran down to the water to stick our toes in. “YOW!” I screamed, “COLD!” 20 minutes baking in the sun would easily solve that problem. Yes, I slathered on sunscreen. No, I didn’t get burnt. I guess that means I’m a responsible adult. I’m turning 28 at the end of this week, it’s about time.
Lying on my towel on the simmering the sand, too close to the earth to feel a breeze, my thoughts and worries melted away. There’s something about going to the beach. Even if you don’t even leave town, it’s still a vacation from the hustle and bustle. At the beach you are free to lie still without any nagging feeling that you should be doing something else. Bliss. Soon I’d sweated off all my sunscreen and almost my bathing suit and was finally ready for a dip.
Hello Atlantic Ocean! You’re so big and beautiful! Chock-a-block full of seaweed and people round these parts. You look like miso soup made by a Japanese ogre. Is it weird that’s what this shore makes me think of? I’ve never been to a beach so crowded. But it was great.
After hours of sand and sun, we headed to the boardwalk. Rides! Lights! Ice cream! Circus shows! Souvenirs! The trip to Coney Island had just begun. Stay tuned!