Brighton Beach / Coney Island | Day 1 | 2 April 2023

For the past few weeks, I was planning a surprise trip for David. He only knew we were going to New York, but he really had no idea where in New York we were going.

He’s not a morning person, but on Sunday he got up at 10 AM, and after a few photos under my blossoming Japanese maple tree, we were on our way by 11 AM.

When we were on the Turnpike, David asked where we were actually going. I decided to let him in on the surprise and I told him, “Brighton Beach and Coney Island!” David smiled and he was really surprised. His birthday is 26 April and it was an early birthday surprise.

We arrived at our Air BNB in Coney Island at 2 PM and Norbert let us check in early. I knew David was a bit tired from driving, especially since the highways into NYC were narrow and his anxiety was amped, so we had the gluten-free lunch I made and relaxed for a couple of hours. Norbert’s condo was beautiful and our room was really nice. Norbert and his wife were also friendly and welcoming.

It was sunny and 52 degrees Fahrenheit in Coney Island. Luna Park had a test run this past weekend and I took David to the amusement park. He didn’t feel like riding the rides since it was still too chilly for him, but he enjoyed walking around. Most of the roller coasters were opened and I’m not a fan of roller coasters. I only rode the swings and that was fun. David took pictures and videos of me riding those swings. After that ride, I brought my dad’s film camera (1980 Olympus) and I took photos of Luna Park. I asked the security guard if he could get a photo of us, which he did. His girlfriend was visiting and she asked me if I could take a photo of them. We exchanged Instagram accounts, and I told her the film photos would be available in a few weeks since they have to get developed. I picked up the film photos last Friday and sent her the photo.

After I took photos, we explored Luna Park some more. David knew I wanted to get photo booth photos and he spotted a photo booth, pointing it out to me. Sadly, the photo booth wasn’t turned on yet. Not every ride was opened either. I was disappointed, but there would be other opportunities. There was a cool mural in the park and David took some photos of me with my cellphone. I asked a young woman if she could take a photo of us next to this mural and she took a few. David and I thought that mural looked cool.

That was a fun hour and we spent another hour on the beach. It truly was a beautiful day and I managed to catch some rays. David and I walked around the beach, took some photos, and relaxed a bit. He thought it was peaceful.

Sunday night was gluten-free Ramen night. There was a Burmese restaurant, Rangoon, in Park Slope and David drove. It was about a 20 minute drive and the view of the sun setting behind the Verazano Bridge was gorgeous. Rangoon was delicious and when we go back in the summer, David is going to bring Erich with us. He thinks Erich would enjoy this spot. I ordered a glass noodle fish stew and David ordered a pork noodle. We were stuffed at the end, and our oysters didn’t come out until check out. We took them to go, along with a rice pudding I would have on Monday for breakfast.

I wanted to take David to Brooklyn Heights Promenade and that was our last stop before going back to our Air BNB in Coney Island. The view from Brooklyn Heights was breathtaking. I left my tripod in David’s car, but I found someone to take our photo. The tourist struggled with my camera a bit and his friend took videos of him struggling. I walked him through using my camera again and eventually we able to take a few photos of us. I thanked him. Another tourist walked by and I handed her my phone. Before we headed back to Coney Island, we sat and admired the sights, we meditated and the air was nice and cool.

Unfortunately, when we got back to our Air BNB, our room was hot. Norbert’s condo doesn’t have central heat or air, he has radiators. I’m not sure if other guests were cold and jacked up the heat, but our room was uncomfortable. David opened the windows and we were able to sleep after we watched Seven Deadly Sins on Netflix.

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Creator of the Happiness Box Project Initiative, a project where you write your happiness or gratitude each day, then open the box in the New Year. The Initiative is to teach joy and gratitude, to pass it on to others.

One thought on “Brighton Beach / Coney Island | Day 1 | 2 April 2023”

  1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

    I’m happy to see these pictures of bliss and read your “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” dear friend! I don’t know about David, but I would be excited if you broke the news that we were going to BB and Coney Island. I last visited NYC in the summer of 1983 and it was a horrible experience walking through the city with skyscrapers on both sides of the street trapping the extreme stifling heat that followed you everywhere. Out on the boardwalk and beach you guys enjoyed the clean, fresh breeze coming in and a sense of fun and freedom.

    I love the pics you took using your dad’s old film camera! They look like they were taken in the mid 20th century or even earlier. They are instantly Happiness Box worthy. That is indeed an awesome mural rising up behind you and David, a great photo op. I’m glad David found peace and serenity on the beach and gazing at the sunset with you. Those images taken from Brooklyn Heights of the city skyline at night are spectacular.

    It was a long day that lasted into the night, and you and David were no doubt tired but happy as you returned to the Air BNB, opened the window for fresh cool air and got some much needed sleep.

    Thanks for letting me be tag along on this delightful trip, dear friend JM!


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