|Gone, but not forgotten.|
We had fun, but Jamie had a cold and his inner ear was whispering to him to not go on the new "High Thrill" rides that his friends were going on, for example The Tickler, a candy colored roller coaster with large spinning cars that hold about 8 people. The rides have all been personalized with "Coney Island" graphics, including a fresh rendition of Tillie, the Steeplechase face. I can understand why they've been decorated like that, but it almost has an air of desperate "Please Like Me" appeal. The park has been so sanitized that nary a ghost can be seen from the shuttered Astroland. Now, you enter a big gate not unlike the one leading to Willy Wonka's house. Before you go further, step up to the ticket booth and purchase scannable bracelets or a Luna Card, which will allow you to play the carney games (the bracelet was $26 for four hours of unlimited rides). There's something sad about not being able to impulsively pull out a crumpled dollar bill to give to your kid when he begs you to take a plastic duck fishing. Now you need to anticipate the desire and purchase the card in advance.
I've just been to Six Flags in New Jersey for the first time, and can now say with accuracy that the rides at Coney are similar in their modernity and safety features. Aside from the Cyclone, the grand ole wooden gal who still remains despite encroaching progress, the new rides could be spotted on any boardwalk; the Starbucks of Amusement Parks. Harnesses that hold people in from the shoulders down abound.
Next time we head back, I'll avoid this park altogether and take my money to the Wonder Wheel and the old arcade. I didn't mosey back through that maze because it would have put me down another $30 without batting a lash, and so don't know if the Haunted House remains... does it?
If it weren't for shiny happy faces, the new boardwalk would have depressed the hell out of me. In present company, I didn't sidle up to the freshened up Ruby's. Gone are the old clam bars with the fake foods in the windows and fading paintings (one we reference a lot is a guy with a bubble coming out of his head saying, simply, "Hey Joey!"). Nope. You can find iced coffees with an extra shot of espresso. You wouldn't be slightly afraid to eat the food, its edges draped in ancient grease from fryers. Instead, there are slurpy machines and high-end looking ice cream cones. The storefronts are pristine, and to my mind seem out of place against the backdrop of this slice of New York beachfront. Thank god for Dino (RIP) and his unchanged Wonder Wheel.