While looking at the beautiful paintings my host had just lying around her house I casually mentioned, "I've always wanted to go to Coney Island."
A bit of silence.
"Especially in the winter because I think it would be nice and derelict then." This was said with my 'photographer hat' on.
My friend looked at me ecstatic. "Me too," she replied, "but no one will go with me in the winter."
"Well I will."
And thus we decided to head down to Coney Island with memories of that Seinfeld episode in our heads (the one when they never actually get to Coney Island -- it isn't as difficult as they made it out to be).
Both of us literally forgot for several hours that the coastal areas were currently cleaning up from a major disaster. Honest, this was not part of our plan, we completely forgot. Our heads were too full of the lovely dereliction (by the way, "derelict" quickly became our favorite word) with loads of closed down rides to photograph.
But clean-up was happening. Tens of volunteers were carefully sweeping and shoveling what must have been tons of sand off the boardwalk and back to the beach. The progress they had already made was quite impressive. The progress they continued to make was also impressive as we sat watching them while eating knishes (my first!).
It looked like Coney Island weathered the storm rather well. Yes, there were perhaps hundreds of stuffed animal prizes in dumpsters everywhere, but the buildings looked sound. The rides looked like they would run again, once the sand was dusted off anyway.
Apparently Coney Island has many stray cats and the people feed them.