I’m angrier than a beaver with a splinter in his tongue over all this talk about not using concrete on the Coney Island Boardwalk — and I’m not the only one! I can tell you right now that the thousands of three- and four-wheeled people that read this column religiously are being shortchanged by the insistence of a few dumb bipeds that we only use wood to keep the Boardwalk looking pretty.
Well, I got some news for you people: if it we’re up me, the Scara-Mix trucks would be pouring the cement posthaste!
And I’ve got a long, drawn-out story that explains why I am, as usual, righter than Glenn Beck! (And when I say “righter” in regards to Beck, I mean it in a ideological sense, not a “right-and-wrong” sense. Although when it comes to me, I would say I am right in a right-and-wrong sense, and left in a left-and-right sense. But I digress).
This past weekend Sharon and I spent a couple of days in Atlantic City, where we went on that famous Boardwalk to get one of my many favorite foods … Philadelphia pretzels from Ben and Jerry’s. Now you all know I’m a creature of habit, and that’s especially true when it comes to my Atlantic City jaunts … the first thing I do whenever I get there is pass “Go,” collect $200, and head to “BJs” to buy my 10 pretzels for about four bucks.
I know what you’re thinking: Carmine, what the heck are you going to do with 10 pretzels? The answer: eat them! Of course, even I can’t do that all at once — I’m not Takeru Kobayashi or Joey Chestnut or one of those high-speed, professional regurgitators, mind you (although some accuse me of having diarrhea of the mouth!). But those pit-bosses can be tight with the comps — even for a seasoned slot-jockey like yours truly — so I’ll keep the pretzels in Tornado’s satchel where one is always close by in case I get the urge to nosh (and that urge, as you’ve probably guessed, comes early and often).
I bring this to your attention because scooting the mile on Atlantic City’s BOARDwalk, (emphasis added) reminded me of the battle we’re having on Coney Island regarding the community’s objection to using concrete on our more famous Boardwalk.
Riding from the Taj to Bally’s, I was constantly avoiding boards that were a heck of a lot looser than the slots at the Borgata. You know, they say the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but those bad boards had me and Tornado zigzagging so much we looked like we were performing in on of those hoity-toity equestrian events! By the time we made it to Bally’s, we got a round of applause and a score of seven and a half from the judges!
And that’s why I think this “Ban the Conrete” madness has got to stop: because wood stinks!
That’s right, the city is right for finally having the guts to put in a patio on the sand so that guys like me can scoot up and down without worrying about getting a flat tire or, worse, a wooden plank slamming us in the face like we’re some kind of cartoon character stepping on a rake!
I’ve been riding up and down the Boardwalk for years, and I know for a fact its best days are behind it. Heck, you can’t even go underneath it anymore to almost taste the hot dogs and french fries they sell — because they filled it in!
Look, you all know I’ve got a soft spot for nostalgia, and I’ll be the first to tell you that I remember what it was like walking under a cool, damp Boardwalk, passing the young lovers making out in the sand, seeing the perverts looking up between the cracks to catch a fleeting glimpse, and the admiring the pool bathers going to and from their lockers to swim in the ocean. (Yeah! That’s right! I admired them! You think there is something wrong with that?!).
So I consider myself an expert on Coney Island’s wooden Boardwalk.
But you know something else? For over 60 years the city never kept its beaches clean, its toilets functioning, or its Boardwalk sound. Worse, the city never kept up with modern technology — its lifeguards still use whistles and rowboats instead of what I prefer: megaphones and helicopters with pontoons.
Hello! Welcome to the 20th century!
And here’s another word to the wise: do you see any hotels on our famous beach?
I can give you the answer in one word: heck no!
And it’s a crying shame.
You know why? Because unlike the ugly dunes that separate the boardwalk from the beach and ocean in Atlantic City, Coney Island actually is a very beautiful beach. It’s just too bad that our city fathers ignore it every summer while they fly off to the Caribbean and sadistically hinder transportation to our own beach. I guess for our mayor, it’s easier to take a plane then a bus! Message to Bloomberg: it ain’t for the rest of us!
Now’s the point in the column where I bring up something totally irrelevant because my friend asked me to writhe about it. (Wow, I just spelled out “writhe” instead of “write,” but I think I’m going to leave that in. Let me look it up … sold!).
I mentioned in last week’s column the great Gateway Great Kills boondoggle in Staten Island, where 200 acres of a park has been closed because a contaminated box of hospital waste was illegally dumped there when the park was — just like most of the Rock — a landfill. What the heck is going on there? Who are these bureaucrats who make such bad decisions?
Back to the Boardwalk: I ask you, who is more dangerous: environmentalists and publicity seeking activists that find loopholes to close free concerts because of noise and force the city to continue using wood on the Boardwalk when we all know that Roman-engineered concrete lasts longer than anything — even without upkeep from government agencies that don’t know their noses from their toeses.
So back up those cement trucks now!
Screech at you next week!