Late Night Explorations – Coney Island

Saturday evening, after a day of car trouble, cleaning, and studying (for E), we got the news that our landlord wants to raise our rent for the second consecutive year. We don’t want to pay it, so that leaves us looking to move in a little over a month. We’re not very excited about this, because guess what happens in a month, exactly, from today?

E takes the bar exam.

So, Saturday evening was shaping up to be less than fun, for more reasons than our surprise rent increase. In an attempt to drown our sorrows, we headed down to the beer garden for a pitcher, but we were both sort of cranky. So we decided to be spontaneous, and hopped in the car at 11 pm to head down to Coney Island and…

…The Coney Island Cyclone.

Neither of us had ever ridden the coaster, and it seemed like just the thing to jolt us out of our sour moods. We happened upon a sympathetic security officer at the New York Aquarium who let us park there alongside the revelers at the Mermaid Ball, and we were off. Tickets are 8 bucks per person, and luckily there was no one in line so I didn’t have time to second guess my decision.

We walked onto the platform and were ushered into a car. The lap bar was pushed down so tightly I was worried I wouldn’t make it through the ride without passing out. And then? We were off.

The first drop is 85 feet tall and steep as heck at 58.1 degrees. The ride is rough in a bone-jarring way that only old wooden roller coasters can be. I was not surprised to read that someone broke 4 vertebrae on the ride in 2007.  Despite being squished in behind that incredibly tight lap bar, I still got air on some of the drops. Don’t ask me how.

After we survived our roller coaster ride (which, if you’re so inclined, you can experience virtually here), we wandered down to the beach to see the water. Coney Island isn’t exactly a picturesque beach, but it has its own charm, with the amusements behind it and the litter of days well-spent in the sand. After E got his fill of looking out at the darkened water (something that spooks me), we headed back to our car at the Aquarium, and I rolled my window down on the way home. E thought I wanted to smell the ocean, but I was really trying to ward off some lingering nausea from the roller coaster ride. Same thing, right?

In moments like that — random Saturday nights when we decide we want to conquer a landmarked roller coaster — I am so glad we live in New York City. For all its filth, and eccentricities, and tiredness, it is also a place with enormous potential for joy, maybe, once in a while, sometimes.

Okay, New York, I don’t totally hate you. You caught me.

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