August 27, 2013

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Below are the diary entries for August 27, 2013, with the newest entries added at the bottom. Also, check out today’s photos.

Nicoline Coney Island
Nicoline (August 27, 2013)

Last modified: August 27, 2013 at 23:25:19

Long day today. We got up fairly early, fed the cats, had breakfast, loaded up the dishwasher, and packed our stuff into the car. When that was done and it still wasn't time to leave, I picked about a pound of tomatoes to give to Terry, to deliver together with the house key. She's going to rescue the stuff in the freezer in case of a power outage. You never know during hurricane season.

By 9.15 we were on our way and by about 11.30 we were at a rest stop along the New Jersey Turnpike having lunch. New Jersey folks must be very disputatious. Automated signs over the highway can not only tell you to slow down, but also *why* you should slow down: heavy traffic, accident, road work, weather conditions, and who knows what else. Really, if the Turnpike Authority doesn't tell people why they should slow down, they'll give them a hard time about it? Luckily the signs didn't light up while we drove to New York, but once we made it past Elizabeth, NJ, which reminded us of our time in the Garden State and how we used to take Frank and Mark to Ikea at Elizabeth, which allowed unlimited time in the ball pit, and then we'd sometimes have lunch or a snack there in the restaurant overlooking Newark Airport, but I digress, we ran into very heavy traffic toward the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. The only thing that bothered us was that the State of New York apparently doesn't care to put up welcome signs like every other state, so we missed out on that picture.

Still, we found the Howard Johnson motel on Jamaica Avenue in Queens quite easily, and it's literally half a block from the Long Island Rail Road station Queens Village, so getting to Coney Island was a cinch, albeit a time-consuming one. It took us about an hour to get there. Coney Island is apparently a Yankee corruption of "Konijnen Eiland" (rabbit island). I sure hope they manage to keep the bunnies in check; it can't be wonderful for their flood defenses to have Long Island riddled with furiously tunneling bunnies. Anyway, we waded in the surf for a bit, sat on the beach, and walked on the boardwalk. Of course we rode in the ferris wheel and ate a hot dog at Nathan's. Then we went back to the boardwalk and waited until it got dark enough for Eric to take pictures of the luna park attractions all lit up. We had lugged along the tripod that is sturdy enough to catch elephants with especially for that purpose. I understand the need for a tripod for nighttime picture taking, but oh. my. gods. Is that thing heavy and unwieldy! You stand out like a sore thumb anyway as a tourist in New York City, but this accentuated our provincialism mercilessly.

Also, whatever the advantage to brain development in certain animal species from city-dwelling, the disadvantage of visiting a city is that there are entirely too many people. Never mind rabbits breeding like konijnen, people sure do their part. But we managed to brave our travails and were even rewarded with a visit to a Brooklyn Target store while we waited for the train back to Queens Village to pull into the station where they had an escalator for shopping carts. Of course, one of the natives managed to jam the thing with a family pack of paper towels, but whatever. You don't see elevators, either for carts or for people, at the suburban stores we usually visit.

Long (Island) story short, we made it back to the motel, had a shower and updated the blog. That's all, folks. For today, anyway.

PS For some reason, I can't persuade my laptop to log into Eric's laptop, so I don't have access to pictures. That will have to wait until tomorrow, or whenever the laptops decide to cooperate.

Ellen wrote on August 28, 2013 at 22:39:58:

Can't believe you went to Coney Island - my mom lived across from the Aquarium for many years, until we sold her place two summers ago. When we passed by the parachute jump in June, I was delighted with the new LED lights. We went to Nathan's almost every Sunday in the summers growing up. But did you ride the Cyclone?? And notice that most people in the area speak Russian?

Hope your travels are fun and interesting.

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Eric Grivel wrote on August 29, 2013 at 22:59:21:

I had heard about Coney Island of course and have wondered about it, and I'm glad I have seen it in person. We didn't ride the Cyclone, but we did go up in the Wonder Wheel!

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Nicoline Smits wrote on August 29, 2013 at 23:01:06:

I noticed a lady reading a Russian newspaper on the subway, and a building across from the belgian fries place on Second Ave. had a Russian sign on it. I was too lazy to try and figure out the Cyrillic characters one by one, though.

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Eric Coney Island
Eric (August 27, 2013)

Last modified: August 27, 2013 at 23:33:23

We start our trip today. We are of course ready way before the 9:00 am start time we had planned, so we spend some time checking facebook and stuff before packing everything in the car and leaving. We basically take I-95 and the New Jersey Turnpike, then take a right at Elizabeth, NJ to go through Staten Island onto Long Island.

We have reserved a hotel in Queens for two nights, so we unpack the car, schlepp everything into our room, and almost immediately leave. The Queens Village station of the Long Island Rail Road is literally just around the corner.

Our goal today is Coney Island. It is of course iconic as the summer destination for New York for a century or more. The boardwalk is legendary.

I have to say, the beach IS nice here! We have a gorgeous day for it too, so we walk a little bit over the beach and take a ride in the "Wonder Wheel".

For Dinner we go to "Nathan's", the original home of the hot dog. They are almost 100 years old (started in 1916). We have a hot dog (of course) with french fries and a Coke...

After dinner we hang out because I had this idea in my head to take a picture of Coney Island by night. Poor Nicoline had to drag the 100-ton tripod all over town just so that I could take these night pictures! At least I wasn't the only one with a tripod :-).

Finally, with the subway and LIRR back to the hotel. It's almost 11 o'clock by the time we get back!

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