Get me to the beach!

Disclaimer: I love water. And sunshine. And sand. And getting a tan.

You might guess where this is heading: I love beaches, particularly ocean beaches. So one things I was looking forward to about spending a summer on an island was the opportunity to check out the various beaches and enjoy some relaxing days by the Atlantic Ocean.

For me, the first of those came this past weekend in the form of a trip to Coney Island. Now, I had been warned by online research and a few people at work that Coney Island is touristy and trashy and dirty, that I might not actually want to go swimming but I should bring my camera to take pictures of all the crazy people. Still, undeterred, I was going to form my own opinion and make the best of it.

Turns out, I loved it. We took the 50-ish minutes subway ride all the way to Coney Island and upon stepping out of the station, it was immediately clear that we were no longer in Manhattan. No towering buildings, no endless streets, no ethnically varied restaurants. Nope, Coney Island is two short streets and a boardwalk. Most of the places are souvenir shops or food stands, which sell hot dogs, pizza, fried things, beer and ice cream. And that’s about all you get.

So yeah, it was gaudy and touristy, but it was fun. We fulfilled the first-time requirements of walking the streets and boardwalk and stopped at Nathan’s for fries (and a corn dog for the non-vegetarian) and Williams for a caramel apple, and then we hit the beach.

Which was great. Forget what the people at work said, the sand was clean, the water was clear and the beach wasn’t too crowded. Surprising, given that it was a beautiful Saturday (and the day of the Mermaid Parade). Now, I’m not too picky when it comes to beaches. As long as there’s sand and water and a space for my towel, I’ll be good. But this was a more than satisfactory space for me to sun.

And then there was the parade. We were excited to experience, having read that it is one of the biggest art parade’s in the country and a once-a-year event. So it was cool to experience, which is the best term for what happened. Consisting of mostly old cars and scantily clad, body-painted people, this was not what I think of when I am going to a parade, and neither is standing in a crowd, only partially able to see. So that part of the day wasn’t fantastic, but it was still cool to have seen.

Then problems came in that this massive event completely blocked off traffic and most of the streets, meaning we couldn’t get back to the beach and had significant trouble getting back to the subway. So our day in the sun was cut a bit short, but that’s ok. My skin had actually had all the sun it could handle for the first time out, and I’ve been bitten by the beach bug, so I will definitely be going back and hitting up many other beaches as well.

I love New York City, but sometimes crowded streets and concrete get to be a bit much. It was nice to see the sky and have some space as we strolled around and lay out. Plus, with all the hustle and bustle and walking that is life in Manhattan, taking a day every week or so to veg on the beach sounds fabulous. And now that we’ve done the tourist stuff at Coney Island, next time we can focus on one thing only: our tans.


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