I don’t get sentimental over very many things, but the announcement that today is the final day of Astroland’s operation has really opened up the floodgates. For years, I knew this was coming, and yet I didn’t believe that Coney Island could change, even as I saw it changing.
When I get homesick, it’s for the townie things, the minutia. Getting breakfast anytime. Giving ludicrous directions to clueless tourists. The olfactory delights of the subway. The beach in wintertime. The view from the top of the Wonder Wheel.
I introduced my sister to the kiddie rides in Coney Island when she was six years old. When she was old enough, I introduced her to the Wonder Wheel, which we now ride together whenever I go home. The Wonder Wheel, which has landmark status, isn’t going anywhere, but the scrappy swath of waterfront around it is being developed into a mix of housing, hotels, and high-end retail.
The clip above is from The Warriors, a 1979 cult classic about NYC gangs. After a gang meeting in the Bronx, the Warriors must return to their Coney Island turf while battling rival gangs who believe that the Warriors killed charismatic gang leader Cyrus. It’s one of my favorite films, and I have the sudden and overwhelming urge to watch it again for the umpteenth time.