"Trying to Uphold Coney Island's Character, City Buys Wonder Wheel Site," a headline in a recent NY Times article certainly caught my attention. As a child growing up in the New York City area, Coney Island always was a place that I hoped Dad would steer the car off the Belt Parkway and stop at.
When we would head home from visiting Grandma, we would pass by this wonderful site of rides and other attractions. As we neared the exit that would deliver us to the rides, there would be some quiet mumbling from the front seat of the car as Mom and Dad would discuss if stopping off at Coney Island was an option. Okay, maybe it would be more like Dad wanting to stop and hoping Mom (who had the pocketbook with the money) would agree.
Most of the time there was a standard two-pack we all would enjoy. First, was the ride on the Wonder Wheel and then each of us would get an order of Nathan's French Fries.
The Wonder Wheel is a rather unique Ferris wheel in that it has two different types of car's to ride in. One set is the traditional and simply hangs in the same position on the wheel with some mild rocking back and forth. Each of the second set travels on their own oval track within the circular structure of the wheel. As you begin to climb up higher on the ride the car begins to slide into the center of the wheel. This would always provoke giddy laughter from us kids, and a mild exclamation from Mom. "Ooh, Honey," Mom would say, holding tightly to Dad's arm.
One time Mom and Dad sent us three kids on a ride by ourselves. This was certainly a unique experience. The ride was called the Bobsled. It was an older ride and a form of roller coaster. The ride started off by diving into a dark tunnel where a loud siren blasted you right out of your seat. You emerged from the dark at the top of the hill and started racing down a wooden trough without any tracks to guide the 'sled'. The sled was had around ten cars, each two seats that held four people, on wheels. Since there was no track to guide the sled, you would slither like a snake up and down the sides of the trough. It did move a lot faster than any snake we had ever seen. After the ride we discovered that Mom and Dad knew about the ride from their younger days and did not warn us about the darkness or the siren.
We would occasionally get to ride the bumper cars and the carousel, but it was the Wonder Wheel that was the standard ride each time we stopped at Coney Island. Coney Island is located on the beach in Brooklyn, NY. Out one side of the Wonder Wheel you could see miles of the ocean, on the other all of Brooklyn.
The Nathan's fries are special in that they are freshly cut and fried twice right on the premises. This double frying gives a nice crunchy outside and moist tasty inside. Served with lots of catsup, they are a much better fry than served at Burger King or McDonalds.