I always love going to Coney Island. The idea that there is an ocean beach a half-hour subway ride from my apartment is amazing to me, let alone one that stands as a monument to history (its first carousel was built in 1876) and that offers a glimpse into the great ethnic mix of the borough of Brooklyn. The first trip of the season did not disappoint.
The six kids my friend Kelley and I had with us -- mine, the three she babysits and a friend's son -- were great sports on the train. With clouds looming, we were all prepared for the potential of a wacky misadventure.
Once there, though, the clouds thinned, parting way finally to full sun, and the kids played happily while Kelley and I were actually able to converse. A group of Arab boys played a rough game of soccer nearby and there were a few other stragglers, but mostly we had the beach to ourselves. I looked up and noticed a man had his lens trained on my friend's son, so I hopped up to introduce myself. One can never be too careful. Turns out, he is a photographer, Leslie Jean-Bart, from Haiti, who takes pictures of shadows and was trying to capture the shadows Harry sent on to the sand. Cool.
We exchanged cards and a mutual agreement that Coney Island was awesome. I ran up to my blanket to get Leslie his gold star.
The kids had buried one another, built a million tunnelled sand castles, ate corn dogs and caught some jellyfish that we watched swim around the bucket for a while, our own personal aquarium.
When they began to tussle, we took a walk to the pier to see what we could see. Last time, I had seen a fisherman catch a Skate. This time, a bunch of Asian women and their young sons were catching crabs with raw chicken as bait! They sweetly showed our group how to toss out the baskets into the ocean and then pulley up the rope.