To Coney Island and back


Coney Island. The name conjures a feeling, a look, an era…

I had never been. I had a sorta-kinda sense of what it was… and I knew it was in New York somewhere… but I had never experienced it for myself.

Recently having learned that it’s at the ocean-bottom edge of Brooklyn made me think I should go check it out today. I went during daylight hours, of course, with no rides running… and not in the summertime… and I was alone… and I’m 49 years old. So, I’m not sure I really got “the experience.” Still, I’m glad I went. And I really enjoyed both the bike ride there and the subway trip back.

On the way down, I stopped at a vegan Asian restaurant called Shangri-La for some veggie-heavy takeout, which I then enjoyed on a shady bench just off the bikeway to Coney Island. Shortly after I started riding again, I came upon a cute linear park, the Narrows Botanical Gardens, which included a small 9/11 memorial Zen garden, a Little Free Library, and an “Air Bee and Be” art piece, among other cool things.

As I continued south on the path, I encountered the visually striking Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, a suspension span (for autos only, sadly, except during special events) that connects Brooklyn to New Jersey.

Soon afterward I reached my destination, and saw the colors and shapes of the carnival rides along the boardwalk.

I soaked in the atmosphere for a bit, then headed out toward the subway station.

It was a really cool station. I loved the aesthetics of both the outside and inside. While buying my ticket, I received a compliment on the Brompton from a friendly young Hasidic Jewish man, and we chatted a bit about how cool the bikes are. I admit I was taken aback, however, when he asked first what it weighed (40 pounds) and then how old I was. When I replied that I would be 50 in November, he said brightly, “Oh, fifty! And you can still carry it…!”

I bade him goodbye then, and huffed it up the stairs as best I could with my geriatric musculature.

When I disembarked the train, I couldn’t resist taking a few photos of the outdoor train platform and the indoor elevator. I will never tire of rail imagery!

I arrived back at my host Felicitas’ place, and said goodbye to her and her cat, whom I had helped to feed while she had been gone for a couple of nights. (If you’re reading, Felicitas, thanks again for everything! It was great to meet you, if only briefly.)

Then I biked the rig about half an hour east, over near Prospect Park, to meet my new host, Michael. I was introduced to his friendly cat as well, and then we spent a few lively hours chatting about a variety of topics. I had met both Felicitas and Michael via Facebook vegan groups, so I had never met either in person until I arrived on their doorsteps. I love how community connection works!

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