Coney Island

Took the kids to Coney Island today. Interesting place.

My dad actually grew up a stone’s throw from the boardwalk, back when hotdogs were 15 cents and the crime rate was probably, oh, zero. That was a long time ago. Beginning in the early 1970s, Coney Island started to decay—a combination of more advanced and dynamic amusement spots opening in other areas and more and more low-income housing communities taking up space. It is what it is.

Thanks to Pop, I have a sense of nostalgia for the place. So we went—and had a great time. Some awesome rides, Italian Ices galore, a shockingly lovely beach, etc.

One thing that stands out, however, is an encounter I had while waiting for my food at Nathan’s. A woman came up from behind and was clearly irked that I delayed her order time by asking for napkins. She was a short little thing—brown hair, brown eyes, a staggeringly ugly bikini the size of a Coke bottle. She wore enormous gold triangle earrings, and sported a bunch of tattoos—including the tramp stamp above. It reads NOTHING BUT DIAMONDS. Which is, of course, a stupid thing to have on a stupid tramp stamp. But, hey.

I watched, in utter disgust, as she berated and insulted the Nathan’s staffers for doing, well, nothing wrong. She wanted the hotdogs with onions. Why the fuck were there no onions? And were they sure the sodas were Cokes? Last time some fucking asshole gave her Diet Coke by mistake. Her two kids were by her side. One, age 9 or 10, was on his cell phone. The other, age 2 or 3, asked her something. “If you don’t shut your damn mouth right now …” she said—but then the food arrived. No onions on the dogs.

As she walked off, I exchanged glances with the cashier. Depressing.