IMG_9153How many times over the past six summers have people suggested that we take a trip to a beach? Many. But we never did it, mostly because the nearest beach is an hour away from midtown, and the nearest nude beach is even farther, and we are sometimes very, very lazy. Why spend an hour on the Q train when you can just go to Central Park…?

The ocean, that’s why.

IMG_8826The ocean, the sand, the boardwalk…all the things that make Coney Island Coney Island. Let’s not forget the junk food. The rides and games, too.

IMG_8532So…we finally went. We went with our books, our sunscreen.

IMG_9075We went with our dogs.

IMG_8633We went with our wheelchair.

IMG_8949We went with our kids. (Yes, a few of us have kids!)

IMG_8725And what a happy, warm, delicious afternoon it was.

IMG_9148We spent most of the time on the sand, basking in a way that the grass of Central Park just doesn’t permit. Then some time cooling off in the ocean. Then back to the sand. The water. The sand.

IMG_9116IMG_9200IMG_9249IMG_9213IMG_9109Did we mention the junk food? At one point we made a hot dog run, giving up on Nathan’s because of the ridiculous lines there, but greatly enjoying the alternative fare at the stand known as Paul’s Daughter. (Mango slushie? Eh. Hand-cut French fries? Yes, please!)

IMG_9044What sort of reception did we get? No complaints, no visits from the police — unless you count this NYPD helicopter that hovered low over the shore. (We waved. It seemed to satisfy them.)

IMG_9086One dour-looking fellow appeared to be so fascinated by the sight of us that he hung around for several hours, staring at us creepily. But we didn’t let him bother us.

IMG_8990A number of women came by to congratulate us, thank us, or say they didn’t know it was legal to go topless — that always feels good, when we get the chance to educate people about their rights. One woman even took our info and swore she’d join up and come to future events. Who knows? Maybe she will.

And speaking of new members, we had one come out with us this time who is a terrifically talented manga artist, and she spent much of the afternoon sketching the rest of us.

IMG_8955IMG_8692IMG_8590She gave us permission to share the results:

Coney-Island-Beach-Jul-11-fullSo what’s next? Will we eventually get up the get-up-and-go to go all the way to Gunnison as a group? (Gunnison is the region’s only official nude beach, as far as we know.)

Maybe. We’ll see. But in the meantime we’re glad we finally got at least a taste of sun and sand. Even if only one of us was brave enough (briefly!) to go all the way…