One of the perks of working at an amusement park is being able to experience other parks and call it “work”. This weekend I made my way to Coney Island to take in some American history at what many consider the birthplace of modern amusements. I got to take a ride on the historical Cyclone Coaster (it was a much smoother ride than I was warned about), see the old parachute jump, and eat lunch at the original Nathans Famous Hotdogs. Though these things were enjoyable, there was something else that really caught my attention making this experience something special. The truth is that the park is old, the rides make some interesting noises, and there’s an abundance of stains on the sidewalk and trash on the ground, there was no one walking around wearing a big fake smile and game operators had no problem calling you out for looking funny or not making a stop at their stands, but all this just added to the incredible character the place has and gave some depth to the vast amount of culture that was present. The park seemed to have layers and layers of history, art, and technology. It is a melting pot of different people and the rebuilt boardwalk was crawling with characters on the their bikes, walking their dogs, dancing, singing and enjoying a day of fun in the sun with their family and friends. It was incredibly real; no glitz no glamour, no themes, no fronts, just plain old true and honest fun and I absolutely loved that about it! It is definitely a place everyone should experience at least once and I am glad I made it there this summer.