Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sodom by the Sea

I love Coney Island. I can’t remember exactly the first time that I went there, but it must have been to go to the aquarium. Either with my brother and his family, or with my ex-husband, who’d amuse himself by threatening to feed me to the sharks. He found that hilarious.

It actually did used to be an island (it was filled in during the 19th century) inhabited by coneys, relatives of chickens. At the beginning of the 20th century, outraged moralists dubbed it “Sodom by the Sea,” because the working class was dating, dancing and God knows what else there. Eddie Cantor got his start in show business in Coney Island as a singing waiter. There’s the boardwalk, the sand, the Atlantic Ocean. People of every age, race and ethnicity that you can imagine lying in the sun, playing Frisbee, eating Nathan’s hotdogs. The beach does tend to draw an inordinate number of elderly men wearing Speedos who should emphatically Not be wearing Speedos. There’s the ballpark where the Brooklyn Cyclones play (the team’s named after the rollercoaster). There’s a Coney Island Museum, sideshows, games, and fried clams. What tastes like summer more than fried clams? And after years of telling myself I’d go, I may actually make it there for the Annual Mermaid Parade this year. For details:

An old friend of mine is coming in from Chicago that weekend, because he wants to see Coney Island before the wrecking ball goes at it. The games and booths are all going away this fall. The land has been sold, and a luxury high-rise is going up in its place:

God knows New York can’t always stay the same. If it did, it wouldn’t be New York. But there are so many condos going up so quickly in so many neighborhoods, it seems a shame real estate developers couldn’t spare the sideshows.

The Drama Hound is going on vacation, so there’ll be no new blogs for awhile. But check out the Mermaid Parade on June 23rd.

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