Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Beloved Coney Island

A few months ago, I found out that this summer would be the last that Coney Island's Astroland Park would be in operation. and since summerly trips to coney island are somewhat of a tradition for my friends and i, this news hit me right in the blood pumper. i know that just because astroland is going away doesn't mean coney island will be gone (there's still deno's wonder wheel park and the cyclone, among several other attractions), but it still feels like a big piece of the whole will be missing. The wonderful thing about Coney Island and its ratty ass boardwalk (for reals, that thing is slapstick comedy waiting to happen) is that you are always promised at least one truly spectacular sight. Whether its something you intentionally seek out (the freak show), something that passes you by (if you ever want to feel good about yourself in a bathing suit/bikini, head down to the beach), or, as in the case of my most recent trip there, something that you just happen to be in the right place for.

My friends and i were chilling on the boardwalk in front of one of the many concession stands. The sun was hateful that day, so the three of us decided to get ice cream cones to lower our body temperature. As we stood there licking up the rapidly melting soft serve, we heard some shouting not too far in front of us. Two men were shouting "puto" back and forth at each other...which i'm guessing is the masculine form of "puta"...which is one of my favorite spanish words. This happened for a while until one of the dudes gestured at some fizzled out looking lady and said "puta!!". At this point, we figured this lady, we'll call her crackwhore, had something to do with the fight...we just really couldn't figure out what. So then, the shouting seems to settle, but we've still got our eyes glued to the action...just in case. Then the lead guy from the Boardwalk Thugs heads back to his shouting partner representing the Crackwhore Posse and starts to threaten him upclose. At this point, a very large man with a pink bandanna from the CP (who, i would've definitely been scared of, but ended up not really doing any damage i think because he was too fat) holds the two apart and in a very calm and genteel voice says 'Alright, alright, let's calm down here." This is where it gets impressive. Apparently, the Boardwalk Thugs had a strategy, because it's at this time when one of the members, unbeknownst to anyone, had slipped behind the leader of the CP and took this opportunity to break a bottle over his head. ! I thought that only happened in movies! So this move officially starts the ruckus. Bottle breaker starts punching lead CP in the head, chairs are getting knocked over, table umbrellas getting tossed. At one point, the actual crackwhore gets knocked out of her chair and lands seated on the floor. She stays in this position through the fight and for about 10 minutes after it's over. seriously. my friends and i are feverishly eating our ice cream and taking this in. we stepped back a couple steps when the fight got bigger, but otherwise were holding firm. Then, it happened. Lead CP, pissed and bleeding, lumbers over to one of the barrel trash cans on the outskirts of the concession stand, aka a few steps from our comfy viewing point, picks it up over his head Donkey Kong-style, and hoists back like he's just gonna toss the fucking thing and he don't care what it hits. At this point, my friends and i, as well as the rest of the surrounding crowd, start to run to get out of the way. We get to a safer point and turn around to find out that one of his buddies talked him out of that stupid idea and that team BT had retreated on foot. One friend and i resume licking our ice creams, turn to the third friend and say "wow! you finished already?!" Her response was that she chucked it when we started running away. I guess we had different priorities.

oh astroland, you may be leaving us with a hole in coney island and a hole in our hearts, but let's hope that does not affect the sights we all really want to see when we take the train to the end of the line.