An Afternoon at Coney Island


The splintery boards feel hard beneath my flip-flopped feet. The hot breezes smell like ocean and fried food. Children in bathing suits run this way and that way, seemingly engaged in an endless game of tag. Rollercoasters and other rides roar through my peripheral vision. Through it all only two things are on my mind. French fries and lemonade. If I were a meat eater, hot dogs might be there too. Where am I? The one and only Coney, of course!

One of many very impressive sandcastles.

One of many very impressive sandcastles.

Coney Island is a pretty long train ride from midtown Manhattan, but on a summer day in the city with no other plans, we set off on the downtown D train, getting nice and comfortable and taking it all the way to the final stop. Completely unbeknownst to us, there was a sand sculpting competition going on that day, which turned out to be really awesome. It made the beach very crowded but also way more interesting! We spend the better part of the morning wandering along the beach checking out the artists’ unique work. There were many castles, quite a few animals (including Snoopy!), one sandwich, and a couple of other different designs. Some of the artists were putting finishing touches on their sculptures, others were standing by proudly, and others still were nowhere to be found. After exploring the artwork for a while we were starting to get hungry, and for lunchtime at Coney Island, there is really only one option.

This one had a much different mood than most of the other sculptures.

This one had a much different mood than most of the other sculptures.

The very first Nathan’s sits right here at Coney Island, just as it has since 1916. I have always loved Nathan’s fries, having eaten them many times at mall food courts and turnpike rest stops. The place was absolutely swarming with people on this sunny Saturday, so we waited in a long line before finding space at a very sunny table. The fries were delicious as ever and the lemonade was sweet but not too saccharine. I couldn’t partake in a world famous frankfurter, but from what I heard, they were delicious as well.


I definitely plan to get back to Coney Island someday, maybe this summer. There is so much to see and do there! Rides to ride, side shows to see, sand to feel between your toes… And hey, perhaps you’ll run into another epic sand sculpting contest.


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