THE COCK ALSO RISES II: COMING ON CONEY

coney

Coney Island would make a perfect home for the cock. The place is a snapshot of a ghost world slowly being dismantled and left on the trash heap of American culture. It’s a chintzy, gritty spot characterized by an abundance of cheap, deep-fried food, public drinking, rickety rides that would barely pass a safety inspection, alcoholic carnies and their impossible-to-win carnival games, making it a bizarro world far removed from Disneyland and Busch Gardens. Whereas those horrific turds are geared specifically to sell you on a wholesome, child-friendly day where you spend hundreds of dollars on absolute shit, Coney drops the pretenses and invites you in to get down with the underbelly of the American Dream. While Las Vegas has been stripped of its dangerous charm to be replaced by family-friendly swill — save for the ever-deteriorating downtown area — Coney wears its politically incorrect, subversive, stained-with-100-years-of-grease-and-grime heart on its sleeve. And it’s disappearing before our eyes like a slowly dissolving mirage.

Reminiscent of all that is dangerous and loveable about America, Coney exemplifies the thrill of a country run by people who don’t want to pay taxes. The rides are barely safe, the food will put 10 pounds on you just looking at it, the people are shady, the booze is cheap, and the humor is deliciously lowbrow. It’s the home of the original Nathan’s, Shoot the Freak, burlesque performances and sideshow freaks, and harkens back to a time before Walt Disney and his pig-fucking cronies decided to spend the last 60 years trying to take away cheap, good times in America.

There was a time when Coney Island was at the pinnacle of worldwide fame. Springing up from the beach in the 1880s, Coney became one of premier beach resorts in the world and was later referred to as a middle-class haven in numerous Woody Allen films. It’s where Groucho Marx first appeared on stage, where Vaudeville actually was, for fuck’s sake. Beginning in 1949, Robert Moses — one of the biggest assholes to ever abuse the power of eminent domain and the very reason why liberals and conservatives alike fear it — utterly destroyed Coney to fulfill his vision of a futuristic metropolis.

Rezoning the area for residential construction, Moses moved the Boardwalk back from the beach and destroyed blocks of amusement park rides and concession stands, thus driving out numerous small-business owners — the very people who lived in the neighborhoods that surrounded the park. He replaced the color and character with gigantic subsidized high-rises and vacant lots that were never used, then demolished the popular municipal bathhouse and replaced it with an aquarium and ice skating rink. In one fell swoop, he created an environment that allowed the area to degenerate from a self-sufficient tourist center into a cesspool of poverty and unemployment by the early 1960s.

Overrun by junkies, gangs and homeless people in the 70s, Coney Island further degenerated into a run-down version of the leisurely American Dream. It was a dangerous and dirty place that gave away glimpses of a once-glorious past. The Wonder Wheel, The Cyclone, bumper cars, merry-go-rounds, outdated video games, The Tilt-a-Whirl, haunted houses, passed-out bums and junkies under the pier, and cops looking the other way gave the place a glorious low-grade outlaw persona.
But with gentrification sweeping New York and developers circling the surrounding neighborhoods like buzzards, Coney Island as we know it is seeing its last days. The area has been bought up by development mogul Joe Sitt of Thor Equities, and though it has secured one more year of operation, Astroland (the last amusement park left on the site) is officially on its way out. So it’s fitting that Lev, myself and the cock swooped in for the annual Village Voice Siren Festival (an orgy of rock bands and alcoholic hipsters) to bid farewell to a landmark known as much for insulting the status quo as providing everyone with a vulgar example of life in America.

Lev showed up at the house around one-ish, and both of us were nursing vicious hangovers. As soon as we lugged the cock downstairs and onto the street, we were approached from behind by a man on a bike in dolphin shorts asking in a pronounced lisp — procured from summering at Fire Island and sucking enough cock to make Freddy Mercury jealous — “Hey, fellas, do you need some help carrying your friend?” Both of us about lost our minds horghing and kept walking, but the man persisted. “I’m really good with wood,” he insisted. “I’m sure you are,” Lev answered, before shaking his head and looking at me as if he were about to shit himself in utter disbelief.

Things did not get much better on the train. It was full of families and hipsters. Within seconds, a crazy Puerto Rican man accosted us. “Yo, B, what’s up with the dick?” he asked as his wife covered their child’s eyes. “Yo, man, that’s like the craziest shit I’ve ever seen. I mean, I’m hung, but fuck, homes, that thing is crazy. If I had that thing, I’d hang it on my wall like over a fireplace so all my homeys could see it and know that, hey, I got a big dick!” His wife, all of maybe 23, sat there covering her face as her boyfriend, drunk before noon, kept touching the cock and lovingly stroking it like a pet. “Man, this is the most amazing shit I ever seen, B. Yo, let me get a picture with it.” So in front of a train full of giggling hipsters, a drunken Puerto Rican hugged the cock with all his might and made his baby-mama snap a shot of him as he yelled, “Yo, baby, I’m gonna give you some of this tonight!” as a horde of a hipsters made snide remarks behind his back.

When we reached the Stillwell stop at Coney, we traded off carrying the beast down the ramp to the street where we passed by a phalanx of staring, silent police officers. Women pulled their children closer while bums hooted and hollered approval. Feeling as though we had run a gantlet, we went straight to the bar on the corner near the Cyclone.

For the uninitiated, Coney is still one of the few places in American where you can wander around with an open container and not be harassed by the police. However, it’s usually crowds of Italians, Puerto Ricans, Russians and bums wandering the boardwalk sipping vodka or Polish beers while they warily stay away from the polluted water. On this day, however, it’s a mob of dickless hipsters with poorly rendered Sailor Jerry tattoos, wearing size-4 girls’ jeans, cowboy boots, intricate facial hair, large belt buckles and the pained expressions of the hopelessly self-important, pretentious artistes who insist they’re going to open the next Vice, and whose girlfriends pay the bills, weigh more than they do and support both of their incredible coke habits with personal-assistant jobs and blowing the boss for extra cash. In the heart of this maelstrom, Lev and I saw Hell on Earth, cringed and decided to steel ourselves for the day with enough alcohol for 20 people.

As we sat at a picnic bench near the front of the park, no less than 30 different sets of people dropped by to say hello and have their pictures taken with the cock. We made them a deal — they could take a picture if we could take one. Not one person said no, and we began to feel better. “I don’t think anyone’s going to kill us,” Lev said. “I swear, this thing is a good luck charm.” Almost immediately after he said that, we saw a line of about 20 cops gather about 15-feet from us. Both of us did all we could to ignore the gathering mob of police officers, but we figured that if we were going down, we were going down swinging. As random people passed by and had their pictures taken, I chugged my umpteenth 20-ounce cup of bee, and tugged on the sleeve of a cop who was walking by us carrying an ice cream cone and a Coke. He was big, black, weighed about 300 pounds, his pants were drooping, and he was wearing standard-issue cop mirrored aviator sunglasses. He turned, looked at me like a giant bear that had been bothered while he was eating a pile of salmon. I said, “Hey, can we get a picture of you and your friends with the cock?” He looked at it, dipped his head so his eyes were clear and bright above his sunglasses, laughed and said, “No fucking way.” He then walked off with his partner toward the Cyclone where a group of women were gathering to get on the ride. I looked over at the line of cops, and the whole lot of them were horghing and pointing us. A wave of relief washed over us as we realized that no one’s going to fuck with us here. Flush with confidence, we headed into the crowd armed with a four-foot cock and bellies full of cu-, I mean beer.

Lev picked the bastard up and hoisted it over his shoulder as we dove into the crowd. It was a sweaty, drunken, smoky mix of tattooed and pierced flesh that extended about halfway up the block past the 15 chemical toilets with lines 20 people deep, and as we traveled into the mob’s heart, we were met with hoots and hollers of approval. Carrying the leviathan on his shoulder like Paul Bunyan carrying a redwood, Lev was stopped every five feet as people insisted on posing and taking photographs with the cock or just touching it and commenting on its lifelike cast. At one point, Lev was surrounded by a group of girls who were giggling, horghing and mobbing the dick. At one pointkthe thing was almost knocked off his shoulder as people reached out to touch it as if it were the dead body of an Islamic militant in the heart of Palestine.

c7

As we wound our way through the crowd, Lev had to navigate his way around a couple of idiot hipsters who had decided that sitting down in the middle of mass of people was a good idea. As he twisted his body, the cock smacked a girl square in the face, causing her impish bitch of a boyfriend to come unglued.

“What the fuck are you doing, man? You hit my girlfriend in the face!” he said. Lev just shrugged and mumbled, “Sorry,” and asked if he could pass through. Livid with disgust, the hipster stood up and said, “No, you can’t fucking go through, you just hit my girl in the face!” Lev pressed forward, brushing the putz aside like a sunflower stalk and the guy tried to grab at him yelling, “Where the fuck are you going?” in a high-pitched girly voice.

As we exited the mob, we found ourselves in the middle of the Astroland amusement park. The place was filled with old punk rockers and their children who totally nonplussed and unimpressed. Immediately we felt at ease and headed toward the boardwalk. Just as we reached the ramp that led up, we were forcibly pulled into a tchotchke tent where no less than a dozen black girls molested the cock. Dancing around it as if it were golden calf, they jumped on it pretending to fuck it, suck it, and lick it, drooled on it, dry-humped it, freaked it, kissed it and begged us to let them keep it.

c8

Somehow we made it out to the other side of the stage on the boardwalk and headed for a bar a little ways up. Once inside, people began breaking out in horghing and high-fiving us as we made our way to the bartenders. One woman practically jumped at and hugged it like a long-lost love. As we staggered away from the bar, we found exactly what we were looking for — recliners flanked by end tables with a giant coffee table in front of them. We set the cock between the chairs, and armed with large mugs of beer, we collapsed into the recliners and put our feet up to people watch.

About an hour later, we decided we had to hit the boardwalk before it got dark. Then I came up with the genius idea of trying to get backstage. As we stood near a burger stand, I told Lev that maybe I could get the New York Dolls to pose with it, but seeing as how we were barely able to walk, I figured what the fuck, we had nothing to lose. The worst they could say was no, right? We marched right over to the backstage entrance and we tried every trick in the book. I tried talking to the show promoter whom I did a favor for last year and begged her to put us on her list. She said no, because not only was I completely bombed and practically falling into her tits, but she also had her list filled. So I pulled out press credentials from ABC, explained that the bands would go apeshit for the dick, that it would make the perfect accoutrement to the stage decorations, that Buster Poindexter would hump the fucker on stage; all was to no avail. To his credit, the doorman was cool, very sweet, polite and firm in telling my drunk ass no. And as the very large black bouncers doubled over in horghing from watching this bizarre scene, he left me with this chestnut; if we had called ahead of time, we could have gotten press passes in a flash.

Note to self: Make a phone call next time you go on a journey where there will be 20,000 screaming, tattooed drunks. With a four-foot-tall wooden cock in hand, you can get anything you want with just a little pre-planning.

c10

So we headed back onto the boardwalk where a guy was playing electric guitar out of portable amplifiers. Lev set the cock down in the middle of the circle that was surrounding the guy and the guitarist immediately went over to at began to dry hump while he ripped off some licks. We moved on and headed back to our first drinking spot and sat on the picnic benches. Out of nowhere, were accosted by a gaggle of lesbians who began to writhe around it, pose with it, lick it and stroke it. At this point, I reached for camera and realized, to my horror, that I lost it. As a racked my brain, I realized that there were only two possible locations it could be in — the bar back up on the boardwalk or a chemical toilet over by the Cyclone. When I told Lev, he asked me with no irony in his voice if I was going to fish it out of the shitter.

Before long it was back to the boardwalk bar for more boozing. We figured that since the sun was going down, we should at least go out with a bang and drink as much hard liquor as we could force down our gullets. Up at the boardwalk, the cock made a lot more friends, and before long, we had a small group of people added to our journey. At some point, someone suggested taking it on the Wonder Wheel, which prompted howls from the entire crew of buffoons.

After steeling ourselves, we marched over to the Wonder Wheel to give the cock a grand view of Brooklyn. At the ticket booth a gap-toothed black peered out from behind his cash cage and broke down horghing when I asked for six tickets, one of which was for the cock. Once on line, we realized the imminent danger we were in. The place was full of parents, and they were not happy. Their children were looking at the cock with wide-eyed fascination, and one woman actually shielded her child’s eyes from the sight of the noble beast.

As we reached the head of the line, accompanied by snickers and peals of horghing from groups of teenagers, the ride operators went completely crazy. To my left, I heard a gruff voice scream, “Get that fucking thing away from those fucking kids!” Before we knew it, there was an angry, drunken carnie with a handlebar mustache who reeked of Aqua Velva, Old Crow whiskey and Basic cigarettes an inch from my face, bellowing, “You’re not getting on with that thing!”

“Hey,” I said. “It’s got a ticket. I paid, I’m getting on.” Turning red with rage and the chords on his neck standing out like suspension bridge cables he grabbed my shoulder and screamed, “No fucking way are you bringing a giant dick onto this ride with all these kids here!” At this point, utter chaos ensued. Carnies came leaping over the metal ralings and charging towards us like a bunch of inebriated gorillas. Lev was facing down one carnie who was screaming profanities in his face while I had “the boss” lecturing me at 120 decibels while four of their buddies stood behind them sucking in their guts and thrusting their chests out.

“Look,” I explained, “it’s just a piece of wood. I don’t know what you’re getting so worked up about. I mean, we’re paying customers, we’re not causing any trouble, we just want to ride the ferris wheel.”

“The fuck you are,” the boss screamed. “You fucking assholes are not getting on this ride with that disgusting thing, you piece of shit. And who sold you a ticket?!” With that, the boss carnie turned and looked over his left shoulder where the ticket booth guy was standing and quietly chuckling. “Why in the fuck did you sell this asshole a ticket? What the fuck is wrong with you?!,” he yelled. As the boss threatened to fire the ticket taker, who began horghing hysterically, another carnie came over and jammed a wad of money in my hand and the five of the began pushing us out toward the sidewalk and threatening to call the cops.

“Please, call them. We need all the publicity we can get.” As soon as I said that, one of the carnies suddenly stopped in his tracks. As the other three kept pushing us out of the area, that lone carnie stood there looking as if someone punched him in the gut and something seemed to click and his eyes went from dull to bright as he realized he had just gotten goosed by two short, hairy guys carrying a four-foot-tall cock.

As we reached the curb, there was another line of cops who had been watching the whole drama unfold and were now horghing hysterically. I called over to them and asked them to take a picture with the dick for posterity. The whole lot of them just waved us off, turned on their heels and split up to go herd people back to the trains. Lev and I looked at each other, shrugged and headed off to the F train. As we reached the platform, surrounded by sunburned drunks and gawking children, Lev turned to me and said, “They are going to kill us at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.”

About Dick

An actual working journalist, he uses Ruthless because real publications don’t have any interest in 50,000 word essays on Bud Selig.