The advancement of technology and architecture has transformed the farmlands of New Amsterdam into the bustling city that never sleeps. But through time, much of the old has been replaced with the new. Some of the older buildings still exist but are in the shadow of greater, higher, more intimidating towers of glass.
Manhattan’s neighboring borough did not develop in the same manner. Brooklyn was mostly farmland that was turned into residential neighborhoods and factories.
Brooklyn doesn’t exactly attract the picture-snapping tourists. It doesn’t have the same spark as the concrete jungle of Manhattan. Or does it?
In Brooklyn, much of this is the same. Old factories transformed into residential buildings, rundown neighborhoods have been turned into ultra modern ones that are now the paradise for yuppies and hipsters.
Most tourists have experienced Brooklyn as a result of either bar hopping in Williamsburg or walking though DUMBO after crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. But most haven’t been brave enough to explore the other side of Brooklyn. If you go further south, you’ll arrive to Coney Island; a Brooklyn most are unfamiliar with.
Coney Island Beach is no Côte d’Azur or Ipanema. It lacks the traditional beach life ambiance… It’s simply a boardwalk that has been trapped in 1962.
Coney Island is a crummy old beach with people who lack any sort of understanding of what it means to clean up after themselves. But if there’s one place in the New York area worthwhile spending the Independence day, it would be there.
As an adult, the things that bother us most when going to the beach are simply ignored here. Coney Island transforms the adult into the little child they once were. With its lack of chic ambiance, it brings out the inner 12-year-old in us. From Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4th to the amusement park and aquarium there’s plenty to do.
Coming out of the train on a sunny July 4th day, the summer heat knocks you sideways, the bright blue sky numbs your sensitivity towards the stereotypical definition of a beach in Brooklyn, the vivid colors all around lead your eyes to a wooden Cyclone rollercoaster that is older than the boardwalk that brings you there.
As for the people, it’s a true melting pot. You’ll hear many Russian and Spanish dialects and of course the good old famous Brooklyn accent saying; “Hey Tony, Fa-gedda-boud-it!” (forget about it)
But with such diversity, there is one major common denominator; they are all happy that they’ve left the communist life 25 years ago or the economical challenges of yesteryear. They are proud to be in America and to celebrate Independence Day.
To them, it’s not just about stuffing their face with six hot dogs, beer and hot pretzels; it’s about appreciating freedom to the max. This may not be St. Tropez, but for some of these people, this is the definition of paradise.
So when you visit Coney Island this summer, be ready to be transformed into a 12-year-old boy or girl and open your eyes. For beyond all the typical Americans on the beach, these shores have thousands of footsteps of those who wished for the American dream of true freedom and have reached their version of paradise, Coney Island.