Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Saying Farewell to Coney Island

Of the many places I've visited and revisited in New York City, Coney Island is one of my favorites.  I love the beach, the boardwalk, the pier, Tom's Restaurant and the tidal treasures of shells, glass and wood.  I love the train ride from my house, just twenty minutes, passing street after street of graffiti-covered brownstones and businesses, and the giddiness of excitement that whelms up when the Wonder Wheel and Luna Park comes in to view.

On a bitter morning complete with a bitter wind that bites at my exposed skin, I pace briskly up and down the deserted boardwalk and beach, gathering shells and glass to share with friends in Alaska and photograph the changing light.  The owners of Tom's Restaurant opens early for me, allowing me to thaw my chilled extremities and I sit perched in a stool next to the window, watching the sun's rays cast its long fingers over the waters, watching the seniors walking up and down the boardwalk, lifting and lowering their arms as they exercise, watching the gulls catch a ride on the steady wind.  

Cup after cup of coffee and a breakfast of biscuits and fruit fill my belly as the view fills my soul.  I have come to love this place, this beach, this boardwalk, this pier, this restaurant... and I feel tears well up in my eyes and slide down my cheek and on to my napkin.  I'll be gone for just a month, but I think of the waves, the birds, the people and the serenity that I'll miss. 

Coney Island is forever etched on my soul.  I love that a place can do this, can lift me, soothe me, heal me and make me long for more, more, more!

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