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THE MECCA

OF

CONEY ISLAND

“Stand clear of the closing doors, please”. End of line, Coney Island, New York. I descend the station stairs, exiting onto Surf Avenue. Nathan's is closed, the billboard shows a record of sixty-two hotdogs eaten in ten minutes. There's a patrol car parked at the intersection. It's hot, no clouds in the sky. Cyclone, carousels and kids. I watch them for a while. I've never been on a rollercoaster, i'd really like to try. Anyway, not alone. 

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I keep walking towards the beach. Some sand raised by the wind, someone jogs along the shoreline. I stick to the promenade. I eat my very first hotdog at a nearby kiosk. It wouldn’t taste like anything if it weren't for the ketchup.

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The handball court is close, just past the aquarium. About two hundred meters from here. I walk under the shadow of the wall. There are some seagulls. I start hearing the noise of little rubber balls. I arrive. At first sight it seems like poured concrete that rests on the New York Boardwalk. Essential, three rows of five-meters high white walls. There are some people, not too many. Downtown seems so far away. The looming public housing projects jam the horizon. On the other side, ocean. I stay and watch. I don’t know the name of this playground.

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