coney island at sunset

August 8, 2013 |  Category:   life nyc












Coney Island can be fun, but on a blazing hot day at the height of summer, it’s not exactly my first choice for a good time. I’m not sure why we never thought to go during sunset hours before because let me tell you, that golden hour light makes everything glow with a charm. Kick in a cool ocean breeze and the twinkle of amusement lights that gradually illuminate the boardwalk and the place transforms altogether. We have this thing that we do with the kids sometimes where we won’t tell them where we’re going, but rather keep it as a surprise until they can guess. It’s a little tortuous and they probably get really annoyed at us, but hey, sometimes we take liberties as parents and have some fun (at their expense). Last week we decided quite at the last minute to take a train ride to Coney Island after the day’s plans got totally derailed from that bad mood I had that day. I guess the parental guilt crept in and I wanted to make it up to the girls. They were thrilled, of course, and it was so nice to be out there in the ocean air watching the day transition into night.


When we took the train home after the sun went down, I sat there in the mostly empty subway car remembering how I used to ride the same F train as a teenager in college, coming home from some crazy winter Fun House party in Coney Island, back to the East Village. That one hour ride was long from the end of the line in Brooklyn to 2nd Ave in Manhattan. It seemed even longer still at 2am in the morning, particularly if you were tired and maybe a little, um, messed up from partying.
Coney Island doesn’t look like it did back in those days in the late 80s, but even with all the shiny new rides it still somehow feels like Coney Island, with a little less flavor and a lot less trash. If you’re curious about what it looked like in the 80s, here’s an Air Supply video for you, shot in Coney Island around 1982. People around my age should remember this cheesy song. I mean my god, Air Supply was big around that era, weren’t they? The Solid Gold era as I like to refer to those music years from when I was a kid. If you’re not from my generation then maybe you’ll recognize this song from supermarket shopping or riding elevators.

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  • G. August 9, 2013 at 12:32 am

    While the page was loading after I clicked on the link, I was trying to guess what song was going to load. Got it right. And then I laughed at myself.

    • Jenna August 9, 2013 at 10:05 am

      ha, it’s one of their biggest hits!

  • Connie August 9, 2013 at 12:51 am

    I love the idea of a surprising the kids about the day’s adventure, what fun! I am so going to steal this idea 🙂

  • Juliet August 9, 2013 at 10:01 am

    My quick temper has ruined many a day off with the family and I would have loved to make it up to them with an experience like this. You and Mark are great parents, partners. That 80s vibe always gets me. Have you seen “Take This Waltz”? Michelle Williams’s character takes Luke Kirby to ride the Scrambler. It is one of my favorite scenes.

    • Jenna August 9, 2013 at 10:05 am

      no, i haven’t seen that!

      • Juliet August 9, 2013 at 10:12 am

        Her character annoys me at various times throughout the film but she has some really beautiful moments alternately with Luke Kirby and Seth Rogen that are worth watching. She’s in one of my all-time favorite films, Blue Valentine, although I kind of dislike her character towards the end of that film. In case you ever have a few hours to watch some things on Netflix, hopefully I haven’t spoiled them for you!

  • Britta August 9, 2013 at 10:03 am

    I have a distinct memory of being in the corner grocery with my mom in the mid 80’s and her humming, then HORRIFYINGLY singing that song. I did everything in my power to hide my 8 year old body behind displays.

    • Jenna August 9, 2013 at 10:06 am

      hahaha! I don’t think I’ve embarassed the girls yet with my singing or anything yet. I’m sure those days will come though

  • Katie August 9, 2013 at 11:20 am

    amazing pictures!

  • Diane August 9, 2013 at 11:32 am

    magical photos in the golden light….inspired to “make” up for a moody day. love your honesty, as always.

  • Renita August 9, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I remember Solid Gold w/Marilyn McCoo & the Solid Gold Dancers! Too funny ….. I am looking forward to seeing if these photos will be in your 2014 Calendar

  • Vicki August 9, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Ahhh … I love Coney Island!!! I have been trying to get to a Cyclones game all summer but the scheduling just never works out!!! 🙂

  • dolittledesign August 9, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Nay, I would say it is dated even for supermarkets and elevators. Hehe.

  • Jhope August 9, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Husband just walked into the room: “Are you listening to Air Supply?!??”.

    • Jenna August 9, 2013 at 10:06 pm

      hahaha that’s hilarious!

  • Christy@SweetandSavoring August 11, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    What a beautiful bunch of photos- you really went at the perfect time of day! Coney Island is so much fun 🙂

  • Darcy Troutman August 12, 2013 at 8:38 am

    The Air Supply video is a charm, that was the first album I ever owned. I remember playing it over and over again the year after kindergarten, so much drama in those lyrics. I just wanted to say how much I love your blog. My best friend lives in Queens and whenever we visit (we live in DC) I have a huge list of things I want to see based on your suggestions. Last visit we checked out Coe Hall (here are some pics – based on your recommendation. So thanks for all the great ideas and keep on keeping on!