The C train slowly emptied as we crept east away from Manhattan. Consumed by my book, Let My People Go Surfing, I lost track of the stops. Forty five minutes after leaving Columbus Circle, the C emerged from a tunnel into residential Brooklyn.
Distracted by the changing scenery and influx of light, I started reading the same sentences over and over again. Taking this as a hint, I zipped my book back into my backpack and focused on the new surroundings. The "Kuchunk Chunk Chunk," of the subway zipping eastward punctuated Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer" as I looked back at the retreating Manhattan skyline.
I had left Midtown wearing an RRL flannel shirt, and the weather here felt different from the microclimate of Manhattan. Unimpeded by hundreds of skyscrapers, the wind whistled around the occasional concrete building and group of trees. After a few moments of shivering, I pulled a sweater from pack and started for the beach.
C to the S.
It's not hard, not far to reach...
The beach was deserted, save for a handful of surfers catching waves around the 89th Street jetty. After chatting with two surfers jumping into their wetsuits about the water and the waves, I headed down the beach, meandering towards Coney Island.
The deserted beach and biting wind instantly reminded me of my time spent wandering the beaches of Popham and Reed State parks in Maine. The roar of a jet taking off from nearby JFK brought me back from my daydreams. My frigid hands and the sand in my shoes sufficiently satisfied my desire to leave the city on an adventure.
As the sun sank towards the horizon, I walked back to the station and caught the lumbering S train into Manhattan. I can't think of a more enjoyable way to spend five dollars than on two MTA tickets to and from Rockaway Beach.