CONEY ISLAND ROCKS
Brooklyn's Coney Island is every bit as gritty as Asbury Park's waterfront.
Come to think of it, now that the redevelopment of Asbury Park's boardwalk region is under way, Coney Island has taken the lead in the grittiness department.
Its boardwalk planks are worn and wobbly. There's no shortage of past-their-prime buildings. Some of the weeds are so thick and high they could provide shade for small children.
And while it doesn't boast a live music venue on par with Asbury Park's Stone Pony or Wonder Bar, Coney Island rocks because it's like one big dive bar, dismissed by the highbrow crowd but embraced by the working class.
A lot of Coney Island's charm has to do with the assorted characters that roam the neighborhood -- and we're talking year-round, not just the summer months or during the Nathan's Famous hot-dog eating contest held every year on the Fourth of July. On top of that, the Cyclone and Wonder Wheel are fun rides and every bit as symbolic to New York as the Empire State Building and Radio City Music Hall.
Coney Island does offer some live music, but not a lot. Once a year, though, Coney Island literally rocks big-time when The Village Voice's annual Siren Music Festival takes place.
This year, the free, all-ages event is set for July 21, rain or shine. Scheduled performers include The New York Dolls, Voxtrot, Cursive, We Are Scientists and others.
Enjoy the sights and sounds that day. Visit www.villagevoice.com/siren/ for more information.