Saying Goodbye to Summer at America’s Playground

September 4, 2006

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is considered the unofficial last day of summer in the US. Summer holidays are over; beaches close to swimmers, kids go back to school, temperatures start to drop and days begin to grow shorter.

Coney Island, once known as America’s Playground, is no longer the nation’s preeminent amusement park; that honor has gone to sanitized, homogenized, ultra-safe-and-predictible corporate theme parks such as Disneyworld and SeaWorld. It may longer attract visitors from all over the country but this lively, accessible and inexpensive stretch along the Atlantic Ocean remains the favorite of New York’s working families.

In recent years this neigborhood has experienced a renassiance. A new baseball stadium, a revitalized New York Aquarium and a gorgeous new subway station have helped bring back the crowds. Kids flock to the hotdogs sizzling on Nathan’s grill, the rattling cars of the wooden roller coaster, the polished horses of the merry-go-round, the rolling waves, the cotton candy and stuffed animals, the seashells, scuttling crabs and polished glass. Grownups lose their pocket change to games of chance, suck down freshly-brewed beer and freshly-caught clams and spend a few bucks to savor the burlesque shows and sideshow freaks.

It is hard to say goodbye to the pleasures of summer, but if it has to be done, a day on the beach and boardwalk at Coney Island is the perfect way to end the season.

The Wonder Wheel  Posted by Picasa

Trying to win a stuffed animal  Posted by Picasa

After riding Top Spin  Posted by Picasa

The Cyclone  Posted by Picasa

Shoot the Freak  Posted by Picasa

Barker at Freak Show  Posted by Picasa

Shoot Em Win! Posted by Picasa

Mermaid mural (behind a fence)  Posted by Picasa

Gyro Corner Posted by Picasa

Gregory & Paul’s Posted by Picasa

Finding seashells  Posted by Picasa

Burying Daddy in the sand  Posted by Picasa

A sand castle  Posted by Picasa

Tomorrow the clam will go to school Posted by Picasa

The last salty smooch of the season  Posted by Picasa

  • The History of Labor Day
  • Coney Island USA
  • The American Experience: Coney Island
  • Coney Island History
  • Wikipedia: Coney Island
  • The Brooklyn Cyclones
  • New York Aquarium
  • Astroland
  • Nathan’s
  • America’s Playground Redevelopment Plan Unveiled

  • Running Amok! Playing Amok! Clowning Amok!

    September 4, 2006

    Singing, dancing and playing, a group of musicians stood on the boardwalk enticing passersby to a live free show. The band, part of Circus Amok, led the crowd down Brooklyn’s West 10th Street to watch Citizenship: An Immigrant Rights Fantasia in 10 Short Acts.

    Mixing acrobatics, juggling, twirling, clowning, jumping, dancing and general silliness with political messages, Cicus Amok has performed in New York City’s streets and parks since 1989.

    The current one-ring show, emceed by a glamorous bearded lady named Jennifer Miller, includes a man escaping from a wire coat hanger, clowns tumbling out of a firetruck to save a baby from a burning building, enormous puppets representing the heads of Latin American states, construction workers riding synchronized pogo stick “jackhammers”, a quartet of spinning tea cups, George Bush and a trio of dancing goats.

    Click the arrow above to view a video of Circus Amok

    The band attracts passersby Posted by Picasa

    The Ferocious Fernando number Posted by Picasa

    Heroic Heads of State Posted by Picasa

    The fire truck arrives Posted by Picasa

    Help, my house is on fire! Posted by Picasa

    Escaping from blue & yellow hanger Posted by Picasa

    Bush’s Nightmare Posted by Picasa

    Pas d’ Goats Posted by Picasa

    Performer pile up Posted by Picasa

    Master of ceremonies Jennifer Miller Posted by Picasa

  • You Tube: Circus Amok
  • Circus Amok
  • Time Out New York: Juggler Vein
  • Step Right Up! See the Bearded Person!

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