New York seems to be in the grips of a crazy heatwave at the moment – it’s early October and the days are sunny and shiny and 28 degrees. It’s quite blissful!
Yesterday we packed our backpacks, did a little research on Google maps, and trained our way to Coney Island for some rides and fried treats and oversized cups of lemonade.
Coney Island is kinda bananas. I always thought it was one big theme park, but when we got there (and spent an exorbitant amount of cash on wristbands for ‘limitless rides’ at Luna Park) we discovered that there are actually SEVERAL parks, each proclaiming to have the best rides, the best thrills, the best fun. I think we picked pretty well with Luna Park though (even though we didn’t really know it at the time).
Like many things I’ve confessed to on this here blog, I’m not very good at rides. It’s not that I’m a particularly vommy kind of person, but I’m not very thrill-seeking, I’m scared of heights, and I refuse to go on a ride that goes upside down. I was anticipating not only a headache but broken limbs and a punctured lung on the way to Coney Island. What I was not anticipating, however, was a FLIPPIN’ GREAT DAY!!!!
First ride up was the Tickler, which is a disgusting ride. You are strapped into a circular dish, get hoisted up a rickety ramp (with no apparent machinery actually keeping you from flying over the edge), and then you’re hurtled around, spinning and whip-lashing, up and down slides and ramps and bumps and zigzags at breakneck speed. It’s a little bit like the Mad Mouse, only worse. I screamed the WHOLE way. It was amazing.
Next up was the Raging River Log Ride. We partnered up (I was with Beev) and got into our logs, that – great – had no seat-belts or straps or anything to actually keep us in. Only bars at the sides to hold onto. Which doesn’t feel all that secure when your palms are sweating like cheese in the sun. Our log, floating on a gushing river of chlorinated water, burst away from the entrance and around some bends, up a ramp, down a slide (water splashing dramatically all around us), around a few more bends, then up a MONSTROUSLY ENORMOUS RAMP and down a slide that was pretty much a sheer drop (note: it wasn’t really). The splash at the bottom drenched our bums and legs and backpacks. I screamed the whole way. It was amazing.
Did I mention that the Raging River Log Ride was actually for little kids (possibly even babies)? How do kids handle that shizz?? It was intense and GREAT! I wanted to go on it again STRAIGHT AWAY!!!
After the terrifyingly exhilarating Raging River Log Ride, I took a time out to gather my thoughts, and my guts, and soothe my screamed-out throat with a little (read: huge) drink of lemonade. Delicious. Rich and the girls went on a revolting aeroplane ride, that scissored up and down and upside down (yuck) and seemed to spin faster than the speed of light. Rich and girls emerged a little wobbly and woozy, but one sassy tween loudly declared “That ride was so boring, I dang near fell a-SLEEP” (note: I saw this sassy tween an hour or so later on this very same ride, and she was indeed SLEEPING!!! What a Sassy McSass Pants! Kids these days….).
After a few other ‘HighThrill’ rides that I was too terrified to partake in, Rich and the girls were ready to tone it down a notch, ready to ride with me on a ‘MediumThrill’ baby-ish-looking train that looked way more my speed. There were lots of 6 year olds on this ride. And a grandma. I was in safe hands.
Except that I WASN’T!!! This baby/grandma-up-&-down train ride went ON ITS SIDE and was just as hurtly gurtly as the flippin’ Tickler. ‘MediumThrill’ my bum – that is a lie. I screamed and screamed (to the point where Grandma got just a little bit more deaf) and had to sate myself afterwards with another lemonade. I am DONE with these misleading rides!!!
But then we noticed that the swingy swing was open. You know the one. There are lots of arty photos of the swingy swing on various websites about the place. You sit in pairs, and the swing swings around, and you kinda swing out to the sides a bit, and it’s gentle and peaceful and a great way to see the sites. I could do this.
I’ve gotta stop being so overly confident about my ability (or inability, as the case may be) to enjoy, nay, partake in carnival rides. The swingy swing (AKA The Brooklyn Flyer) is actually not what it appears to be. After being strapped into the swing (and by strap, I mean you lower a bar onto your lap and clip a loose belt between your legs) the whole flipping contraption shoots up into the air about 50 metres, and then you start swinging around. And it’s not a leisurely swing. It’s really really fast. You swing out to the sides. You feel a bit like you’re going to fall out of the swing and PLUMMET TO THE GROUND!!!!! Not everyone feels this though – just me. Because I am SO terrified of heights. As I looked around (Wildly! Nervously! Anxiously!) I noticed everyone else on the ride completely and utterly chilled. The couple in front me had their arms around each other and were gazing into each others eyes. Eva and Scarlett, on the other side of the ride, were chatting and waving. I was gripping onto anything I could and screaming and shouting “IWANTTOGETOFF I WANTTOGETOFF!!” while Rich said soothing things like “Just shut your eyes… Just don’t look down… Woooaahhhh Look at how HIGH we are wooooohhhhooooohhhh!!!!!”
What a compassionate and loving husband.
Fortunately, and obviously, I did not topple out of the swingy swing, and although I nearly vommed my guts out with fear and dizziness, it was also amazing. And fun. And very very very scary. And after the Brooklyn Flyer, I was definitely done with rides.
Rich and Eva and Scarlett were keen to go on the Ghost Train, at which point I put my foot down. Instead, I opted to have my palm read and my fortune told by a lady with long long eyelashes and lots of mascara and a constantly ringing mobile phone (which kinda takes the magic out of visiting a psychic). I held out my palms, thought of two wishes, told her one, and she told me some things that I cannot repeat (bad luck, she said, to relay a fortune outside a reading). Then I paid her, and she pulled my change out of her bra. Amazing!! I didn’t know people actually kept money in their bras.
Pondering my future, I met my gang (who confessed to keeping their eyes shut through the majority of the Ghost Train), we headed back to Coney Island station and made the hour long journey back to Brooklyn for a big bowl of pasta and ice-cream.