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Drop-Ed: Maybe Marty Does the Astro

Step right up, ladies and germs, children of all ages hold onto your hats.

How do you celebrate the earliest ending of winter? Do you fast, dye eggs, clean out the closets, take a bike ride in a nylon jacket? It’s too soon for The Gowanus Yacht Club, Catskills roadtrips, and concerts in Prospect Park so what is a stir crazy Brooklynite to do?

Add to the list of not long for this world rituals: opening day at Astroland. Taking the W (or is it the Q?) to Coney on a still chilly afternoon is one of the best ways I know to inaugurate the season of stoop sales and planting the next generation of trees that will grow medium high and sanctimonious in Brooklyn.

Your first visit of the season is when you are going to set goals, take stock of skee ball lanes, and determine just how unsafe the Cyclone appears. This last bit is tricky because you can never tell if it has in fact become more rickety and dilapidated or if actually you, having grown a year older, wiser and chickenier, perceive the old wooden beast differently than your blithe self of yesteryear.

Opening day is an opportunity for trial clam strips, paying .25 cents to pee in a trailer and practicing your Carney fight moves. One of these days, those itinerant bastards are gonna rise up and kill us all, possibly by allying with Jehovah’s Witnesses and erstwhile Deadheads.

After three or four bottled beers in paper cups you will probably think it’s a good idea to ride the Wonder Wheel and swing out as your look over the ocean, challenge your friends to a Nathan’s hot dog eating contest, or “Bump, Bump, Bump Your Ass Off” in the darkened bumper car room. Any and all of these events will lead inevitably to your queasy humiliation and are not recommended for the neophyte.

A word of warning: at some point your attention will be drawn to a sign enticing you to Shoot the Freak. This game lies. The object of your paint ball is not a freak at all, just some dude from Bay Ridge in a chest guard. Where are his lobster claw hands? Where is his tiny pointy head or pretty lady side? This person does not embody the true spirit of Coney that lives on in Mary, the 70 year old sailor who drinks her troubles away at Puzzles, in the leggy burlesque stylings of Julie Atlas Muse, and even in you, when you do the day correctly.

It’s time to head home when the wind picks up and the boardwalk denizens surpass their tipsy point and start openly abusing their old ladies. Pack your booty in the Volvo and take the BQE back to BoCoCa. You will be half drunk and drowsy, salty, grimy, broke and content. You feel alive. There may not be many more chances to try your luck at America’s Playground so put down your bagel and New York Times and get going now.

There Is 1 Response So Far. »

  1. And don’t forget to have a stiff bloody mary once you arrive back home – always the perfect end to a day at Coney!

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