Each August Tom and I get to attend Amazon's annual picnic. This year the company chose Coney Island for their event. My mother was there with a number of high school girlfriends sometime in the late 1930's or early 1940's. I've heard stories about the place for years. They went to Cincinnati on a bus (big deal in those days without superhighways) and spent the night with one of the girl's relatives.
Is it still the same place it was all those decades ago? Surely not. For one, it isn't an island (and I doubt it ever was). Mom remembers going there in a boat. I think she merely enjoyed the large pond. After she views these pictures, we'll see how much is familiar. Very little, I'll bet.
We went in the main entrance but found that group picnics - such as the one we were attending - were supposed to use another entrance. So we drove a bit more and finally got into the right line of traffic and found a parking spot in the "suburbs".
Tom wasn't given tickets ahead of time so we visited this table (various tables for the different Amazon warehouse locations) where Tom showed his employee ID and he was looked up on a list and we were each given color-coded paper wristbands.
Tom's helping attach mine before we head for the food area. Color-coding makes sure you stay in your assigned area.
First order of business: eat! Free food was provided from 10 am to 2 pm. So we decided to load up first ... and then see the sites. As my back was out, I limited myself to nearby amusements and couldn't ride any; it would have hurt too much.
Here's my plate with Tom's in the background. While they didn't specifically offer a vegetarian item this year, I was able to take a bun, add a slice of American cheese, top it with onions, pickles and (later) pickles, and have a delicious and filling sandwich. Tom waited in line for soda.
Tom's sandwiches are in the background - and he went back for a third: a hamburger and a hot dog. There weren't cookies or any dessert as part of the meal. But who can argue with the price?
It was a hot day (low 90's) and humid but seating for the lunch was provided at picnic tables beneath a roof. There was s slight breeze making the day almost bearable.
Mom will remember this, Tom said: Moonlight Gardens. This is an old dancing venue and probably dates to the earliest days of the park.
The walkways are beautifully landscaped throughout the park.
This lake had paddle-boats at one end and was used for various aquatic activities at other places.
I suspect most people come here for the amusement rides. I've never been that big on them and my back hurt too much to even try. But there were sure lots of happy people and many of the rides were full.
Tom thought this Administration Building also dated from the earliest days of Coney Island. I'll see if Mom remembers it.
We enjoyed live entertainment for a while. Song and dances were performed by what I think were college-aged kids. Quite good and certainly enthusiastic.
There would have been some good views from the top of this Ferris Wheel.
I suppose this geodesic dome provided climbing activities but no one was using it when we passed. Too much work, I suppose. Too hot.
Another section of the lake. Younger children were using small row boats.
Here's one of Tom and Nan's favorite rides. Tilt-A-Whirl, I think.
This small pond was painted a brilliant blue on the bottom and attracted the undivided attention of this young child.
A ride more suited for the younger crowd?
And certainly the Merry-Go-Round is a children's classic.
This "ride" lifted two sets of people to a height of four stories and then dropped them. One young man (probably about 20) rode again and again. As soon as he got off, he got back in line. You could hear the screams well before we got here.
We found a semi-shady spot to watch the people slowly rise and then drop.
Shady spots were aplenty but the day would have been much more pleasant had it been 20° cooler. When we got back to Tom's apartment (about 2 pm) storms had just arrived so I don't know how the picnic progressed while the rain was hammering down and the lightning was flashing. The rides would have closed, of course.
And here we are leaving.
So, I've finally seen Coney Island. It's a nicely cared-for park and I understand why it gave Mom many life-long memory. For more information on the park, click here.