This past weekend I made it out to Coney Island, roughly a 45 minute journey from my apartment. Growing up I’d always heard about Coney Island and the carnival rides, boardwalk and beachfront, but being able to experience it was without comparison. The closest thing I can relate to is summer days at the North Dakota State Fair, where spiraling rides are tangled in children’s shrieks, funnel cakes and hot dogs are abound, and the crowd stretches across every surface.
Despite the chaos of the Island, there are many isolated moments that tell simple stories in themselves. Groups of kids kicking around sand, water, or a ball, friends enjoying the waving tides, folks with their lazy bellies face up and backs in the sand. Sounds, smells, words, water, workers, wanderers, wearers of swimsuits, sunscreen and sandals. The signs of summer dotted shore to shore.
Coney Island is not beautiful, calm, or scenic. It hardly contains the trademark beach characteristics of clean sand and blue waters, and there are many people in the crowd not fit for bathing suits. I cherished Coney Island not for beauty, but for a getaway. Like the old lake and fair days I had in North Dakota, it served as a reminder of childhood, of things I always looked forward to, of getting away. And for the city dweller, getaways are entirely necessary.