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Friday, April 12, 2013

The Old, the Odd, and the Overlooked

Some of my favorite experiences I’ve had while living here might not have started out as the first choice of activities for... well most people. While Coney Island, GMA’s Backstreet Boy’s Concert, and Roosevelt Island could be described by all three words for which this blog is entitled … I found some incredible treasures in each of these three experiences.

Coney Island

What could sound better than an ancient amusement park with each individual ride owned by a family of carneys that may or may not be able to guarantee the safety of their rides? … Everything! But I spent my 23rd Birthday in the delightful creepiness that is Coney Island – and it was amazing!

It didn’t help the eerie atmosphere that it was a slightly rainy day that day, which cast a dark gloom on the devilish smile of the amusement park logo. But Coney Island is a fairly cheap way to enjoy a bunch of fun and slightly dangerous rides! The first ride we went on, a dad was freaking out because his child’s safety bar was wide open and the ride was about to start. But no worries, the Coney Island folk got to it seconds before we took off! Where’s the fun in predictable safety codes?

Then there was another ride that was supposed to be a roller coaster resembling a horse race. We straddled the horse like any professional jockey would, but when the safety bar pressed against our lower backs and locked in – all of a sudden we were sitting in the most awkward position imaginable, as if the ride was originally made for a velociraptor.    

We ended our incredibly unique amusement park experience with a few carnival games, a candy apple, and a hot dog from the infamous “Nathan’s”, which hosts the world hot dog eating competition.

GMA Backstreet Boy Concert

Every summer, Good Morning America hosts a number of free concerts in Central Park for their morning shows. Well it just so happened I had moved to New York right in time for the Backstreet Boys special. Only catch? You had to get to the park around 4 AM. Not very many of my friends were willing to do this on a weekday/workday, but one thing I’ve learned is don’t let the fact that no one can go with you – stop you! You can make friends when you get there!

So as I sleepily stumbled into the park, I got to enjoy sunrise with hundreds of people, in a line twisting all the way back through half of the park. I shared stories with the fellow line waiters about our backstreet boy fandom way back when. One mom brought her 5-year-old son, who was disappointed this wasn’t a One Direction concert and that the Backstreet Boys were … Old.

After a few hours the line got moving and (another perk of doing things solo) I somehow managed to squeeze into the 4th or 5th row! The Backstreet Boys came out and gave us all bagels before the show started, and I spent the following hour singing every single word to every single song with hundreds of strangers. Best. Day. EVER!

Roosevelt Island

The last odd and overlooked treasure I found in New York was a little slice of an island called Roosevelt. It stands like a little strip of bacon between Manhattan and Brooklyn, and isn’t really known for much. But I LOVED this place!

We would play our weekly work kick ball games on this island, and on the warm days, it became a relaxing outdoor escape from the city. Playing kickball in green grass with the bridge and the city skyline as your view, what more could you ask for!

Oh I can think of one more thing… Bill Murray! We totally missed him, but apparently Bill Murray came wandering over to Roosevelt Island, asked for directions, played a few innings of kickball with one of the teams, and peaced out! How completely random! Just like this island!

The best part is taking the Roosevelt Island cable car back to Manhattan, where you can get a birds eye view of the East River in all it’s glory.  

Just because it's old or odd - just means it's probably just overlooked!

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