So, after reaching the place where Stillwell Avenue grounds at the beach –
I looked West,
See how deserted it is? That did not last long. Anyway, as is my custom (and the custom of the protagonist from my upcoming story), I set out to the East.
The reason I choose this direction is so I can travel from excitement to peace; most of the excitement and interesting things to see at Coney Island are to the East.
(At least for now. Construction is underway.)
Clustered around Stillwell Avenue are the amenities for the tourists and the casual visitors. The restaurants:
And the amusement parks:
But for myself, I’m more interested in the beach itself:
As you keep walking, you see many interesting things, both scenic –
(This wall is not just pretty, but covered with interesting Coney Island trivia.)
(I’m pretty sure neither of those last two things were there last Summer. Maybe they’re taking the opportunity to make some improvements as they rebuild after Sandy.)
Actually, speaking of Sandy, take a look at this:
That’s a public bathroom. It’s brand new this year, and there are others like it (along with a First Aid station of identical construction) further down the Boardwalk, though they haven’t opened yet.
This time last year, there were other public bathrooms that looked more like this:
Dim and cool and gray and dingy inside. Only they were below the boardwalk, on the beach. Since Sandy, those public bathrooms are no longer with us.
Anyway, as you keep walking –
– the boardwalk becomes less of a tourist attraction and more of a local park.
(See that? Where the texture of the walk changes? That’s the first stage of a long-term plan to replace the wooden boardwalk with concrete and plastic. It’s…controversial.)
Once beyond the bright lights and hubbub of Stillwell, you can find some of those hidden-treasure places that are always much loved by the locals:
(Just wanted to show the approach, there. I love this place; it reminds me of the Country Store ice cream window back where I grew up)
You also get to see more of the neighborhood. In addition to the Projects and the shabby apartment buildings, you see echoes of past splendor:
And, as you walk further and come to the luxury condos and beach houses, modern splendor:
You also see that, out beyond the commercial hub of Stillwell, the damage of Sandy is still very much with the people of Coney:
Finally, you approach the end:
I used to like to walk straight off the end of the Boardwalk, onto the beach, but as you can see, that’s no longer possible. I hope that once the repairs are completed, I’ll be able to do so again. I miss it. It seems wrong to stop before the end.
Anyway, this is where I take off my shirt and sandals, stuff them into my backpack, add some extra sunblock, and head out onto the beach. Come back on Friday to see where my journey takes me from there.