Last night, I hopped the F train to Coney Island. The train from Park Slope took about half an hour to reach Coney; as we got closer, I looked up from my book and out the window. We were on elevated track by that point, and I was delighted to see the lights of the carnival pass by the window as we arrived at the station. When I saw Nathan’s all lit up, I actually got a little excited. Their hot dogs aren’t any better than any others I’ve had (although I’ll confess that being in New York has taught me to love a frank topped with sauteed onions), but the lemonade was good.

I arrived late, a little after nine. I had plans to meet Lauren and Todd in front of Nathan’s. They arrived shortly after I did, and we met Lauren’s friend Stacey. We then headed up to the boardwalk to watch the fireworks and track down Janet, visiting from California. Todd was the only one who’d met Janet, so he watched out for her and shouted when he saw her pass by.

Burlesque was the order of business. Coney has a weekly burlesque show on Friday nights during summer. Lauren and Janet, being at heart horndogs, were all about the burlesque. Not that I had to be dragged in screaming, mind. The setup was a gameshow–This or That–in which audience members are enlisted as “contestants”. They answer sex trivia questions, and have to guess which curtain holds the most luscious dancer–Let’s Make a Deal on hormone therapy. Janet answered the call for a pie-eating contest. Vying against five other contestants, she won handily. For her trouble, she received a butt plug from the night’s sponsors, Toys in Babeland.

Of course, the real attraction was the near-naked women, and they were certainly on display. Tassles–one swinging this way, one swinging that. Pasties. Thongs. A crocodile woman came out to battle against a Mexican wrestler. Of course, they began the bout fully dressed but that didn’t last long. The Mexican wrestler won, but was soon challenged to another bout by “Suzie Sukiyaki” who’d come to Coney Island to claim it for her corporate masters at Tokyo Disneyland. (Disney’s expressed interest in buying out Coney Island and Disneyfying it. Given Coney’s long history of seedy entertainment, most long-timers are outraged. Can’t blame ’em.) Poor Suzie. When the wrestler ripped off Suzie’s costume, one of her pasties came off with it. The crowd hooted and stomped at the site of bare nipple.

Rowdy, fun, vaguely sleazy. The auditorium is stuffy and not air-conditioned. With last night’s temperature dropping no lower than 82, the mercury inside must have reached 95. Sweat just fountained from everyone in the room. In the end, I think it might have added to the atmosphere. When we came back after intermission, we sat up at the top of the bleacher seats and we all got a little giddy from the heat. We whooped it up and shouted until hoarse.

I’ll tell ya…there’s something about this city.


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