Coney Island in New York

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Coney Island in New York

Coney Island in New York is a neighbourhood in Southwest Brooklyn, that’s known for the amusement park Luna Park, Wonder Wheel and New York Aquarium. It’s actually a peninsula, which has 60.000 inhabitants and partly consists of a large sandy beach with an adjacent boardwalk. When visiting Coney Island, you’ll experience the fun fair-like atmosphere that has reigned there ever since it became popular, in the twentieth century.

Things to do in Coney Island

Coney Island is an excellent place to escape the intense heat you may experience in the city, during the summer. Beaches, boulevards and roller coasters are the three main elements that characterise this fun place. You can even go swimming here.

Rides and Attractions in Coney Island

While Coney Island used to be a hangout for the ‘riffraff’, nowadays, it’s more like a giant funfair that attracts a varied crowd. Many smaller family businesses and amusement parks closed down when Coney Island went through huge renovations. Luckily, you can still visit some of the most iconic attractions, such as the 150-foot Wonder Wheel, almost a 100-year-old roller-coaster; Cyclone, Nathan’s famous hotdog stand and the boulevard with all its kitschy shops. Although the famous amusement park; Luna Park kept its original name, it’s been completely renovated.

Coney Island in New York - Luna Park Coney Island in New York - The Beach

New York Aquarium

The only aquarium in New York is located in Coney Island. In the New York Aquarium, you can see, among others, penguins, sea lions, walrus, sharks and otters in their various habitats. There’s an aqua theatre, where the sea lions and their trainers perform. Plus, there is a 4D theatre, where you can watch 3D films with extra-sensory effects. The New York Aquarium is not very big, but it’s a nice place to visit with kids, after a day on the beach.

Coney Island Amphitheater

Coney Island Amphitheater, situated on Coney Island Boardwalk, is a partially indoor, partially outdoor venue where you can see all kinds of bands and singers perform. It’s especially nice in the summer, though there are performances throughout the year. You can check the Coney Island Amphitheater concert calendar here.

Coney Island and Brooklyn Tour

If you want to explore Brooklyn and Coney Island while enjoying stops at several great pizza parlours, I recommend taking the Brooklyn and Coney Island Pizza tour. A perfect option to visit Coney Island beach, without the hassle of getting there by subway (which takes about an hour!).

Coney Island in New York - Nathan's Hot Dog Coney Island in New York - Boardwalk

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade

Since 1983 Coney Island has had a unique way of marking the beginning of summer: with the annual Mermaid Parade. What to expect? Exactly that: a parade featuring thousands of people dressed as mermaids, or other sea creatures. In addition to a celebrity merman and mermaid who are crowned king and queen. Although the parade is a family event, you should know that it’s legal in New York for women to be topless in public and that this parade is known for its partial nudity. The Coney Island Mermaid Parade takes place every year, around the first day of summer.

Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach is also part of Coney Island. When visiting this unique part of the city, you’re likely to hear more people speaking an Eastern European language than English. The area is also known as “Little Russia” or “Little Odesa”, named after a Ukrainian city, from where many of the immigrants of Brighton Beach came, in the 1940s and 1950s. Because of the large Eastern European community, you’ll experience a different atmosphere than in other parts of New York. Probably the reason why many New Yorkers love to spend their holidays here (of course, alongside the fact that the beach is great!). You’ll notice the Eastern-European influences when visiting the bars and restaurants. It’s perfectly normal to start your day by ordering a peppered Horilka with honey and to enjoy caviar at a reasonable price.

How to reach Coney Island?

To visit Coney Island, I’d recommend taking the subway. Subway lines D and N are the quickest and both take you to stop “Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue”. The Q and F trains take a lot longer.

Eric’s Tip: “If you don’t want to stay in one place, and prefer seeing much more of the area, I suggest you take subway lines N or D to “Coney Island / Stillwell Avenue”. From this point, you can enjoy a nice walk on the boulevard or beach to Brighton Beach subway station. Subway lines Q or B will take you back to Manhattan. Don’t forget to taste the local speciality for lunch: Nathan’s hotdog (and fries)!”

Hotels in Coney Island

If you’d like to focus on Brooklyn and Coney Island during your trip, Best Western Coney Island is a decent option. From there it’s a 20-minute walk to the beach. If you want to visit the New York attractions I recommend staying closer to Manhattan.

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