That was mistake #1. It was Memorial Day, so the beach, boardwalk and ride areas were extremely crowded. Paul patiently drove down street after street looking for a spot. Finally we found one near the boardwalk in Brighton Beach, a neighborhood abutting Coney Island. It was about a 20 block walk to get to Coney Island proper.
Although the day was hot, the boardwalk and the strong ocean breezes made me cold. The rides are just off the boardwalk, and there it was hot again. I think it was impossible to dress comfortably.
The Cyclone was the first ride we came to, and the one we all wanted to ride. After dozens of visits to Cedar Point, I didn't have high hopes. Still, the Cyclone is a classic, so I forked over the 8 bucks and strapped myself in.
That was mistake #2. I should have been warned that this wasn't going to be your normal amusement park ride when simply getting on the coaster was a kind of free-for-all. There was no set line-- when the train pulled up, you grabbed a seat as quickly as you could. And previous riders could stay on the coaster by giving the workers $5 (although I think Sam said the workers were cutting the riders some deals-- two for $7 and the like).Anyway, the view up the hill was lovely. On the way down, however, my neck snapped back and I couldn't lift my head up for several seconds. The rest of the wooden ride was jerky, of course, and that didn't help. By the time I got off, I was in some serious pain. I couldn't turn my head all the way around for a couple of days, and I only felt back to normal on Friday.
So I basically paid $8 for whiplash.
We ended the day at Nathan's Famous, obviously to sample the famous hot dogs. I had buy-one-get-one-free hot dogs (yep, I'm still a cheapskate), and Paul wanted the chili cheese dog. So I got one too.
That was mistake #3. The hot dog itself tasted fine, but the cheese was a little disgusting and very messy.
All in all, I'm glad we went to Coney Island, despite my bad impressions. There was a lot of talk that it might not even open this year, and after hearing about it for so many years I would have been very disappointed to have missed it. Still, I won't voluntarily go back for awhile, unless maybe for the Mermaid Parade later this month. It was simply a faded county fair without the animals.