We were back in Brooklyn for about 12 hours when we decided, spontaneously, on Saturday morning, that a trip to Coney Island was in order. So we packed our bags and headed out the door after breakfast.
It was warm but not hot and slightly overcast. It was perfect for us. We’ve been to Coney Island on many hot summer days, and it sounds great in theory, but when you’re there sweating on the boardwalk, yeah…not so much fun. Saturday was perfect. We walked down the pier and admired the young, ambitious, RIPPED life guards in training run up and down the beach. Ok, perhaps it was mostly me who did the admiring.
We played on the beach for a while, in the sand and on one of the playgrounds. Climbing, jumping, digging, sliding, repeat.
Then we stopped for some Italian ices and checked out Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park. Let me just say that we had very low expectations. Last year Julian was brave enough to go on one of the rides, but he got so upset that the ride had to be stopped. This year, there was a new Jules in town. He hit every single ride. Firetrucks, trains, horse carriages, airplanes, flying elephants, monster trucks. He couldn’t get enough. True to his nature, he barely cracked a smile, but when our cheering on the sidelines got embarrassing enough for him, he would glance over and give us a proud sideways smile and I knew he was having the time of his life. And yes, I totally shed a tear. No one asked me if it was ok for him to grow up so quickly. All of a sudden I have this kid who stands in line by himself, climbs into the ride and buckles himself, and basically never looks back. I was proud and sad at the same time.
When all of the ride tickets were used up, we went to Nathan’s and had hot dogs and french fries and very large beers.
And then we hit the Wonder Wheel, just Julian and me. We chose to sit in one of the swinging cars…have you been in one of those? Ok, so maybe I’m a chicken, but when they swing forward and you are all the way on top overlooking Coney Island and also the rusty parts of the ancient Wonder Wheel (built in 1920…almost 100 years old!) – it gets a little scary. When our car started swinging, I grabbed Julian as much out of instinct to protect him (from what? gravity?) and to just have someone to hold my hand. Julian was laughing and pushed my hand away. Saying he didn’t need my hand. But I needed HIS, goddamnit! Anyway, we had a blast. It was one of my favorite moments ever.
We all left tired and elated. It was a perfect Brooklyn day. I can’t wait to go again.
I have visions of walking the boardwalk with my boys when they are teenagers, embarrassed by my company and sheer existence, wanting nothing to do with the kiddie rides at Deno’s or holding my hand, begging me to go on roller coasters that haven’t been built yet. Hopefully somewhere, edged in Julian’s memory, will be the moment where he laughed with his mama on top of the world.