The glory days of Coney Island reached its peak in the early 20th century but declined in popularity after World War II, and has since gone through various stages of neglect. In recent years various attempts have been made to revitalize the area, one of which was building a minor league baseball park home to the Brooklyn Cyclones on the former site of Steeplechase Park which closed in 1964.
Even though the amusement parks have diminished over the years, the beautiful wide stretches of beach have not, and if you enlarge the collage above you can see how much they were being enjoyed during the July 4th weekend!
The boardwalk was named for the 1918 - 1924 Brooklyn Borough President Riegelmann, who took charge of beautifying Coney Island and ensuring public access to the beach and shore. It became known as "Coney Island's Fifth Avenue" opened with great fanfare on May 15, 1923.
It has been rebuilt and repaired numerous times over the years and presently the boardwalk is a distance of 2.7 miles, from W. 37th Street to Corbin Place, and links the excitement of Coney's colorful amusements and the sweeping calm of beach and ocean.
The Parachute Jump, originally the "Life Savers Parachute Jump" at the 1939 New York World's Fair, was the first ride of its kind. Patrons were hoisted 190 feet in the air before being allowed to drop using guy-wired parachutes. Although the ride has been closed since 1968, it remains a Coney Island landmark and is sometimes referred to as "Brooklyn's Eiffel Tower"
Portions of the boardwalk were very crowded this past weekend with people enjoying the nice weather.
The beach and ocean is visible from the boardwalk and in the photo above you can see one of the children's playgrounds that are located on the beach....the little palm tree is a sprinkler.
A small crowd gathered on the boardwalk to watch a few couples who were playing music from a radio and dancing the tango!
Crocs was sponsoring an AVP pro beach volleyball tournament on one strecth of the beach; admission was required.
Lola Staars Dreamland Roller Rink is located inside the Historical Landmarked Childs Building at 3052 West 21st St at the boardwalk
The Child's Restaurant building was one a few structures to survive a devastating fire in 1932 that caused $5 million in damage and swept through the Coney Island oceanfront, leaving 1,000 people homeless and destroying bathhouses, rides and homes from West 24th Street down to Childs at West 21st Street. The restaurant was damaged, but it blocked the advance of the flames farther east.
Unfortunately, in many areas adjoining the boardwalk, there are areas that were once thriving amusement venues but are now empty lots waiting for future projects. The Thunderbolt roller coaster was once located here, along with a house beneath the tracks, which was featured in the film Annie Hall.
An interesting article published in a 2005 issue of New York Magazine discussed one developer's plans for a billion dollar makeover of Coney Island, but as the economy has declined it seems the plans for revitalization have been put on hold indefinitely.
Stretching over 1,000 feet from the Coney Island Boardwalk into the Atlantic Ocean, the Steeplechase Pier welcomes visitors and fishermen and women with cool ocean breezes, and fabulous views of both ocean and beaches and amusement rides.
A view of the Parachute Jump from the pier in the photo above.
A sea of colorful beach umbrellas can be seen in this photo taken from the pier. It is reminiscent of days of old when the Coney Island beaches attracted millions of people!
A pier view of The Wonder Wheel, built in 1920, is a 150-foot tall Ferris wheel with both stationary and rocking cars.
A pier view of The Cyclone roller coaster, built in 1927, is one of the nation's oldest wooden coasters still in operation. A favorite of some coaster aficionados, the Cyclone includes an 85-foot, 60 degree drop.
Another panoramic view of the beaches and amusement rides in the background taken from the end of Steeplechase pier.
A view of the end of the pier and some of the pleasure boats in the water that day. In the distance the peninsula of Breezy Point, Queens, NY can be seen,
The Wonder Wheel is a 150-foot tall, has a diameter of 135 feet and holds 144 people at once.It was named an official NYC landmark in 1989.
Some of the Wonder Wheel's cars move and swing along a track! It is terrifying as you feel as if you are about to slip off!
The Polar Bear Club is the oldest winter bathing organization in the United States. They swim in the Atlantic Ocean at Coney Island every Sunday from November through April.
No visit to Coney Island would be complete without buying a hot dog at Nathans Famous on the corner of Stillwell and Surf Avenues ! Click on the collage above to enlarge it to see some views of this famous food stand that has been here since 1916. Nathan’s Famous was founded by a Polish immigrant, Nathan Handwerker. He started his business with a small hot dog stand and sold hot dogs that were manufactured based on a recipe developed by his wife, Ida. Last year Nathan’s sold over 360 million of its World Famous Beef Hot Dogs worldwide!
Ever year on July 4th there is a hot dog eating contest held at Nathan's in Coney Island and in 2009 Joey Chestnut defended his title, and set a world record by consuming 68 hot dogs and buns in twelve minutes! Read the whole story on the NY Daily News.
The Cyclone Roller Coaster debuted on June 26, 1927. In 1991 it was declared a National Historic Landmark. Designed by Vernon Keenan, the Cyclone illustrates the definitive twister type layout envolving many tightly interwoven layers of track. Although the Cyclone's structure is made mostly of steel, it's still considered a wooden coaster because the track rests on layers of wood. The rickety clacking sound it makes adds to the intensity of the ride
If you want to take a virtual ride of the Cyclone Roller Coaster check out this thrilling Youtube video!
My husband and I went to Coney Island to attend an event in that took place under this colorful tent.
Any guess as to what it was? Check my next blog post to see if you guessed correctly!