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“A nice day at Coney Island”
Review of Coney Island USA

Coney Island USA
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Owner description: Home to famous rides like the Cyclone Roller Coaster, the Wonder Wheel and the Parachute Jump, this historic seaside section of Broooklyn is about an hour by train from Manhattan and still boasts a lively boardwalk, beach, and the best hot dogs around.
Reviewed 7 April 2009

We were in the city over the weekend and decided to do something different and head on out to Coney Island for the day. We did not know until a few days before our trip that April 5th was the opening day for the Cyclone and that the amusement park was opening that weekend too.

We took the drive from the city out to Coney Island and noticed how run down the area was. This was no shock as I heard the place was run down. We found a place to park on one of the side streets right near the boardwalk. We first walked over to the Cyclone as it was opening in an hour and wanted to get in line to ride. There was a nice little celebration going on there with local reporters, a band, the Coaster Club of America, and a large crowd of people. After a short wait my son I rode the famous coaster. What a fun ride. Bumpy but fun. We headed over to the small amusement park on the boardwalk where the Wonder Wheel is. This is a nice park for little kids. My 10 year old was bored with the rides but my 6 year old could of stayed there all day. The park is clean and most of the kiddie rides look pretty new. You don't pay an admission fee for the park. You buy ride tickets and they are a little pricey, but you can buy a package of tickets that will save you some money.

We headed down to the beach next. The beach here is huge. The water was too cold to go in, but we knew that. My kids took their shoes off and ran around collecting shells and climbing on the rocks. The beach was kind of dirty. I was told that it wasn't officially open until May and that once it opens it is groomed daily. So my thought was that it has not been cleaned since last season. There was some garbage and a lot of glass on the beach, but nothing too bad. There were also a few really nice playground areas directly on the beach too. The boardwalk is a nice boardwalk too, really big and clean. There were lots of people riding bikes, roller blading, and walking their dogs along the boardwalk. Some of the food stands were open, but most of them haven't opened for the season yet.

All in all it was a nice day away from the city. If you have little kids you could easily spend the day here between the beach and the little amusement park .

5  Thank Tivoqueen18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 5 April 2009

The world famous Coney Island sits on the southernmost point of Brooklyn (tecnhically the westernmost of barrier islands off Long Island, about four miles long and one-half mile wide), dotted with remnants of former fun and frivolity, Russian sunbathers and tourists walking a boardwalk in deep need of repair. But don’t get me wrong, while Atlantic City may be more developed, Coney Island still finds a way to retain the former charm of days far gone.

Before World War II, Coney Island was an amusement destination for locals and visitors alike, but just as prevalent in the Island’s history as Nathan’s Hot Dogs, Coney Island has been subject to endless land grabs and corrupt development dealings. In fact, most of Coney Island’s current de-gentrification can be attributed to real estate developers buying former amusement parks (not always legally) and building low-income housing in their place.

The first carousel at Coney Island was built by Charles I.D. Looff in 1876, installed at Vandeveer’s bath-house complex at West 6th Street and Surf Avenue. Nathan’s Famous original hot dog stand opened on Coney Island in 1916 and quickly became a landmark.

While all of the neighborhood’s original amusement parks have long since closed down (most notably, and a point of contention to many New Yorkers, most of Astroland just recently), there are many plans to rebuild Coney Island.
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3  Thank thenycproject
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2009

Had great expectations when visiting Coney Island even though it was in March and very much off season. The main boardwalk is a nice place for a stroll and also along the pier.This whole area was very much neglected and run down and be very careful of straying off the front boardwalk as the streets up the town are full of guys drinking during the day.I would not feel safe here and made my way back to train station after sampling the delights in Nathans fast food emporium which is a must and located straight across road from metro station.

3  Thank mick0214
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 October 2008

I have been to Coney Island a couple times over the past few years. My last trip to Coney Island was this summer (2008). Each time I go back, I see something I didnt see before. The town has seemed to have new life breathed back into it over the past few year & is continually getting better. I hope this trend continues, as I feel Coney Island has so much potential to be a real gem.

Coney Island is a nice place to visit if in the NY area. It has a nice swimming beach, a fishing pier, a small boardwalk, astroland amusements (kiddie rides & the infamous CYCLONE wooden roller coaster), Nathan's Hotdogs, the NY aquarium, a baseball stadium and more.

A few years ago, I went to Coney Island just to ride the Cyclone and to go to the NY aquarium. I had fun at both attractions, but was disappointed in the boardwalk. The town was looking a little run down & in need of a makeover. However, I visited again in 2007 and saw some improvement in the area. I returned again this summer 2008 for a few days and had a great time.

This summer we drove to Coney Island, arriving aroound 11am. We parked on a side street and walked to the beach. Parking is a little congested here. I know you can park at the aquarium at one end of the boardwalk for a fee. I usually try to find street parking, but it is NOT easy.

Once on the beach, we found a spot close to the water and set out our beach towels. We did notice this time..that the bath houses are just restrooms..no changing rooms & no changing allowed in the restrooms. They have people monitoring the restrooms, so, wear your bathing suit to the beach! They do have some outdoor shower heads on the side of the building to rinse off in, but not bath-house showers! Also, wear flip flops because the distance from the boardwalk to the water is fairly large & the sand is hot! The sand at this beach was so fine and soft. It was so relaxing to lay out on this beach and sunbathe. Also, you could see shiny stuff in the sand at the waters edge. It looked like very fine glitter in the water and sand. It was so pretty. The waves here were not large. This was nice. I did not have to worry about getting crushed by waves or getting knocked down. Also, there were lifeguards standing on the nearby rock pilings, so it felt pretty safe. The beach and water here both appeared very clean & I was not afraid to go for a swim in the ocean. The ocean floor was soft on the feet..no sharp shells, rocks or pebbles. This was really nice!! However, I did see quite a few jellyfish here..just keep your eyes open. I had a great time at the beach and will definately be back to swim at this beach again!!

Also, nearby on the beach are these plastic palm trees that spray water out the top of them. These are similar to the ones you see at amusement parks. This is a nice area to cool off in you dont want to go into the ocean. Also, kids like to run around the palm trees and get wet. This is good for kids who are afraid of the ocean or cant swim too well yet. I think this was a nice addition to the beach here in Coney Island. I would like to see these on the beaches in Delaware!! I did get wet in the Palm Tree water a few times. I really think they are great!

In Coney Island, there is a pier (the steeplechase pier). It is primarly used for fishing and crabbing. However, we did walk out onto the pier just to stroll the boards. We did stop and take some pictures of the beach and astroland from the pier. It is a nice place to take a photo with the amusements in the background as a souvenier photo.

In addition to the beach and pier, Coney island is also known for its' hotdogs...Nathan's Hotdogs! There is a location on the boardwalk as well as the original location on Surf Avenue. The location on Surf Avenue is much larger and has a Kenny Roger's Chicken inside as well. It seemed the Surf Avenue location had an expanded menu. In addition there are limited outdoor seating at this location (one block from the Cyclone). No matter, which one you go to..the hotdogs are unbelievable. I would highly recommened making Nathan's your stop for lunch while visiting Coney Island. There is a reason why it has been around since 1916!!! Good prices & good food!!! The lines will be long, but well worth the wait!!!

As I mentioned the NY aquarium is in Coney Island. I visted there a few years ago and thought it was a nice aquarium. I would include this as part of your visit to the area, as it will only take a few hours to see this attraction. **Please read my separate review of the aquarium for more details**

Also, you will note that Coney Island is the home of Astroland and other amusements, including the CYCLONE wooden roller coaster. Astroland is full of kiddie rides. There isnt much for the bigger kids, other than the Cyclone roller coaster and Deno's Wonder Wheel... perhaps the sea dragon, the haunted house or Dante's Inferno. However, it is a nice area for the kids to have some good old fashioned fun. There are a lot of older rides here, but they all appeared well cared for and safe. I personally rode the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel. Both are good rides. You get some spectacular views of Coney Island from the Wonder Wheel. It is a really old ferris wheel (built in 1920) with both moving and stationary carts. I rode the outside stationary cart (white cart). The inside carts (red and blue) move as the wheel turns & it seemed like most people were waiting in line for these unique moving carts. You get to go around twice on the wheel for the admission price ($6.00 in 2008). I also loved the Cyclone roller coaster. I rode it a few times in a row..I believe it was $8.00 for the 1st ride, then $5.00 if you wanted to ride again (prices in 2008). The prices were slightly higher this year than in 2007..but still worth it!! It is one of the best wooden coasters around & still provides some good old fashioned fun..as it has been doing since 1927!! Make sure you have money in your pockets if you want to ride again. If you do, then you get 1st dibs on the first row & get to take you seat before the train-car is reloaded with new passengers!! **See my separate 2007 review of Astroland for more information**

Also something new I noticed this year in Coney Island was the Lola Staar Dreamland Roller Rink. It is located on the boardwalk near the Brooklyn Cyclone's baseball stadium at Keyspan Park. It was open for business, but appeared to be still in the works...roughly decorated. I heard the music coming from the old building and had to take a closer look. It is nice to see an old fashioned pasttime of roller skating brought back to this town. It feels like this town is really coming back to life with the addition of some of the older attractions/past times...like roller skating & minor league baseball games!

In addition to this new attraction, I also noticed a new place called Beer Island. It was located near the Boardwalk, in front of the original Nathans (near the school bus yard). It is basically an outdoor bar with sand as the flooring. It plays loud music & has a bar area in addition to some tables set around the beach scene. It looks like it is probably the happening place once the sun goes down. I bet it really is the place to be when they have fireworks on the beach! I didnt stay after dark, so I can't tell you first hand what it was like. I just happened to notice that this was something new in town.

As I mentioned above, Coney Island does have fireworks on the beach in the summer. I believe it is every Friday night during the summer season (june through september).

Coney Island does have several food vendors on the boardwalk as well. I have never eaten at any of them...as Nathan's is my one stop!! However, they do sell the beach/carnival style foods...lots of fried foods, seafood and such. I also know that this is a smoothie place on the boardwalk as well. In addition to the food vendors on the boardwalk, there are a few souvenier shops. The boardwalk is a short stretch, but still nice to walk. The boards are old and some are loose, but it does seem like it has improved a little since 2007.

Overall, I would recommend Coney Island. It is a gem in the rough. I hope it continues to improve and get new life breathed back into it. It is nice to see the changes and improvements that have occured in the last few years alone. It is a really nice place to go now. I will definately continue to return for the beach, rides, and food. You can easily plan a whole day or weekend here..if you include the aquarium as part of your trip.

8  Thank daisyferret1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 September 2008

I recently went to check out Coney Island, because they are planning to tear it down. The area consists of a nice beach, decent aquarium, and grungy old amusement park. While I felt it was an experience I needed to have, I was not impressed with the greasy food options and so-so crowd. It's worth the hour plus train ride from NYC if you have never been, but not relaly worth a repeat visit.

1  Thank intlfoodtrvl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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