We left Carroll Gardens on the F, riding the rails that rise above it all.
Looking down we could see the snowed-in streets.
Thirty minutes later, we were at Coney Island. The boardwalk was under snow.
The Russians were out in full force.
The rides lay quiet and loud.
The loops like monsters in the impeccable winter sky.
The Parachute Jump's last jump was in 1968. It was moved to Coney Island in 1941 from the World's Fair site in Queens.
The beach was chilly.
The Russians were equipped.
Full moon, low tide and snow on the beach.
We turned around and headed back.
This man held out an old camera and asked to have his photo taken by the Frenchman, who did so before beating a hasty retreat. But then I stopped and asked to take his picture. He was happy to pose. What is your animal? I asked. A sea rabbit, he said, wagging its mermaid tail. Oh, I said. And where are you both off to? I asked. We're just going to buy some groceries, he said. Ah, I said. And what do sea rabbits eat? I asked.
Seaweed, he said.
Winter is the best time to see Coney Island. Cold, blue, brief.
None of the hordes of summer, when the sky is a white-out haze.
I meant to get a hot dog at Nathan's but we weren't hungry enough, and passed by.
Plenty of digging was still going on.
But the world was melting fast.
We rode home.
Above the last open spaces near the Gowanus, where cement trucks lay dreaming of construction jobs to come.