>After my assisted act of daring do, Friends, Husband, and I headed over to Totonno’s, a delicious pizza place that has been in Coney Island for over 75 years. As we strolled over to Neptune Avenue, a few blocks but a whole world away from the boardwalk with a different type of freak show all its own, four young men burst out of a corner convenient store, knocking over a clothing rack that was designed to lure customers in after seeing the bargains to be had. The owner of the shop followed a few seconds later. He ran around the corner after the boys, shaking a box of Aim toothpaste at them and yelling, “I know your faces! Don’t think I don’t know who you are!”

Instead of changing our route, like idiots we continued along our merry way. Soon we had caught up with the boys, who had stopped running in some pathetic effort to pretend that they had not, just in fact, shoplifted from the convenience store. They kept shouting over their shoulder to the store owner that they did not know what he was talking about while unloading merchandise from their pants and throwing the packaging under parked cars. Then another guy began yelling at them from back on the corner, and I started wondering what the hell we were thinking. Friends’ baby was with us, but Husband was merely sauntering along as if we were taking a leisurely walk in the country, surrounded by pretty grass and flowers. Neither of them seemed to notice the brouhaha unfolding around us.

In the end, my other friend and I circled the wagons (OK, the stroller) and of course all was fine. Since we uneasily paid no attention to the hooligans to our left, they uneasily returned the favor, and all was fine. We arrived at Totonno’s and enjoyed our pizza immensely.

After lunch, we walked down Surf Avenue and the boardwalk to Brighton Beach, which is yet a third world within a one mile radius. Old and young Russians filled the benches and restaurants along the boardwalk. I’d never been to Brighton Beach before, and when we ventured away from the boardwalk into the heart of the area to meet up with Friend’s uncle, aunt, and cousin, I looked a bit like a swivel headed doll as I turned my head to take in the sights and sounds. It was totally fascinating, but as we had been wandering around for hours at that point, Husband and I were exhausted and headed to the subway (although it is not underground, but elevated, in this part of Brooklyn) for the hour long ride home.

I can’t wait to go back. Who’s with me?

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