There is something wonderful about Coney Island in the offseason. The train ride in is great, basically empty and peaceful. The only people walking around are locals. Everything that is Coney Island is there, just empty. There are smiling and whispering old ladies selling old clothing and old shoes. I seriously considered this silky fuchsia pajama top with gold embroidery, and was informed "everything 1 dollar," and she stuck her right index finger in the air to emphasize the price. Some other people were selling some other stuff, including cheap jewelry and old records (notables included Heart and Doug E Fresh). There were still a few people out on Surf Ave, the boardwalk, the pier and the beach.
If the thought of walking around endlessly with no particular agenda interests you, offseason Coney Island's a good place. There is so much space and it's good to come out of Brooklyn and finally see an open horizon. Out around the boardwalk I saw a lot of old people, a few inspriring joggers, a young couple going at it in the pavilion and some old men sitting around talking.
Around Nathan's are a bunch of boarded up summertime storefronts, some open businesses, all of them seemingly big on printing digital photos on mugs and shirts, and the Coney Island Museum, with its recording of a creepy pitchman calling out to no one.
Nathan's might as well be the Popeye's across the street. It devotes more space to pictures of cheeseburgers and chicken dinner combos than hotdogs. The interior of a random McDonald's offers more of a sense of continuity and history than Nathan's, which has outsmarted itself by being, as far as food and appearances are concerned, a normal fast food place. My hotdog was good, more like a sausage. My fries were good. Unlike everywhere else, Nathan's was still packed on this chilly and overcast late March afternoon.
Friendly service. One hotdog, one small fry, almost 5 dollars. A bit much.
At a mere 131 pounds, Takeru Kobayashi is the five time champion of Nathan's Famous hotdog eating contest, including 53 dogs in 2004 and 49 in 2005. You better recognize!!