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The First Drop

My Heart pumps hard in my chest,

There is nothing I can do now.

I try to put my fears to rest,

Travelling up to plummet back down.

It’s the reason we came here as kids,

To enjoy the motion in this car.

The girls in front of me having fits

The ground never seemed so far

We begin our descent to the floor

My insides come up through my neck

The adrenaline hits every inch of my core

“This coaster better not end in wreck”

Fears like that have no place here,

Other riders make it clear.

I wipe my hair from my ear,

 I have conquered my fear.

The first drop is the real thrill.

A poem about The Cyclone, one of my favorite childhood memories.

Coney Island is a place that is not connected to the culture of a different country, but purely to the American culture. While one walks throughout Coney Island, you quickly realize that it is unlike any other part of Brooklyn, or any other place in this world. Characterized by its long-standing landmarks, enormous amounts of tourists, and its highly populated streets and beach, Coney Island is in and of itself a miniaturized world.

I started my visit to Coney Island as early as possible, because there is simply so much to do there that it was required to arrive early. I spent some time on the beach around West 33rd Street. The scene was incredible. There were hundreds of people filling the beach, mostly between the ages of 15 and 25. Large groups would crowd together to take the sun, play a sport such as soccer, or just cool off in the water.

Next I left the beach to walk along the boardwalk, where there were many attractions such as “Shoot The Freak,” a game where you pay to shoot a shielded man with a paintball gun. The “Freak” was dressed in red white and blue. This signified something to me, and it was not simply that this game was in America, or that the owners of this attraction were patriotic. I realized that I was playing a game that simply felt American, in a place, Coney Island, that is built on original American ideas, with the feel of New York all over it. From Nathan’s to the Cyclone to the Brooklyn Cyclones in MCU Park, Coney Island takes almost nothing from the cultures of other nations, but simply has created its very own subculture.

 The trip that I took to the High Line in Manhattan was a very different experience from that of Coney Island. I arrived there in the afternoon, and quickly realized that it was not a place of chaos with massive amounts of people, or a place of mechanical attractions. Rather, it fit the present-day ideas of recreation and restoring or preserving nature. Much like Central Park, the High Line Park was a place that took on the theme of nature, even though it wasn’t necessarily a natural environment.

The “man-made nature” of High Line Park was something that had a completely different effect on my mindset than that of Coney Island. I felt peaceful, like I was simply an observer in a beautiful show. I did not pay attention to the fact that I was walking on an old railroad, but simply enjoyed the plants and displays of the park. This pleasant experience was interrupted, however, by the large amounts of stands that appear in some places in the park. I was disappointed by the fact that people simply trying to sell you things offset this supposedly natural setting. There is a time and place for everything, and High Line Park is not the place for souvenir stands. In High Line Park, I realized that it blended hints of recreation, preservation, and capitalism, three things that are not usually tied together.

Goldberger’s claims that the High Line was “strangely quiet” is actually the perfect way for me to describe what I felt as I walked along the old train tracks (Goldberger). There were hundreds of people everywhere, with cameras going off, people offering you things to buy, and children running and playing, but there was a sense of quietness as I walked. It seemed like I was able to simply zone out of what was going around me as far as people go, but zone in to what was going on around me in the sense of the surrounding area. It felt like I was alone, experiencing nature by myself, but in reality, I was surrounded by an uncountable number of voices.


Works Cited

1. Goldberger, Paul. “Miracle Above Manhattan.” National Geographic April 2011: 122-137. Print.