Last weekend, my boyfriend and I walked down the Brighton Beach Boardwalk towards Coney Island to meet some friends and check out the new Luna Park. Along the way, we stopped for a late lunch atÂ LeÂ Soleil Draft Barn, a German inspired beer garden type of restaurant right on the boardwalk and overlooking the beach. TheÂ restaurantÂ had an extensive, three page menu of beers. I settled on some Bitburger, memories of my trip to Germany a few weeks ago flooding back. My boyfriend got a Julius Echter Hefe-Weissbier which we agreed wasn’t very good. We also ordered some Calamari and potato pancakes with goat cheese, both were delicious with the calamari especially hitting that fried foods summer boardwalk spot. We took our time; talking, laughing, taking pictures and looking at the ocean waves and passerby.
That was last week though. Yesterday, as the boardwalk was filled with teenagers celebrating Brooklyn-Queens day, an unidentified gunman opened fire. Killing a 17 year old girl and injuring 4 others (including one critically) the boardwalk erupted with violence. Some speculate that the incident was gang related, however, no one is in custody.
One week earlier I was in the same spot, at the same time of day, eating right near where someone else was shot yesterday. It’s surreal. Having worked for 4 summers on that very boardwalk when I was younger, it really hits close to home. The boardwalk has always had tragic summers but most of the time they can be attributed to drownings, something that, although tragic, happens at every beach. This was different, this happened because evil people exist and because guns are way too easy to get.Â If you want to read more about what happened, check out Sheepshead Bites, they’ve got some good coverage of the events that transpired.