Monday, August 9, 2010

Coney Island

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!

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58 comments: said...

My son just told me today that the only thing he wants for his birthday this month is to spend the day at Coney Island!
I can't wait to show your post to him!
Good stuff as always, thanks Pat.

Allie and Pattie said...

Oh Pat, I just spent 20 minutes reminiscing with your pictures. It's been years since I visited Coney Island, but growing up there were many happy weekends there!
xoxo Pattie

A Bit of the Blarney said...

Oh my I had fun!!!! The pictures of the beach and water are refreshing and WOW bride and groom there for wedding pics...GREAT!!!!!

Pondside said...

I've never been to Coney Island, but it has always loomed large in my east-coast heritage. We have lots of cousins in New Hampshire, NJ and NY, so I guess I've always heard stories of this marvelous place. My dad called hotdogs 'Coney Island Bow Wows' - still does, to this day.
You did a wonderful job capturing the energy, the excitement of the crowd.

Joanne Kennedy said...

Looks like a lot of fun. I would love to go there. I've heard so many stories about Coney Island from my mom and sister. When they lived in NY they would go there a lot.

Thanks for the post.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

I have always heard about Coney Island....It looks like a fun place. I am glad you got that hot dog!

Sara said...

Pat, how awesome these photos are! I've never been to Coney Island. Maybe one day...

Barb said...

looks like you had a fun time....Barb

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Very nice, Pat... I have seen pictures (including the movie "Beaches") and heard about Coney Island all of my life. But---I didn't know it was as popular these days... Your pictures surprised me. There were tons of people there... WOW!!!!

I remember hearing about the Cyclone... But--I didn't know about the new Luna Park... That is so neat...

Thanks for sharing.

Maria M. Boyer said...

How cool, Pat! I have never been there. Lots of people, but really does look like a great place! The closest I've gotten is Playland. ;)

RoeH said...

I've always wanted to see Coney Island. It just looks fun. I gotta say thought. I thought Huntington Beach was crowded when I was there for a few months. I think CI beats it. Still looks fun though.

Sea Witch said...

Love this post. Spent a few summers at Coney Island at its tail end when it almost closed. Loving that it has resurrected and loved by so many others. Sea Witch

Debbiedoos said...

Just told the hubby I know where we are going next year for sure.....I LOVE it...never been, but my boys would have a blast! Thanks for your fun day out. Debbie

Unknown said...

Hi Pat,
Your pictures are awesome! So many people!

I would love to visit Coney Island!


Tales From My Empty Nest said...

Pat, your pictures of Coney Island were so good. I feel like I was there too. It looks like a nice place. Love & blessings from NC!

Jenny said...

Oh Coney Island. What wonderful memories you brought back! I loved the Nathans not just hot dogs! I would have passed on the frog legs, though!

Great trip today, Miss Pat.

Thanks for letting us tag along.

GardenOfDaisies said...

The amazing colors, the sound of the sea the sand between the toes, the rides, the food.... what a feast for all the senses. Those mangoes looked AMAZING!!!

Carol said...

Fantastic, Pat! Coney Island is the best! Went there every summer for years, my grandparents were in Brighton Beach, my grandpa would take me. Nathan's! Dogs, fries and corn!

Your picture's are fantastic! What about a Nellie Bly Park or something? I remember that, too? Near there? and the aquarium? You are bringing back the best memories for me with this post!

Carol said...

Forgot to say, never went on the Cyclone or the Wonder Wheel. Scared me :)

Proud Italian Cook said...

That beach is packed with people! I want one of those hotdogs, but I have to say I'd skip the frog legs!
Loved all the colorful photos, aah, I love summer!

myletterstoemily said...

i just loved all your photos, especially
the ones of all the colorful beach
costumes. so pretty and vibrant!

Sarah said...

Pat, I've been away from my computer so spent some time tonight catching up on your recent posts that I've missed. Thanks for taking me along to all these great spots. Your photography is fabulous, as always. I so enjoyed the sculptures in Rockerfeller Park and it was great fun to see Coney Island. I've never been there. ~ Sarah

reg said...

I have been to NYC but never to the Island. One day I will have to go back just for this one reason. Great pics of this great place

Judy said...

We just hear about Coney Island...and read about...and wonder what the famous hot dogs are like. Now it almost feels as though I've been there. Thanks for taking us along!

Your pictures look like postcards...all of them!

Gracie said...

I saw the place so many time on tv features or on movies (usually it was the police running after some criminal) that it's like I've already been there! Thanks for the beautiful photos, as always.

Trotter said...

Hi Pat! Thi truly looks fun... Never been to Coney Island... :-(

Blogtrotter Two is back to the sea... ;). Make the most of it and have a spectacular week ahead!

Old Kitty said...

Oh Pat!! The only things I know of or about Coney Island are from two really bleak films: The Warriors and Enemies, A love story!

So it's great to see Coney Island as just being that! A lovely resort to go to and have fun during a hot summer's day!

And look how popular it is!! I love that mango stall! LOL! I wish I could do such fun shapes with the mangoes I buy. Oh and how lovely to see wedding pics being taken on the promenade.

Oh I'm not one for amusement park rides and that air race just makes me ill to watch! LOL! But the Cyclone Roller Coaster does make an incredible scenic backdrop! As is that amazing parachute jump ride!

Frogs legs??? Er, I'll pass on that! LOL!

I love your memory of the steeplchase park amusement park. The image of a clown chasing kiddies around giving them fun slaps does sound bizarre doesn't it? Oh but I can imagine the fun of it though!

That steeplechase horse beautiful. I'm glad it's safe in the museum although the ride itself sounds so manic and mad! Good grief!

I look forward to the "swing car" blog piece with photos!

These ones here are as lovely as ever!

Thank you for sharing
Take care

Hootin Anni said...

Such a treat for us all who visit with you today. Ya, I too wonder if the wedding couple met there long ago?! And the rides? What fun. A fun filled day and I thank you for sharing all this.


A note: I'm going to begin a new meme, started tomorrow evening. You may be interested in least stop by tomorrow around 6PM my time zone to find out what it's going to be like....

Have a great day just filled with loads of sunshine!!!

People Who Know Me Would Say: said...

I adored this post, Pat! I could hear all the sounds and smell all the smells........Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh......

RNSANE said...

Pat, what memories you must have, over the years, of this amazing place in New York history. I can just see you as a young girl, enjoying all the fun at Coney Island. I've never really had much experience at this sort of place. There is a beach boardwalk, with rides, in Santa Cruz and I used to take my boys when they were younger but it nothing on the par of Coney Island.

Great pictoral and narrative history as always.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I can't believe how crowded the beach is! Coney Island - an iconic place and you captured it well.

Auntie E said...

I so wanted to go there. Some folks just do not get it.Took a girl scout group to NYC, planned a trip to Coney Island. However to parents thought it a bad place. I just didn't get it. they all talked to girl out of it. I think they missed out on a great thing.
Need to plan another trip there before summers end.
My Ruby link for you

diane b said...

I love visiting your city with you. Your posts are so informative. It sounded like a tiring but happy day.

Vee said...

So many sights and sounds and smells. Yes, I can imagine them all. Thank you for showing us this feature on Coney Island. I am not even tempted to ever want to visit because it would overwhelm me, but I certainly enjoyed this taste of the experience.

annie said...

Brings back memories from long ago.
Thanks for sharing the day with us.
Your photos are always so wonderful.

Cindy said...

What great photos! I almost feel like I have seen it myself! I have read about Coney Island in so many novels that it is a real delight to see photos of it. Thanks so much!
I'm so glad I have found your blog.
Hugs, Cindy S

Kathleen said...

Wonderful pics, Pat!
I cannot imagine in my wildest dreams being on a beach so crowded! Ours are so peaceful! That looks like it would be very noisy!
Come see the wedding!

Donna said...

Oh I love Coney Island! Thank you for showing us all the wonderful photos, Pat. I've been on the Cyclone Roller Coaster! I also love Nathan's hot dogs, truly the best!


Helen said...

Your photos are beyond amazing!!! The color is so vivid, the images perfectly composed .... I can't tell you how much I enjoyed 'my visit.'

Tara said...

HEy Pat

What a great Coney Island tribute! You are right about the undertow--my son surfs the Rockaways almost every weekend and my heart is always in my throat!!

I am going to get my Dad to Luna Par this summer. I can remember my great grandmother--born in 1888- walking around the Park Slope townhouse when the lights were left on in an empty room: "What is this? Luna Park?" My Dad and now I still say that 'til this day! :0)

Viki said...

What a great tour of Cony Island. Wow, that beach doesn't look like it could hold many more people lol. Great pics.

Ann said...

Thanks for a fabulous tour of Coney Island...I've never been!
Sure does seem quite crowded, but the food may just be worth the trip!!
The Tattered Tassel

Cherry Chick said...

OMGosh! That's way too many people on a beach for me! I'm in FL and I've never seen a beach that Love your red on the Luna Park sign and the brides dress was beautiful. Thanks for sharing your red on Rednesday.
♥•.*.Thank you.*.•♥
♥•.*.from Vicki.*.•♥

Olive said... the name "Luna park"...olive♥

Unknown said...

It looks such a fun place and also so many2 people! I love the beach...just not sure about the people crowding around. Happy week ahead Pat...hugs :O))

LV said...

I have never been here. From what you shared today, looks like a great, fun place to visit. At least I enjoyed seeing it trough your lens.

vignette design said...

Thanks for the Coney Island tour. I've never been there. I understand you are visiting Yountville soon. Even though you didn't get a reservation at The French Laundry, you could try Thomas Keller's other restaurant there: Ad Hoc. Check it out!

Thoughtfully Blended Hearts said...

I always enjoy your posts on the sights and sounds of New York...I never realized Coney Island was so big!!! The photos are wonderful!!!

Sally Annie Magundy said...

Thank you for the wonderful tour, I had a wonderful time!

Happy Rednesday,

Sheila said...

Well Pat - after seeing all the pictures my daughter took at Coney Island I enjoyed the trip back a month later. the day she was there they watched a times on Coney Island!

Wendy said...

Incredible Pictures. I love the multitude of colors. It is just incredible.
My fav are all the different shapes and colors fo the new Luna Park.
I am putting that on my list of places to see before I am finished with this life.
It looks wonderful.
Happy Rednesday
Wendy from wonderland

Tracy said...

WOW...All the fun of the fair... These photos sizzle of summer fun, Pat! I can almost taste the corn dogs... Hope it's a soy corn dog! ;o) LOVED that photo of the bride 6 groom... and the hint of her blue shoes! Maybe they did meet there, or first day there... like to think so. I have to go back and look at these photos again! Thanks for the fun, Pat... Happy Day :o) ((HUGS))

CACHANILLA73 said...

Oh my!!! looks like a fun place!! That mango vendor!!! he is Mexican I can tell you because that is the way we eat mango in Mexico!!! it brought warm memories.!! ;)

steviewren said...

I loved going along with you and hubby's visit to Coney Island. The history and photos were great. Love my NY area tours via your blog.

Vintagesouthernlife said...

I have never been to the island looks like a lot of fun. We had a wooden roller coaster that looks like your Cyclone at Myrtle Beach. It was built back in the 70's. Sadly they demolished it.Thanks for sharing!

Self Sagacity said...

Absolutely wonderful photos! Another must visit place on my list. Thanks for the tour, it looks like so much fun!

Linda said...

As usual, you posts are my favorite. Your history along with great photos make me feel as if I am there...maybe one day I will return.

Sheila said...

Hi Pat - I feel like I was there with you since I've heard all about Nathan's and seen so many pictures of Cony Island.