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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Goodbye, My Coney Island

    Being a Brooklyn girl, so many of my memories from my hometown come from Astroland. I used to know when summer came by looking out of Mark Twain Junior High School’s second floor window and seeing my favorite theme park come alive again every May. I had my first roller coaster ride on the ever-classic Cyclone at age nine. My cousin won me my very first teddy bear from one of the booths that boasted a ‘Big-Ass Prize.’ Not to mention, my very first concert was Sirenfest. My first parade? The Mermaid Parade.

    So many of my fondest memories come from cutting class with my friends and spending a day at Astroland. I’ve cheered for the Cyclones from atop the Wonder Wheel once a summer. And yet this August, I walked around the booths licking sugar from my funnel-caked fingers for what I sadly knew would be the last time. Perhaps these seem like little things, but all these little things play a huge role in making Brooklyn what it is — the Brooklyn that I grew up with, and the Brooklyn that I love.

    For the past few years, I’ve heard a lot of people say that Brooklyn just isn’t what it used to be. But still, no matter how Brooklyn once was, at least we still have the culture that Coney Island brings to Brooklyn — or at least we did until Sunday, September 7.

    It seems to me nothing short of a tragedy to lose such a huge part of Brooklyn’s culture. It’s been four years since I first heard whispers about Coney Island closing. Since then, Brooklynites and New Yorkers alike have rallied together to try to stop it. No matter what replaces Astroland, how can it compete with Astroland itself? No one has forgotten that this is where the first hot dog was born, that Astroland set the standard for theme parks across the country — that 50 years ago, people flocked from all over the country just to come to Coney Island. And thanks to all the supporters, we got another couple of years out of my personal favorite theme park.

    Unfortunately, it seems that luck is finally at an end. As of Sunday, Astroland closes its gates for good. I’m sure the students at Mark Twain next year will still look out hopefully, if only out of habit. But for the first time, Astroland won’t be there. The Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel will be, though — as very appropriate symbols of a time now past. It’s the end of an era, and I’m sure many Brooklynites right now are planning an emergency trip to Spumoni Gardens. Because honestly, after we lose Astroland, we have to appreciate what we have left.

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