The One And Only Coney

Make a day of it at this world-class, accessible resort

Coney_Island_beach_and_boardwalk_scenes_LOC-2117u-originalThe Cyclone, the Wonder Wheel, the Parachute Jump—all on the National Register of Historic Places. In a borough rich with history, Coney Island stands out as a fabled spot. Just naming the attractions will elicit countless memories for those who spent many a happy day at the oceanside resort. You can add Astroland, Luna Park, Nathan’s Famous, the New York Aquarium and the 2½ miles of beach along with the boardwalk.

And now that Brooklyn is once again a “cool” place to live and visit, the seaside resort is striving to keep itself a vital destination. After decades of decline following its mid-20th century peak, Coney Island has seen a revival.

The Whirl of the Whirl at Luna Park in 1905. (Photo by Detroit Publishing Co.)
The Whirl of the Whirl at Luna Park in 1905. (Photo by Detroit Publishing Co.)

For city dwellers, the resort is served by a slew of subway lines. For suburbanites, it’s the Cross Island-Belt parkways combo. No matter how you get there, the list of leisure and entertainment is endless.

Lazying on the beach or watching the parade of humanity on the boardwalk? Check. Attending the Brooklyn Cyclones minor-league baseball game? Check. Catching a show with such acts as Sting/Peter Gabriel or the Beach Boys at the new Brooklyn Amphitheater? Ditto.

For the thrill seekers, the Thunderbolt roller coaster in Luna Park features a “two-minute rolling adventure over 2,233 feet of steel track” with a 90-degree vertical drop, top speeds of 55 mph and a 100-foot vertical loop.

Those who have a bent for the past will enjoy the Coney Island History Project’s 1½-hour walking tours, which include a private visit to the exhibit center with mementos of a rich past. The current special exhibit is “The 50th Anniversary of Fred Trump’s Demolition of the Steeplechase Pavilion.” It details how Coney’s most beautiful and imposing structure was demolished by developer Fred Trump, Donald Trump’s father, 50 years ago.

vintage-coney-island-posterThe Circus Sideshow will appeal to those who want to experience this weird and wonderful aspect of the past, featuring wonders, curiosities and of course, freaks.

Another slice of the past can be found at B&B Carousel with its restored merry-go-round horses.

Mark your calendars for the Mermaid Parade on June 18. It is billed as “the largest art parade in the nation,” and is a celebration of ancient mythology and rituals of the seaside, showcasing more than 1,500 creative individuals from the five boroughs and beyond.

For complete listings and information, visit www.coneyislandfunguide.com.


 

Cover art by Peter MaxSee exclusive Coney Island-themed cover art by Peter Max for this week’s issue of Long Island Weekly.

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Frank Rizzo
Frank Rizzo is a journalist at Anton Media Group. With decades of experience in the industry, he is exceptionally equipped to cover local politics, business and other topics that matter to readers.

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