YO! YO! YO! FROM LADY LIBERTY TO BROOKLYN TO COASTER #22
(MOVIE PLANNING VIEWING: "THE WARRIORS", "DO THE RIGHT THING" & "MOONSTRUCK")
Chapter 1: Hey, whaddya tink ya lookin' at? Welcome to Brooklyn!
We all slept late today, Sunday 6 June 2010 and it was nice to not have to worry about getting to a themepark, or on the road or check out of a hotel for a few days, and we all took advantage of that. So while Barb went to pick up her car from outside the Dug Out where we’d left it in the early hours of the morning, Kelly, Justyn and I caught up on a few postcards and blogging updates. Originally Barb had organised with her relatives to take us to Amityville, Long Island where they live and go out on the water for the evening (and I was keen to see the infamous house from the Amityville Horror....) but the weather was expected to turn later in the day and we unfortunately had to call off our plans to see Long Island. But New York is a big city with lots and lots of other nooks and crannies to check out. So we decided to catch the Staten Island ferry across to Battery Park, one of the last free things you can do in NYC, which would also give us a close view of the Statue of Liberty – for free! Stepping off on Manhattan Island we caught the subway to the closest stop to the Brooklyn Bridge, an icon of the city and a lovely walk across into lower Brooklyn, an area that Kelly & I had not ventured into on any of our previous trips. The rain was holding off, however the wind was picking up, but that did not deter us or any of the many other people (locals and tourists) taking the mile walk across the bridge. It was pretty cool to do that and we re-captured for ourselves some iconic photographic images along the walk. Manhattan is an island that has many bridges linking it to other parts of the state and one area in Brooklyn that is up and coming is DUMBO, an acronym that stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass which is near where we came off the Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn. The day was sticky and warm and we headed to a chocolatier for an iced chocolate and the best chocolate chip cookie I believe I have ever had!
Chapter 2: #2 Best Pizza and a Game of Cricket
Pizza was the theme of the visit to NYC and while we slurped on our iced chocolates we joined the queue at Grimaldi’s Pizza place, voted the 2nd best pizza joint in New York State. It was 2:30pm in the afternoon and we were queuing for pizza! Finally we reached the head of the queue after about half an hour and were seated around a small table and presented with a menu that offered either a red or white pizza (with tomato sauce or without) and then you select your own toppings. No pizza already designed for you – create it yourself! And they baked the pizzas in a coal fire oven that had been in use since the early 1900’s, so you know you are getting something tasty and traditional. We went for the red pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms and onion. Again the pizza was huge!! We had been having a little trouble finding Coca Cola in the east (Pepsi seems to be more easily found) but Grimaldi had Cokes too which went down a treat with our pizza. Upon devouring our pizza and chatting with the cooks around the oven while you queued (again) for the loos, we went back out into the daylight and settled on finding Prospect Park which is bigger than Central Park. Some Brooklyners pointed us in the right direction and another walk and subway found us walking into the park as we encountered many picnickers leaving as the rain finally decided to come to our holiday. The rain was short lived and the day so hot that the water evaporated from our skin and clothes pretty quickly! We took off our shoes and planted our bare feet in the lovely long grass and watched the weird sports goings on which is what Prospect Park is particularly popular for. Expats, West Indians, Pakistani’s, Indians and even a pom were found playing cricket (with a tennis ball!) – we tried to encourage Justyn to shuffle bowl a spinner to them, but he was content to commentate for us. Another odd sport we watched was kind-of like soccer, but with a big nerf ball, about the size of a fitball. It was hilarious to watch and looked like the players were having a ball – literally! As we had entered the park without a map and Barb had never been there, we winged our wander until we encountered a sign which showed how we could get ourselves through the park by following the coloured dots on the footpaths. It was a lovely park and Brooklyn was also a really enjoyable and charming borough of New York City. We will be back!
Chapter 3: I did promise you a rollercoaster!
We caught the Staten Island ferry back to Staten Island (of course!) and Barb drove us around to Coney Island which is also in Brooklyn so we could ride the Cyclone and cross of ride #22 on the coaster tour. After a couple more bridges, we found ourselves doing a few blockies as Barb was determined to find a street parking spot as close to the action as possible. And she succeeded! But before riding the Cyclone, we needed a pee-ery so there wouldn’t be any accidents on the ride! Let me tell you, a) finding the restroom was like an adventure in itself then b) getting past the Loo Nazi was a whole other story! She told you when you could come in, then what cubicle to use – I’m sure she would have told us how many sheets of paper to use if she could! And look out if you gave her any attitude as one brave girl did! I think we made it out by the skin of our teeth! Anyways, it was time to ride the Cyclone - ride #22 - one of the most famous attractions in all of Coney Island and probably one of the most famous roller coasters in the world - it has been thrilling riders since the historic roller coaster began in 1927. (FYI The design of the Cyclone in 1927 had to be exceptionally tight and steep because of the relatively small ground space that was available for the attraction. The construction of this masterpiece began on a historical site which was significant in the world of roller coasters - the Cyclone graces the place which contained the world's very first roller coaster, LaMarcus A. Thompson's Switchback Railway.) Kel, Barb and I lined up and squeezed in together to ride this legendary mother of all coasters. And it was a lean and mean ride! Jerky, jiggly, rocky, rough and pretty funny! The three of us were in hysterics before, during and especially after that experience! Another infamous symbol of New York, Brooklyn and Coney Island is the hot dog. And the dog rated the best of them all is Nathans who has been selling them for the last 90 years at this locale, so while we were in Coney Island, we needed to sample this staple of NYC cuisine. And what a surprising delight! The hot dogs were fresh, tasty and deeeelicious! What an enchanting surprise Brooklyn turned out to be!