Visiting New York City’s Famous Coney Island

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coney islandWhen most people travel to New York City they are immediately overwhelmed by the vast amount of things to do and see.  The city is literally so huge and offers so many diversions and distractions that no one can see everything during the length of a normal stay there.  One of the attractions that was popular years ago but is somewhat overlooked nowadays is one of the few beach vacation sites in the city, Coney Island.

Coney Island is a bit of a misnomer as over the years what was formerly an island off the coast of the city has been transformed and altered and is now a peninsula.  Coney Island is the name of both a community and a beach in southern Brooklyn.  The area is located very near to Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach to the east and Seagate to the west.  The area is four miles long and a little over a half mile wide on average.

Coney Island can trace its roots as a resort area all the way back to the time following the American Civil War in the late 1860s and early 1870s.  The area’s popularity soared once railroad lines and streetcar access reached it, and then increased again when steamships lines began to bring guests too.  With the advent of urban dwellers seeking a way to escape the city, major resort hotels began to spring up on Coney Island and the beaches were developed as a city asset.  Other diversions followed including amusement parks, horse racing, dog racing, live entertainment, gambling, and more.  With the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, Coney Island was no longer a location just for those that could travel a great deal, it was now accessible for day trips by residents of the rest of New York City and the surrounding area.  Carousels and amusement park rides began to line the beach area and other icons of Coney Island’s glory days like Nathan’s Famous hot dog stand came into existence in the early 1900s, and many remain there today.  Coney Island held the spot as America’s largest amusement area from about 1880 through World War II.

The boardwalk’s heyday was in the pre-World War II era, but it remains a wonderful attraction today offering not only good entertainment value, but also a nice walk down memory lane that should interest anyone with an interest in American history.  There are still a number of amusement park rides on the scene, including a number of historic rides like the Wonder Wheel built in 1918 and the Cyclone roller coaster built in 1927.  While a number of the attractions from days gone by are long gone, there is still fun to be had at both of the remaining amusement areas, Astroland and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park.

The beach at Coney Island s sometimes the forgotten entity.  While once overshadowed by the amusement park activities of the boardwalk, it remains a popular destination for beach bound travelers in the big city.  The beach stretches for just under two and a half miles and is a well maintained sandy area where fun can be had both on shore and off.  One of the features that has made the beach at Coney Island popular all these years is that due to the surrounding geography and the fact that there are no large obstructions, the entire beach receives sunlight from sunrise to sunset.  Rock Jetties are positioned sporadically along the beach to lessen the effect of the ocean waves, this makes the water less dangerous and a great place for even small children.

The boardwalk was the big attraction during Coney Island’s glory days as it was lined with amusement park rides, shopping opportunities, eating establishments and public gathering places.  The boardwalk lines the entire length of the beach at Coney Island and stretches for nearly two and a half miles.  Two featured attractions that are located along the boardwalk are the New York Aquarium, which came to Coney Island in the 1950s, and KeySpan Park which is home to the minor league baseball team the Brooklyn Cyclones.

While its glory days may be long gone, visiting Coney Island can still be a special thing for anyone visiting the city of New York.    Visit Coney Island with Expedia, and save with an expedia coupon.  

Coney Island not only offers a number of things to do that are both fun and interesting, but it can also be a wonderful diversion from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the city.  It also really is a step back in time with many sights, sounds, and experiences that look today much the way they did during the early and mid 1900s.  New York City is loaded with attractions and things to do, but a trip to Coney Island shouldn’t be overlooked, it is exactly the kind of experience that will help make almost any vacation extremely memorable.

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