Aug 21, 2006

No News About Hawaii

Blah blah blah, we went to the beach, blah blah, it was beautiful, blah blah. New York stories are much more narrative.

Yesterday, Guy, my sister, and I went to Coney Island. No, we didn't ride the Cyclone, because I've already taken my life into my hands on that thing once already and that was plenty, thank you. But beyond that, we did our best to have the true Coney Island experience. We paid money for rides we didn't want to go on, smiled pleasantly at surly rides-workers, got wacky pictures taken in probably skanky photobooths, walked down the cigarette and eggshell-strewn beach, and admired the cheerfully wasted drug addicts dancing to bad karaoke.

Actually, I love Coney Island. I love how unabashedly seedy it is--it's exactly like Zoltar from Big. Creepy, powerful, and wonderfully dated. There are skeletons wearing denim jackets from the eighties--and you KNOW they've never changed those jackets since they were in style. There are scary ride facades where a demon has his tongue sticking out, and the tongue is the partially decomposed body of someone he must have eaten. There are test-your-strength games, where for a quarter you can squeeze together steel bull's horns and discover how Cowboy you are. And best of all, there is The Coney Island Freak Show.

There's a man in stripey pants shouting Come one, come all! with actual gusto, which is quite refreshing after the finger you were given by the guy in the arcade when you won the teddy bear. They serve bottles of Brooklyn Lager for only five bucks, and the show goes round and round without intermission, so if you miss anything you can just stick around. We sat in the very front row--possibly a mistake, as there was some unwelcome audience participation, but at least it gave an easy escape route (I had to leave for Elektra's snake dance with the giant white python. The folks in front were very nice about it--I get the feeling people skip out on that one often enough). It was just ironic enough to be almost earnest--they were joking around, but they were honestly trying to entertain, and to keep up a tradition that has nearly died out. Swords were swallowed, fire was swallowed, snakes were swallowed (so I hear), nails were pounded into noses, bowling balls were hung from ears, and we laughed while our stomachs turned. It was perfect.

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