Archive for the 'outdoors' Category

Coney Island: Where $5 gets you 52 balls and a fish

Posted by cher on August 3rd, 2010

After over an hour on the train, thanks to the D turning into the N on the local track (don’t get me started on another MTA rant), we stepped off the train and were immediately greeted with the giant yellow and green signs indicating a Nathan’s hotdog was within steps of our salivating mouths.

I didn’t know what to expect of Coney Island. From old movies and negative articles, I’d designed in my mind a broken-down, dilapidated beach-front full of depressing creaky rides and a sullen overcast of fun-that-once-was.

I was, however, wrong. First, let me set the scene: it was a perfect summer day; a mere 80 degrees compared to the near 100 degree days we’ve been experiencing as of late. Families were abundant and the beach was crowded. After we devoured hot dogs and cheese fries, we headed to the boardwalk.

First stop: an arcade where we were promised a fish for $5.00. More specifically, we were given a bucket of 52 balls for $5 with a guarantee of a fish even if we didn’t make a ball into one of the dozens of glass bowls in front of us. Fortunately, our beer pong skills from college paid off and we each walked away with a new pet fish.

Next stop: the newly opened Luna Park. It’s set next to the still running 90 year old roller coaster (which we decided against riding) and other, older rides. Luna Park’s rides are more geared toward younger kids (but hell yeah we rode the teacups!)

From there, we stopped at the Circus Side Show and contemplated going in. The little curtain and screams coming from within kind of deterred us, though. I’m sure it might be cool but something about the dinginess made it feel like a peep show – except with clothes and knives and snakes.

Final take: Coney Island certainly isn’t glamorous. It has a seedy aura to it that I’m not sure will dissipate anytime soon. But, the beach was beautiful and well taken care of. Plenty of snacks and games to play. Luna Park is new and shiny and family-friendly. We didn’t get to the aquarium because it was so beautiful out that we decided to save it for another day. Yes, we will go back.

Cruising Around the Big Apple

Posted by cher on August 2nd, 2010

As a part of my resolve to experience more things my city has to offer, I decided to take a cruise around NYC. For those of you who don’t know about it, Goldstar.com is an amazing site that offers great deals on everything from comedy clubs to culinary classes. I purchased a 90 minute “twilight” cruise ticket for $17.

The weather was perfect; the warm summer air coupled with a crisp off-the-water-breeze was the perfect combination to view New York City’s skyline. We left from Midtown in the Hudson, traveled around the Financial District into the East River, up to Midtown and back. The tour guide was completely knowledgeable, and provided interesting historical facts, as well as details about recent events such as the “Miracle on the Hudson,” the now-famous landing of US Airways¬† flight 1549 by Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger after the plane collided with a flock of Canadian Geese.

This is not an excursion just for tourists; I’ve lived in NYC for four years and didn’t know half of the information the tour guide provided. Hell, I could probably live here my whole life and not know everything I learned tonight. One of the more interesting facts:

In the early 1900’s, downtown NYC was flourishing with about a dozen major newspaper companies. Midtown, however, was struggling. The city wanted to build Midtown into a business district, so the city offered to name an area in Midtown after the New York Times in exchange for them moving to said area. What was known as Long Acre Square became known as Times Square because of this deal. The newspaper decided to celebrate the opening of its new building by counting down the last minutes of 1904 from the top of it. Two years later, they added the dropping of a giant ball to the celebration. The tradition continued the next year, and the next…and the next.

The cruise offered basic amenities such as beer, water, soda, snacks, and of course, a restroom. The only thing that put a damper on my evening, specifically, was the annoying group of tourists next to me who were more interested in shouting in their native tongue and taking pictures of themselves than listening to the tour guide. This, however, should not dissuade you from taking this breathtaking trip around NYC.

This is the main site for the cruise, however, I would definitely recommend checking out Goldstar.com for tickets, first.

P.S. The pics above were taken with my phone. That beautiful.