Coney Island and the American Dream

Pick something about New York City that intrigues or excites you and describe why.

“Look!” I exclaimed as I wildly waved my bucket and spade in the air, “Mom, look at the sandcastle I made!”

My mother let out an amused chuckle. “Interesting, but what else can you make?” she asked with a twinkle in her almond brown eyes.

“I can make footprints in the sand!” I declared as I wriggled my toes into the warm sand. I gazed out across the horizon, which was edged with a silver tint where the sea met the sky. The opera of the ocean threatened to pull me away like a treacherous riptide. Vendors on the beach sold hot dogs and ice cream. A couple of teenagers were playing frisbee. Meanwhile, on the boardwalk, couples strolled hand in hand. Occasionally, they stopped to snap a photo or kiss. From time to time, police officers patrolled the area and ensured that everything was in compliance with the regulations.

Nestled in the southernmost part of Brooklyn, Coney Island is a place where I spent most of my childhood summers. Unfortunately, I have not visited Coney Island with my family since we moved from Brooklyn to suburban Queens. What had been a ten minute drive is now a forty minute drive. My parents saw no need to make that sacrifice every week during the summer months. “Just go to a pool if you want to swim,” they said.

However, I have not forgotten about Coney Island. This urban beach resort was my escape from an industrialized life in which strict societal codes of conduct were expected.

Recently, I visited Coney Island again. I marveled at the new Luna Park that had been constructed. Everything was a blur of color and screams ripping through the air. Once again, I was reminded why Coney Island is commonly called “America’s Playground.”

Coney Island has always been an anchor for me. It allowed me to forget about all my worries, even if only for a moment. In New York City, endless opportunities, including internships, study abroad programs, and more, await me.

When the high tide surges onto the sand, everyone packs up their things and washes off the sticky sand. Mother Nature swoops in and conquers the beach until the next day. No matter what, I will always recognize the pungent tang of the sea salt and sway to the rhythm of the sea breeze. My mother once asked me, “Well, what else can you make?” I realized what it was. I can make the American Dream possible. I can, and I will, make my own footprints in the sand.

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