Not Just for Tourists - Coney Island

Step right up, step right up folks! Come see the amazing wonderment that is Coney Island. Word on the street is that it's the last summer for this century-old playground so hop on the Q train and see it before it becomes luxury highrises. Granted, if not for the historical presence this dump would have been torn down a long time ago. It is full of creaky, old amusement park rides, creepy carnies, and a crowd mixed with tourists and the pickpockets who love them. Here are my top "to-dos" for your Coney Island trip.

1. You MUST go to the freak show/sideshow act. Sadly, this was the main reason I wanted to go out there. Who doesn't want to see a man drive a nail through his head, a firebreather, a sword swallower, or a dude with his face completely covered in hair who also happens to be a tightrope walker. Seriously, if you go to Coney Island for an hour this is what you have to do....this is Americana at its finest.

2. Get ready for the rush of nitrates and the smell of all things must have a Nathan's hotdog. Forget the pathetic stand on the boardwalk; go to the original location across the street from the subway stop (and closer to the freak show). The hotdogs are actually quite good and as my mom says, she like the dogs where the skin that snaps when you bite into it. Nasty, but critical in the hotdog experience. Stroll to the side of the building to check out the Nathan's Hotdog Eating Contest wall of fame. Listen to your gastrointestinal tract churn as you read the number of dogs consumed. What I don't understand is how the hell the winning number went from like 9 in 1987 to 66 in 2007. What happened in 20 years that has allowed man to consume over 6 times the number of hot dogs in 12 minutes. Seriously, all you need is one.

3. Bring you swim suit and towel because the freak show and eating a hot dog will only take about an hour and 10 minutes....there is a beach at Coney Island. Granted the waves are miniscule and the sand is a bit industrial, but there are tons of beach volleyball courts, scantily clad co-eds and a wonderful boardwalk that stretches to Brighton Beach where you can pick up the Q and return to lovely Manhattan.

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