But the warm summer breezes, those French wines and cheeses
Put his ambitions at bay
The summers and winters scattered like splinters
And four or five years slipped away
Excerpt from a Jimmy Buffet tune by the name of He Went to Paris.
I pretty much grew up under the shadow of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and while the majority of my time was spent hanging out on street corners I can still recall with a certain fondness the hot and steamy days of summer when me and my crew would hop on our Shwinn’s and take off from the the 69th Street Pier for a little bike ride out to Coney Island.
Luckily for us our little excursions didn’t take us through the twisted and tangled streets of Brooklyn. No, the civil engineers were thoughtful enough to build the residents of our fair city a bicycle path that ran adjacent to the Belt Parkway and was fenced off from anything other than bicycles or foot traffic.
All in all I think it was about a fifteen mile roundtrip. Every now and then you’d sniff a cool breeze off the ocean and if it was windy enough maybe even catch some spray of some salt water if the waves were big enough. Along the route you’d see cluster of people fishing off the side and you’d stop to admire their catch or commiserate with them if their buckets were empty. About halfway through the trip we’d stop by a hillside and eat lunch before resuming our journey. We knew when we were getting close to our destination when we arrived at Nellie Bly amusement park and would stop for awhile to try our luck at the batting cages.
From there, the next stop would be Coney Island where we’d ride the rides and dine at Nathan’s before making our way back home. All in all, it was a nice way of killing off a summer day.
The path itself was nothing fancy but the scenery and view it provided has given me a lifetime of memories to cherish.
Sometimes I wish I could just go back in time and relive them.