- Posted September 9, 2008 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Coney Island amusement park closing
Coney Island - Brings Floods of Tears and Memories
When you tell people you are from Coney Island there is no one in the almost the entire world that doesn't know where or what that is. I lived there with my parents and sisters for my entire childhood, from 4 - 17. It was a ritual to bring home my boyfriends in college to show them Coney Island. All my formative years are saturated with Coney Island. This was the Coney Island of the 60's and 70's not it's heyday but what did we know of that. My grandmother regaled us of tales of having a date with her husband to be in the 20's on or in the Tunnel of Love (before our time). For us it was having the Cyclone literally in our back yard. The views of all the rides of Astroland from our terrace on the 11 th floor. Hearing the barkers that kept us up until three or four am in the summer due to windows being open from no a/c. Step right up, step right up they called to play the games and rides the bumper cars, amidst the screams of riders on the Cyclone. At seven my birthday party was to go with my friends on the big girl rides, not the baby rides for the first time. We were so tiny on the cyclone that they had two of us go together along with an adult in one seat. That was the first of literally thousands of times on the Cyclone each time presenting the same joy but getting immune to the feeling of your stomach dropping out. As a teen there was no ride too scary to go on over and over. As a teen we worked in the haunted house, made out in the fun house, worked various rides like the summer I was the beautiful girl turned into an ape side show. Yes they had side shows too. Of course it was all very seedy by then, but we just accepted that and the gangs we were part of and the crime as part of the ambiance. It did not stop us from truanting from school there. And getting in free to all the rides from our connections. Nothing could stop us from running across the street to grab a knish, a Nathans hot dog and fries (still the best anywhere), Jamaican patties or giant lollipops or even going to see a whale at the Brookyln Aquarium. Sometimes in the summer we would access Astroland from the boardwalk and the beach where we were hanging our with our boomboxes and reflectors. Even though I could not wait to escape at 17 away from my small apartment, New York and Coney Island, there was nothing in all my travels throughout Europe and most of the US that trumped it's appeals. After many years I came to realize that it was not something to be ashamed of but rather exotic and unique. It was the best of times and the worst of times, but now that I am almost fifty - just the best of times. I am heartbroken that my children and sisters children will never have the chance to visit and catch a glimpse or a taste of the magic. We were planning to go when my sister's youngest was five. We will still take them to NYC but it won't be the same, not for them but especially not for us. We now all live in Atlanta very comfortable lives, a complete opposite of our situation growing up. I have a law degree and a business, but have a home near the beach in Florida, because the sea air always calls me back. We completely understood the scene in Annie Hall where Woody Allen lives under the Cyclone with his family, he is probably mourning the closing too.Goodbye the Hammer, the Tilt a Whirl the Hell Hole, the Parachute landmark, Astroland and Coney Island as it shaped us and we knew it, here's looking at you kid. We will see you in the many movies you are in. We will miss you with the satisfaction of knowing nothing will ever take your place. This is the view from our terrace.