Coney Island


Photo: Cititour

To its loyal fans Coney Island remains the premier New York City getaway. To others, it’s a remnant of a bygone era when the masses flocked to its white sand beaches and of course Steeplechase Park. The old Parachute Jump, now a landmark, stands as a reminder of the splender of Steeplechase and its mechanical horses. Today the Parachute Jump provides amazing light show and serves as a beacon for visitors.

Coney Island amusements still attract thousands each year thanks new attractions at the revived Luna Park. The original Wonder Wheel, with its sliding cars, still offers plenty of thrills. But the main attraction remains the Cyclone roller coaster. This rickety old wooden coaster still has one of steepest drops around (90 feet straight down) and is not for the faint of heart.

Coney Island also has another claim to fame these; its own minor league baseball team named, the Coney Island Cyclones, and a state-of-the-art seaside stadium.

Coney Island still remains a family attraction, with its games of chance and arcades. It’s "carnie" atmosphere also offers some great entertainment; including Sideshows by the Seashore with its very own freak show, annual mustache competition and film festival.

The annual Mermaid Parade ushers in the Summer season drawing crowds from across the city, while the Polar Bear Club’s annual New Year's swim gives everyone the chills.

Unfortunately, the original Thunderbolt, one of Coney’s oldest roller coasters that appeared in the 1977 Woody Allen movie "Annie Hall" has been torn down. In it's place is a new thrill ride, also called the Thunderbolt. Opened in 2014, it boasts a 90-degree vertical drop. Unfortunately, the old bathhouse with figures of King Neptune, dolphins and other sea creatures that once graced its facade has disappeared. But the old Childs Restaurant survived and has been converted into a new amphitheater providing indoor and outdoor concert space all year long. It celebrated its first concert season in 2016 with major improvements made to its ornate facade.

Still standing and very much alive is the original Nathan’s on Surf Avenue which is open year round. It’s famous franks and french fries draw crowds year round. You’ll also find raw shellfish and even frog legs on the menu. And don’t forget the annual hot dog eating contest. There's a second Nathan's location on the boardwalk.

And while Carolina's is gone, Gargulio’s and Totonno's continue to feed Coney Island's faithful.

Now, Coney Island is enjoying a renaissance and remains the playground by the sea that everyone can enjoy.

Thomas Rafael