A Day in Coney Island
This place is my escape; the island I run off to, (when Tahiti is simply not an option). Located on Brooklyn’s most southern point and just a short subway ride away is Coney Island. Whenever I play tour guide for my friends, I tell them Coney has EVERYTHING: art, history, wildlife, theme parks, etc. The vibe here is so distinct and awesome. Everyone is down-to-earth, shouldered with just a bit of that abrasive Brooklyn charm.
Coney Island is home to The Outdoor Museum of Street Art, or more famously known as Coney Art Walls. Every famous street artist has had their work featured here. The fact that it’s outdoors makes it a great space for summer concerts and parties. Below are my favorite pieces featured from previous years.
The Dutch were the first Europeans to take over this land from the Native Americans. They renamed the island from Narrioch–what the Lenape inhabitants called ‘land always in light’–to Conyne Eylandt. There are exhibits offered by the Coney Island History Project that give insight into this island’s fascinating past. As for Coney’s theme parks, once being the largest amusement center in the U.S., it brings millions of visitors each summer.
I love coming here all year round to see the many gull species that winter/summer along these shores. But if standing in the frigid cold or sweltering heat isn’t your thing, I suggest you check out the NY Aquarium. Next year, they’ll be opening the much-anticipated shark house, which I’m glad is finally underway! In the meantime, though, check out the otters, sea lions, and try your luck finding Nemo and Dory.
Luna Park, Deno’s Wonder Wheel, The Cyclone…a grand trifecta. Not much needs to be said about these three. I make it my mission to visit the amusements at least once a year. Maybe when I’m not too chicken, I’ll try all the rides in Luna Park’s scream zone. I must mention that I’m also a huge fan of arcades. Dave & Buster’s is fun and all, but there’s nothing like old-school outdoor arcades to rev up that competitive side in you.
FOOD, FREAK SHOWS & MORE
Other than a couple of ice cream shops, there is virtually no kosher food here. And that’s understandable since there isn’t a very big market for it. It’Sugar, Rita’s Ices, and Williams Candy carry some kosher options if you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth.
As far as the Coney Island freak show goes, I haven’t seen it myself; knife-swallowers get me squeamish. But it’s interesting to know that exploitation by way of appearance hasn’t completely been purged of our society.
I love everything about this island. From walking down the Steeplechase Pier to marveling the landmark that is the Coney Parachute Jump, (no longer in commission, I’m afraid). I’m proud we have the Brooklyn Cyclones representing us, (and I don’t even follow baseball). Every summer, my family and I have made it a tradition to come watch the July 4th fireworks. And for every time I ride The Cyclone, the one impending thought circling my mind as we reach that first drop will always be: Dear God, I hope this rickety old thing is up to code.