I’m already several chapters past this, but it felt like a good time to share. Cuz I FELT LIKE IT, motherfuckers
CHAPTER 11: SEPT. 7TH, 2008—THE CONEY ISLAND APOCALYPSE:
There in the sky, ten thousand feet straight up from here, a four-and-a-half year old refugee with thick plastic glasses will see his first American seagull. He will press his nose to the glass, watching an almost imperceptibly small white figure soar and dive towards the red metal arms that reach endlessly up out of Brooklyn. If the Rx is good he may see the lean stripe of yellow beaches, punctuated here by the Steeplechase Pier jutting half a mile into the Atlantic, and behind it, Deno’s Wonderwheel (and almost certainly the projects beyond). As the plane circles terrifyingly earthward, he will squeeze his eyes shut and dream that unspeakable secret dream, a Made-in-China Yankees cap—preemptively bought—clutched in his sticky brown fingers.
If you, like us, naturalized through JFK instead of Ellis Island, then Coney Island’s Eiffel Tower was almost 100% absolutely the first American thing you saw. The French should errect a new goddamn plaque.
Every summer we return here, spilling out of Ocean Parkway and West 8th Street and Stillwell Avenue, Bangladeshi and Dominican and Cantonese alike; blacks from the West 27th Towers, from Coney and Flatbush and Bushwick; the Russians from their garish pink condos and their bungalows in Brighton; the Persians from the newly redoubled single-family’s in Gravesend, Mexicans and Chinese from the cluttered 5-family brownstones in Sunset Park; the Lubavich and the Islanders from the squat apartment houses of Crown Heights, and the hipsters, like some 11th plague, from the $2,000 a month one bedrooms of Williamsburg, their Canons trained on us like M-16s.
Last week, Astroland Amusements and the developers who own their concrete reached an impasse. Starting tomorrow, the poured plastic wildlife, the space needle and the haunted house and King Neptune water flume will be all leveled, auctioned and removed.