One thing in the New York area which I've always wanted to do but had never taken the opportunity before was to visit the nearby Coney Island. The reason, partially was because we'd always visited in the colder seasons, and also because our time there was normally packed with other things to do that we couldn't take the extra trip.
This past trip, however, was a bit more relaxed. Although we only had three days in NYC, we'd mainly gone to see a specific show and the other days were open. We did explore the city a bit more and visited a museum which we'd never seen, but we had some extra time on our last day up there, that when we woke up that morning, we decided we'd have enough time before our late afternoon flight home to take the train to Coney Island.
Since it was May, and the weather had been quite spring-like and lovely, this was an even better excuse to go to the seaside. Unfortunately it was pretty chilly with the ocean breeze, and we were glad to have brought our warm coats.
From the city (after a stop for a morning coffee and pastry), we hopped on the N Subway Line and settled in for the approximately 45-minute ride south. It was an easy and relaxing ride down there, and we were almost the only ones in the subway car. I'm guessing that it's a different story in the height of summer though. When we exited at the end of the line, we could see the carnival rides a couple of blocks away lining the shore.
I've always been interested in seeing this famous boardwalk, and the trip was definitely worth it for a stroll on the iconic beachside promenade. As soon as we got off the train and walked to the street, it felt like we stepped back in time to some weird deserted carnie time-warp. There were even strange creaking noises coming from the wind moving something metal around, and all the colorful signs seemed an out-of-place-bright to advertise to just the 9 or so people meandering around.
But the vintage style painted signs, old carnival rides, fair food displays, and wooden boardwalk seemed oddly comforting in an Americana sort of way. I'm at least glad we got to see this strange place before all the summer crowds and before (if) it ceases to exist any longer.
We didn't ride anything, but the vendors were just getting set up that morning. I tried just imagining the crowds that are probably here in the height of summer. If you go, some of the rides you can take (or just take photos of) are the "World Famous Cyclone" rollercoaster and the Wonder Wheel ferriswheel. You can also visit the New York Aquarium just off the boardwalk, or take part in the annual Nathan's Hotdog eating contest!
• Subways D, Q N or F from Manhattan