I can not allow a summer to pass without a visit to the Coney Island amusement area, beach and boardwalk, located in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. This past Saturday was another hot day that brought many visitors to the area, as you can see by the photo above -- all photos can be enlarged by clicking on them once, and then once again when they open on a new page.
The three miles of Coney Island beaches are just a short subway ride away for people who live in Brooklyn, and they remain very popular as you can see by how crowded they are on a Saturday in August.
The Coney Island Riegelmann Boardwalk length is 2.7 miles, from W. 37th Street to Corbin Place, and links the excitement of Coney's colorful amusements and the beach and ocean. It 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 has been rebuilt and repaired numerous times over the years. Presently there is a controversial plan to replace some of the wood with concrete to see if it holds up to the elements longer.
There are always varied sights sounds and delicious scents as you walk along the boardwalk. There is usually music, dancing, cafes and fast food vendors all along the boardwalk, and all kinds of people to people watch.
Look at the pretty shapes this vendor has cut her mangoes and placed them on a stick for easy eating.
The beaches are clean and there are lifeguards on duty. The Atlantic Ocean waves are rather mild in this area and I find that the ocean undertow is not as bad as in the Rockaways in Queens.
We were surprised to see this bride and groom that obviously came to the boardwalk to have some of their wedding album photos made! I wonder if they meet in Coney Island or had their first date there?
My husband and I decided to visit the new "Luna Park" amusement ride section that opened in Coney Island this year at 1000 Surf Avenue.
It's name and entrance design is a nostalgic recognition of the famous Luna Park of 1903 - 1942 that once stood on these grounds and that was totally destroyed by a dramatic fire. Astroland replaced that park in 1962 and closed in 2008 when their lease expired.
The new Luna Park is filled with lots of colorful games of chance and skill.....
....and ride for all ages!
This ride called Air Race was unique in that the ride can soar and barrel roll in flight. If you click on the link you can watch a video of it in action.
There are still some original rides in Coney Island and The Cyclone Roller Coaster is perhaps the most famous. Built in 1927, it 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.
It was declared an official New York City Landmark on July 12, 1988, and was listed in the New York State Register of Historic Places on June 31, 1991. National Historic Landmark status followed, on June 26, 1991.
Nearby is Dino's Wonder Wheel! Built in 1920, is a 150-foot tall Ferris wheel with both stationary and rocking cars that hold up to 144 people at once! It was named an official NYC landmark in 1989. My husband talked me into going on the swing car again this summer and he took some fun photos as we circled around that I'll show in my next blog post.
Of course no visit to Cony Island is complete without a visit to The Original Nathan's Famous on the corner of Stillwell and Surf Avenues. This famous food stand 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!
Their new motto is "More than just the best hot dog," so my husband and I decided to split a lobster roll and fried frog legs along with a hot dog. Verdict? The hot dog and fries were as delicious as always and the quintessential taste of summer in Coney Island. The lobster roll served on a hamburger bun was surprisingly good, and the fried frog legs were unusual, to say the least. We are adventuresome eaters and will try most things at least once but I don't think we will order the frog legs again, as one taste was sufficient.
I have been coming to Coney Island since I was a child and the old Steeplechase Park that was there, until it closed 1964, will forever shine as one of my childhood summer's cherished memories. There was a fun house to walk through that had a maze of mirrors, a rolling barrel to walk through, and random air vents that blow up your skirt al la Marilyn Monroe when you walked over them. At the fun house exit a clown would chase everyone and pretended to hit you with his slapstick as you tried to run outside. It might sound a little bizarre now, but it was all great fun.
The main attraction in the Steeplechase Park was the simulated Steeplechase Horses. It featured an 1100-foot curved metal racetrack with double-saddled wooden horses on wheels and it operated on gravity. The rider's horses, were drawn up a cable to an elevation of 22 feet at the start of the race, and then suddenly dropped downward along a 15% grade wooden track to gain speed. The riders then plunged across a miniature lake, while their momentum carried them upwards again to a height of 16 feet beyond the beach. The riders would descended through a tunnel and race upwards over a series of dips representing hurdles until they reached the finish line far ahead. A original Steeplechase horse on display in the Coney Island History Project display located under the Cyclone.
Sadly the only remnant left of Steeplechase Park is the defunct Parachute Jump ride.
The Parachute Jump was originally called the "Life Savers Parachute Jump" at the 1939 New York World's Fair and moved to its current site, then part of the Steeplechase Park amusement park, in 1941. It 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." In 1980, the Parachute Jump was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1989, New York once again recognized it as a city landmark.
As the sun lowered in the sky we headed back on the boardwalk to retrieve our car in the parking lot at MCU Stadium where the Brooklyn Cyclones minor league baseball team plays. It was a perfect summer day and we felt as tired as children after a day of sunshine and fun. Please come back later this week and see photos our ride on the Wonder Wheel!
I'm linking to Mary's "Ruby Tuesday" on Work of the Poet. "Outdoor Wednesday," on Susan's blog A Southern Daydreamer and "Rednesday" on Sue's blog It's a Very Cherry World. Please visit their blogs and join in all the fun!