Coney Island? That’s like the Brooklyn Riviera to me. Well maybe not the rich man’s kind but certainly to me. Growing up my family always went there or Rockaway Play Land in Rockaway, Queens, (although Rockaway Play Land was eventually torn down). At least once a summer I had to go to Coney Island to go on some rides like The Cyclone, and see the colorful rides and the games and the candy apples, or see the ocean from the Wonder Wheel. I’m not so sure if it was the past I wanted so badly to share with everyone, or the present. I’m not so sure Declyn and David and Lisa, Max and Elijah had that same feeling for that Coney Island that was remembered by Ferlinghettii in his piece, “Coney Island On The Mind”, as I did. It was so much fun for me as a kid and when I realized that the summer would slip away again, I decided to play hooky with them. I would take our families to Coney Island but hook or crook. In retrospect, I guess it was mostly by crook.
The day we went to Coney Island, I lied to everyone. I lied to my friend Carmen and told him I would listen to the mixes of Sex is In The Heel the minute the mixes came in. I lied to my family and said I wouldn’t work too. I thought I could get away with answering Carmen’s phone calls to tell him I’d listen when I got back. I thought we would all have some much-needed fun. I also thought I could get away with walking through the amusement park without getting noticed too. But maybe I should have thought out a better strategy because I was constantly stopped and it made my kid feel like he wasn’t important enough for me to just pay attention to him. I could have worn glasses and a mustache from a joke shop and maybe no one would have recognized me. But I didn’t.
I hope they still had fun even though there were a few bumps.
Declyn always loved the fairs when he was little. He was good at the games and winning prizes, which he would then sell to passer bys. Not my favorite thing. David and I would watch him. I guess we let him sell his prizes because we didn’t want to take all the stuffed toys he won home. We viewed them as dust collectors and he was allergic to dust. But this time when he started doing that, I asked him to please just give the toys away to the little kids passing by. And he did. He’s a good kid.
That day, Coney Island was hot and the sun was very bright so I brought a sun umbrella. I admit if I had been in China Town I wouldn’t have stood out so much. There would be a lot of other women with sun umbrellas. But I wasn’t in China town and I wasn’t blending. So in between pictures with passer bys and fans we also went on a ride or two.
Now Max, Lisa’s husband, found the first pizza parlor opened in NYC almost 100 years ago. No matter where we go, if we go with Max, he finds out about every possible event or what is best about any place we go together. And it’s always something we would never think of. In fact David only wants to vacation with Max and Lisa because with Max, we do things we wouldn’t even know about on our own. In our house Max isn’t known as Max King. We call him King Max because he knows how to have fun and has a great lust for life, that sometimes in our hectic lives, we forget. But Max some how never forgets. We not only love him for it but we have deemed he must be a king. That’s why we switched his name around to King Max. And King Max did find another great place. He found one of the most delicious pizzas in the city. And after a while we drifted out of the park and towards the first established pizza parlor in NY. Of course we were drifting in the wrong direction but hey, maybe Max isn’t as good with directions. But after all the complaints about where the heck we were going and how many times I was going to stop and take pictures, we got there and it was great.
When the kids had enough we let them go. I took a minute to breath the air and go on the Wonder Wheel to see the ocean from up high.. I bought candy apples and a caramel apple for Dec, which sat in our kitchen in Manhattan till it rotted. I was right about the beginning of summer slipping away. He went to camp and I would catch up with them later in Minnesota after a few weeks.. I’m glad with all the mishaps I snatched that moment. My mom always said, “Time waits for no one, and it won’t wait for you”. So I guess you need to grab anytime you can.