Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Rickety day.

As a Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn baby, Astroland wasn't an amusement park to me, but rather a daily part of life. If we went anywhere, we surely passed the park, and Saturdays were often spent on the boardwalk of Coney Island. It is strange, to be a beach-community child in the biggest, loudest city in America. It doesn't make sense, that I grew up in Brooklyn, but most times in a bathing suit, body caked in sand like a veal cutlet, feet slapping as I ran across the boardwalk's storm-worn wooden planks.

My first hot dog was a Nathan's hot dog. My grandfather, now deceased, helped to build the Parachute Jump when he was young, living in a colorful and exciting New York that makes me jealous to imagine. Whenever traveling on the Belt Parkway I see the parachute jump from the road and laugh at what a powerful mark my family seems to leave on everything it touches, on the landscape of the world itself. The good and the bad.

The Wonder Wheel, I was sure was the center of the universe. When I sat on the rickety old, colorful metal seats, soaring above the beach next to mom or as the case may be, Dad, I imagined that it was the place where my divorced family by some miracle might be able to mend itself. It was there, high above Brooklyn that I felt my world connected. Mom and Dad were both allowed on the Wonder Wheel.
Goodbye, Astroland.


Sara said...

You are such a wonderful writer, Jackie. This almost made me tear up and it's a place I've never seen - but it sounds beautiful.

wild injun said...

Hi Jackie,

That's quite a beautiful piece you wrote there. We were in Coney Island in October and had a Nathan's hot dog at 9:00 in the morning- the first one off the grill. Your grandpa Roy used to change the light bulb at the top of the Parachute jump and he also had to hold the shoes of the people going up. That was part of the deal. But the best one of all was the story he used to tell me about having to climb out the back window of the Half Moon Hotel down there because the process servers were pounding on the door to try and serve him divorce papers. I think that must have been in the 50's sometime. They broke the mold...Love you, Dad.