Summer is upon us and with that comes the Summer Bucket List. The Summer Bucket List is like a real Bucket List except that instead of being a list of things to do before you die, inspired by a Morgan Freeman movie, it is a list of things to do before Autumn comes, to make you feel really stressed and anxious about each passing day and convince yourself that sweating your teats off waiting on a nine hour line for Shakespeare in the Park tickets is a rational idea because, SUMMER!
On my SBL: oyster happy hour, outdoor movie in the park, acquire a tan. On my bff Kathleen's list: an evening in the seaside haven of Coney Island, Brooklyn.
Coney Island is one of the strangest microcosms on earth, at once quintissentially summer and quintissentially New York. You've got a beach, a boardwalk, an amusement park, the subway, housing projects, a convergence of overpriced foodtrucks known as Smorgasburg ("The single greatest thing I've ever seen gastronimically in New York City" - Mario Batali) , a franchise of the Wahlburger chain of restaurants owned by the Hollywood Walburgs, ladies wearing fur coats in mid-July, the works. It's crowded, diverse, incongruous and so. much. fun.
I will admit - ok I'll admit!! - that when Kathleen floated out this idea I was not fully convinced as to the wonders of Coney Island but I went along with it because I like her and I like friends and I heard they sold funnel cakes. I was in for a great surprise, then, because Coney Island is the funnest!
I hearwith recommend that ALL New Yorkers add it immediately to their summer bucket lists and all non New Yorkers add it as a sub-category under the Visit NYC bullet on their list. And yes OBVI I assume all non New Yorkers have "Visit NYC" like, top spot on their bucket lists. It's the greatest fuckin' place on earth. And no we're so not snobs about it..who said that?!
Anyway, to entice and delight you, I've put together a little list of tips to help you make the most of your trip to America's Boardwalk Paradise.
That's not what anyone calls it but now I do so...let's go!
DO: Bring your camera. This joint is an instagrammer's paradise.
DON'T: stare. No matter how weird someone looks because trust me, there's someone even freakydeakier like 3 feet behind them. Women in pleather bikinis cracking whips? Check. Men carrying live 80 foot (approx) boa constrictors? Cha-heckkkkk. DOZENS of people in minion costumes, one of whom appears to be touching himself inappropriately? Check, checkty dozens of checks. Coney Island is like the county fair meets Times Square meets the Jersey Shore boardwalk with a dash of the G train at 3 AM. Delightfully repulsive. Charmingly horrific.
DO: However, soak up all the good diversity of this mishmash of humanity. Unlike the county fairs where I grew up, where I actually literally was once handed a pamphlet on being kind to Jewish people, Coney Island (like the city that calls it home) is full of people of every caste, color and creed. The night we were there was the start of Eid and the place was teeming with Muslim families all celebrating the end of Ramadan, women draped in gorgeous colorful, festive hijab. I kept thinking how lucky I am to be surrounded by this variety of cultures on a daily basis.
Well, JK mostly I kept thinking how I hoped I wouldn't be trampled to death by hoardes of sugared up children and their exhausted parents but upon reflection, I'm lucky and happy I get to soak this all in.
DON'T: Wear clothest that can't withstand breeze and movement.
I scooped up this shirt, above, on one of my thrice weekly visits to my mothership, Old Gravy. This particular trip I was on a hunt for "fun tops" after realizing I basically only own grey and white v-neck t-shirts and like, professional work blouses. #thisis30. In case you can't tell, it's basically a regular crew neck in the front and then a glorified hospital gown in the back. Hot? When standing still it's totes adorbs and shows just the most amount of skin I feel OK flaunting. However, when you move or when anything more than the gentlest of breezes blows, it flaps wiiiide open.
I decided Coney Island was the perfect occaision for this shirt's inaugural outing. Big mistake. Huge! It was reasonably breezy, windy, even, on the boardwalk and my shirt was flying open like curtains in a rainstorm, exposing my sensible nude bra to the world. I managed to solve that situation by tucking the tail ends of the open back into the butt pockets of my jeggings.
Cute look. HOWEVER this makeshift fix was no match for such vigorous activities as Whack-a-Mole, which left me fully exposed. And I didn't even win!
Not to mention for scratching my legs while walking, which sadly did was not captured on phtograph, as this multi-tasking led to me falling down on the sidewalk, the flaps of my tshirt falling wide open.
Per a friend who witnessed, I was "like, nakey."
LUCKILY as previously mentioned, there were so many freakydeaks strolling the premisis, my sensible nude bra was the least scandalous sight but still, guys. BUT STILL.
DO: Eat fried clam strips even though you can't really be certain they're you know, fresh or fit for human consumption. You're on the boardwalk...YOLO.
DON'T: Be so uptight! While we were downing our clam strips, a woman with came up to our table and said "hello! Do you have a moment I could speak to you about these oils I am selling" and we said "no thank you!" and she, boldly replied "don't just shut me down! Let me finish!" and prodeeded to randomly single in on our friend and lecture him, MUCH to our delight, on how he should stop being such a prude, investin in some of her sensual oils, and get way freakier in the bedroom.
He did not take her up on the offer so, good luck with your boring sex life, friend. You know who you are!
DO: Be alert for strollers passing on your right, lest you find yourself running head on into a father and child, losing a toenail and spilling your beer ON A BABY in the process.
I repeat: Spilling your beer. ON A BABY.
Hypothetically, of course.
DO: Ride the Cyclone, even if it seems rickety and terrifying.
It IS rickety and terrifying but it's an American icon!
Can you spot us?! Wheee!
DON'T: Allow FOMO to convince you to ride ANY other rides, such as this nightmare contraption:
Um. HARD PASS. It is perfectly acceptible to stand to the side, hold the bags and video tape like a suburban stage mom. Someone has to capture these memories! Might as well be you.
DO: Be wary of Dark Haired Strangers.
My girl Jamie gave one whole American dollar to Zoltar the fortune teller and her fortune was SO TRUE! It said she loves art and people go to her with their problems and...lots of other good things that I now forget because they didn't directly involve me so who cares. But ALSO it said that a dark haired stranger was out to do her harm.
Dun dun dun.
WELL! Jamie has this new-ish boyfriend and he SEEMS great but guess what: dark hair! So I'm not saying he's a serial killer but I'm also not saying he's NOT a serial killer, you know?
Jamie, GURL, you know I love you and just want you to be happy and I am sorry to have to be the one to tell you this but, you're dating a serial killer.
DON'T: Listen to Zoltar. He's probably full of shit.
DO: Stop at the original Nathans (now in its 99th year!) for some dawgs, fries and gigantic beers. And if anyone knows how many hotdogs Nathans sells per day...could ya let us know? We spent the whole night trying to find stats on the interwebs but couldn't find them anywhere!
DON'T: Miss the fireworks! Every Friday at 9:30 PM. I don't have any pictures but...you've seen fireworks, you get it.
DO: Go with great friends.
Friendships are the best ships!
DON'T: Worry that's the last time I say something that cheesy everrrrrrr again.
And now you are SET for your dream night in Coney Island. Enjoy!
(You Only Have Forty-Nine Days Of Summer Left So Dear God Live Life To The Fullest!!!)
XOXO Liz Hott (Diggity Dawg!)