This past weekend, Alex and I went to the 31st Annual Blessing of the Rides down at Coney Island. Normally, this takes place on Palm Sunday, but there was talk about a huge storm that day. So the even was postponed until the next weekend, and the fabled storm never actually happened. Typical.
Cerimonial cutting of the ribbon to Wonder Wheel Park
There was a quiet sadness about the blessing this year, as Paster Debbe Santiago of Coney Island’s Salt and Sea mission, the woman who started the blessing 31 years ago had passed away recently. Pastor Debbe started this tradition with Denos D. Vourderis, the patriarch of the Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park. It was really beautiful as everyone joined together on the Boardwalk in remembrance of this woman and the work she did for the community. A ton of amazing people came down to celebrate Pastor Debbe’s life, including Senator Chuck Schumer who showed up on his bike for the celebrations. The rides were blessed, and the ribbon cut to celebrate the 96th year the Wonder Wheel has been in action.
Way in the back you can see Chuck Schumer in his track suit. Classy guy.
Part of the celebration was to allow the first 96 people a free ride on the Wonder Wheel. In an earlier post, I joked that Alex rides the Cyclone and I hold her purse and watch. This statement is also mostly true of the Wonder Wheel. I don’t care for it. It has scary, swinging baskets that make me cry. But, as it was a special day, I got on the damn thing. Waiting in line, Alex said maybe today can be the day that I ride the Cyclone with her, but after seeing me have a panic attack on a Ferris Wheel, she quickly changed her tune. It was super embarrassing. Even the toddlers sitting in the basket in front of us thought I was being a little girl. (Later that day, Alex called my brother to make sure he knew the full extent of my humiliation and he said “wow, Jonathan. You are a macho, MACHO man.”)
Losing it. I believe I was telling Alex to get the friggin camera out of my face
After getting off the kiddy ride, I dried my eyes and we spent the rest of the day wandering around Coney Island. I got my first hot dog of the season, we checked in with our best friend, Mr. Strange of Coney Island USA, and went to see our buddies down at Peggy O’Neil’s who are going through some exciting changes of their own. As of May, Peggy O’Neil’s will be known as Steeplechase Beer Garden, in honor of the amazing amusement park that used to be where MCU Stadium is now.
Me n’ Mr. Strange!
First hot dog of the season
The day was solemn, scary, embarrassing, but mostly a ton of fun. We are so excited that Coney Island is now officially open for business, and we have already started to book tours. Come on down and join us for a tour, but don’t forget your sunscreen because I totally got a sunburn on my face this weekend. In March. What the hell?