I know, I know: another post about the beach?! But who can resist quirky Coney Island?
In August, the Coney Island History Project held a ceremony to celebrate the return of the Astroland rocket to Coney. The rocket was once a main attraction at Astroland, a futuristic theme park that opened in 1962. At the time, the rocket was unusual and exciting ride. Visitors took their seats inside the rocket before it began to shake roughly; at the same time, a television screen inside the rocket played a film about space travel.
The ceremony smacked of the same restless hope that helped to shape the 1960s in America. In a way, that’s what is so wonderful about Coney Island. Visiting Coney Island’s boardwalk feels a little like taking a trip back in time. Luna Park, Astroland’s successor, may be updating the rides (check out that slick orange roller coaster in the slideshow), but nostalgia prevails in this zip code. Decades-old traditions, like riding the rickety Cyclone roller coaster or having lunch at Nathan’s, are still alive and well. Even the gastronomically-questionable Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, which dates back to 1972, remains a American tradition.
For me, summer has never meant sand and sun and postcard memories at some exotic shoreline. I grew up on the coast of the Southeastern United States, where swimming in October is not uncommon. Summer sun and the sweaty bodies it brings have driven me indoors in past summers, where cool air envelops me and sweat is a distant threat.
But this summer, the sea called to me. The beach offered respite from New York’s skyscrapers and the constant buzz of traffic. It doesn’t hurt that the city’s beaches have a lot of personality. From Coney to Brighton to Rockaway, New York’s beaches are distinctly different.
“Jell-O shots, ice cold Jell-O shots!”
It’s a warm summer Saturday on Coney Island. Men and women weave between sunbathing beach goers, attempting to sell food, drinks and beach gear. They carry coolers, plastic bags, and sagging purses full of inventory.
From September to December 2013, I lived and studied in Paris, France, which is one of my favorite cities in the world. This post is the first in a series about the foods I tasted during my four months in Europe.
Perhaps what I love most about the French is their love of food. My host mom, who I called my “Madame”, once told me that the French never stop thinking about food. Before, during and after a meal, French people are thinking about their next meal. One night, my Madame and her daughter spent the entirety of our main course and dessert interrogating my Swiss housemate about her favorite brands of chocolate.
During my time abroad, I traveled to Belgium, England, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Spain, Switzerland, and various places in France. This post is about my weekend trip to Nice, France, a seaside city in the South of France with a food culture that mixes French and Italian traditions.