Places I Remember

Labor Day weekend, we took the Q to Coney Island to say farewell to a stinking hot summer with Nathan's hot dogs, Mister Softee ice cream cones and a $6 ride on the Wonder Wheel. Coney Island visits are best when salty, sweet and short. We strolled the boardwalk with our chocolate sprinkles vanilla cones, listening to amusement park rides, carnies and New Yorkers trying to outdo each other. We paid full price to take a 7 month old baby on the Ferris wheel. He loved looking down on the flashing lights and moving crowds. Then, when we'd had enough of the noise, heat and crowds and were heading back to the subway, we heard a boardwalk announcer introduce the first contestant in a karaoke contest. She took the mic as we passed by, and the opening riff to The Beatles' In My Life came over the PA. Just enough of that familiar guitar introduction to set the scene: sandy boardwalk planks, the roar and whistle of arcade games and carnival rides, late afternoon, late summer sun, and the gentle recognition of a sentimental song. Which the karaoke contestant then started singing in a perfectly tuneless thick as mud Brooklyn accent:

There are places I remember / all my life though some have changed...

And that's how I said goodbye to summer, with a sweet and salty smile.