Coney Island, Brooklyn and Jersey City

One of the places I had on my list to visit was Coney Island, and then we got to New York and I looked it up and didn’t fancy it any more. Then on a whim we decided to jump on the train and go, just to cross it off the list and I’m so glad we did.

There are the historic parts, like Nathan’s hot dog stand, which is mentioned in lots of websites about Coney Island. It is apparently the most famous hot dog stand in the world and there are restaurants everywhere and products in every supermarket – who knew?

I don’t eat hotdogs and I certainly couldn’t eat 75 of them which is the current male record. Well, perhaps if I took a year, I might get 75 down!

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Of course Coney Island is most famous for its fairground rides, and luckily this part was closed now or Mark may have dragged me onto something which would cause me to faint in fear – I know this because it’s been done before!


I’m happy to gawk though.IMG_0394

The nicest surprise was the beach and the fabulous boardwalk, which seemingly runs for miles in both directions. IMG_0388

I couldn’t make up my mind whether I was warm or cold, but I had Hélène’s jacket (it will always be her jacket in my mind, even though she gave it to me) to keep me warm. IMG_0392

We walked along the boardwalk to Brighton Beach and I noted with interest the surf lifesaving hut with the public restrooms next door. Very different from what we have in Australia.


Even though it’s a beautiful day, the beaches are now closed for the season and I believe you can get fined for swimming, so there was no-one in the water. I can’t begin to imagine what would happen if they closed the beaches in Australia – whatever the time of the year!IMG_0397

Brighton Beach is also known as Little Odessa as it has a big Russian and Ukranian population. We noticed that there was no English being spoken and all the newspapers were in Russian. Mark got a bit carried away with the fabulous fruit and vegetables that he bought in this supermarket which is housed in an old theatre.


The ticket booth is still in the foyer, and much of the decoration is still in evidence. Quite an interesting concept.


Back in Brooklyn and I finally found this store. It is the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co and it is full of superhero products.


I love that you can buy a tin of sand with these sorts of labels. I didn’t buy any, because, let’s face it, I could make my own! However, the best thing about this store is that in the room behind they run homework classes for underprivileged children and the takings from the shop support this. I did buy a superhero patch to sew on something.IMG_0412

I loved this bit of street art showing where we are staying.


Having visited the remnant of the Berlin Wall in Montréal I was determined to find the piece that is in the Financial District. Google maps led us on a merry chase but we finally found it. This section once stood  between Potsdamer Platz and Leipzig Platz.


These segments were not exposed to the Western outer wall, but were part of the inner wall that was designed to prevent  Germans from entering the heavily guarded death strip between the inner and outer walls.


I was quite happy that I’d found this section, but have just discovered that there are more pieces scattered around New York, at 520 Madison Avenue, outside the UN, in Ripley’s Believe it or not in Times Square, and at the Intrepid Museum. I guess we won’t be seeing them all!

Whilst we were cruising around the Financial District I was very taken with the reflection of the Freedom Tower on an adjacent building.


I was pleased to see the Sea Shepherd moored at the Brookfield Marina. Completely dwarfed by surrounding boats, but somehow presenting a much more powerful image. IMG_0439

We hadn’t heard about the Irish Hunger monument, but a woman in a coffee shop told Mark about it, and it was just round the corner from where we were so we scurried over. IMG_0440

All those golden strips contain messages such as the ones below. They were so fascinating to read, and were so forceful.IMG_0441

This is a most unusual monument – it has been built round a ruined stone house which we walked throughIMG_0442

and up and around onto a landscaped mound from the top of which we could see the high rise buildings. An interesting juxtaposition.IMG_0444

Whilst we were in the vicinity of the ferries, we decided to jump on one to Jersey City. I love the view back to Manhattan.


The Freedom Tower dominates the landscape. As it should!IMG_0454

A look to the left and I could see Hudson Yards, which is where The Vessel is, and where our son has managed the building and opening of a new store for Bluestone Lane, the company he works for. I mention this because he gave me a hard time for not putting it in my post on The Vessel! IMG_0458

We arrived at Jersey City and immediately noticed the 9/11 memorial. There were a lot of Jersey residents in the buildings on that terrible day, and the whole catastrophe would have unfolded before the eyes of anyone on the waterfront. I can’t even begin to imagine how it would have felt…IMG_0460

And, to keep Archie off my back, here is a sign announcing the opening of another of his stores. Apparently it was having a soft opening on the day we visited and he hasn’t forgiven us for not going there, although we didn’t know!

img_0459.jpegJersey City has an historic district and we worked hard to find it. The Post Office is nice.IMG_0462

I was rather taken with this street art and before I googled it, Mark, Archie and I had a stab at what it meant. I felt that the liberty of the people was under threat of being swamped, Mark and Archie both thought it was about immigration. We also asked Archie’s friend, Anna, what she thought and she had the same idea as I did. Interesting…

I googled it and it’s called The Jersey City Wave” by  Shepard Fairey and according to ( it depicts a tsunami-like wave rising over the water with the Statue of Liberty in the distance and is meant to represent the cultural renaissance sweeping through modern-day Jersey City, while also referencing its waterfront position. So, we were all completely wrong!


I like that street art can provide such interesting discussion and accommodate so many points of view!


12 thoughts on “Coney Island, Brooklyn and Jersey City

  1. Weren’t you supposed to be tired from your long train trip to Montréal? I wonder when you managed to explore all these fab sites! So happy and proud to see “our” denim Haori on the beach and I hope he behaves well! As for Archie’s shops, next time I go to NYC, I’ll make sure to drop by a Bluestone Lane café for a good one! 😉

    1. I did have a day off to decompress from our trip to Montréal! It would be great to go to a BL. There’s one in Hudson Yards, but if you let me know where you’re staying, I’ll let you know which is closest. It’s Australian style coffee, which appeals to us.

    1. Oh yes! They have Bluestone Lanes in lots of US cities – Archie was in Boston today supervising the building of a third one there. They do have good coffee. Thank you Andrea!

  2. Thanks so much for such a powerful post about a place that is so close to us, yet when written about by you takes on a much more powerful meaning. Little Odessa is a special place and the boardwalk is like something from a hollywood set , just wonderful. The Irish Hunger Museum is so enlightening, immigrants move to provide a life for their families and we all need to consider these things when rushing to calculate the financial impact on our resources. I learned that it takes a fresh pair of eyes to help us see what we are and what we have. Cheers to you and Mark for exploring it all. I cannot wait to try an Australian style coffee, this is new to me and I live for coffee, congrats yo Archie.

    1. Thank you so much Blanca! As an immigrant myself, I can attest to the fact that we consume more than we produce and therefore contribute positively to the economy of whatever country we finish up in. I am regretting not putting more about the Irish Hunger Memorial in my post. You must try a Bluestone Lane – there is one on 37th street in the garment district!

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