My advice to any visitor wanting to get a real taste of New York: skip the tourist gridlock at Times Square, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, hop on the Q and don’t get off until you hear the computerized conductor say “last stop on this train”. You’ll know you’re in Coney Island. Follow the smell of sea air and mustard for one block, and you’ll have reached the Coney Island/Brighton Beach boardwalk, where tourists from all over the world mingle effortlessly with old school Brooklynites, recent and not-so-recent immigrants, Eastern Europeans, Asians, Christians, Muslims and Jews, the old and young, rich and poor, here for the cheap food, the rides, the kitsch, the sea air, the sun, the photo ops, and most of all, the escape from modern day reality. Remarkably untouched by the march of time and the encroachment of hipster chic, it wouldn’t take a lot of imagination to believe you’ve gone back in time 20 or 30 years. No matter what brought you here, eventually your sore feet and need to regroup will draw you to the benches that line the boardwalk facing the Atlantic. This is where lives and stories and agendas intermingle in countless and endlessly fascinating ways – in ways that could only happen in New york, and only in Coney Island.