I’ve always wanted to go to Coney Island, and the last time I was in New York, I didn’t have the time. On this trip, I was determined to make a visit. I knew nothing about Coney Island, except that Van Morrison had made me wonder what it was like, ever since I was a little girl. I did not know what to expect, but I just wanted to go there. I almost felt nervous, in case it was a dull, dreary place and going there could make me a little disappointed in Van Morrison, and it was winter after all.
The word “Island” invokes very specific pictures in our minds: warmth, sun, bathing suits, lush vegetation, secluded beaches and generally, a tropical paradise. Coney Island, New York, isn’t exactly an “Island Paradise”. There we were, walking along the beach with coats and scarves, no skin exposed to absorb the sun, and mustering the courage to remove a glove, to feel the cold water on skin. In summer, I am sure it is a hive of activity, with bustling beaches, roller coasters thrusting children about, screaming and laughing, rollerbladers and couples making their way along the boardwalk and ice creams to somehow escape from the heat and humidity of the New York summer. I’ve never seen it, but that is how I imagine it to be in summer. A place where children wish away the winter, in the hopes that their parents will take time out of their busy schedules, so that they could have a day on Coney Island in the summer.
In the winter, the subway train to Coney Island is empty. As you leave the platform, it’s like the subway has spilled over into a place frozen in time. There is colour, and vibrance and fun, all just held perfectly still and peaceful. And then there is the perfect beach, empty and cold, while the water merges into a sky so bright and crystal blue that it makes everything else seem dull. The sun is shining, but you can barely feel its warmth. It’s almost like its only purpose was to bring light. This was the first time I ever visited Coney Island, and I have decided, that in Winter, it is one of my favourite places. There was a small gate left open to the “Astroland” amusement park, and so we ventured in for a while, and took a few pictures. I am not sure I would like it in the summer, but I will always smile when I think about that day in Coney Island: all the colours, the beach, the blue sky. I remember just taking a deep breath, wanting to remember that picture in my mind forever. It’s like only the sea gulls shared my sentiment, sitting in the cold, enjoying the peace and quiet that the winter bought. There were only one or two other people there that day, a small boy and his mother, and a lady, who appeared to be praying to the birds, whilst performing a feeding ritual. I loved this place and I knew this would be a favourite memory of mine, like I could wish away the summer, just to have a day on Coney Island, in the winter. Please take a look through the pictures, and maybe you’ll understand.