NYC & Company, New York City’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization, has named Coney Island as the next destination to be featured in Neighborhood x Neighborhood, an initiative designed to increase visitation, support local businesses and encourage exploration in areas outside traditional tourist locations across the five boroughs. Coney Island has plenty to offer, including beaches, amusement parks, history and boardwalk delicacies (the original Nathan's hot dog! It's a classic!)
In the last several months, of course, Coney Island made news due to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, which Council Member Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., says has been cleaned up. “Our local attractions and businesses have worked hard to rebuild and reopen and we are eager to welcome visitors to the area to enjoy and experience our comeback.”
Cultural Institutions and Attractions
A New York Mets minor league team with five division titles, the Brooklyn Cyclones play their games at MCU Park, a 7,500 seat stadium just steps from the Coney Island boardwalk. Starting June 18, fans can watch the Cyclones take on opponents in the NY-Penn League and get a glimpse of future major leaguers in action.
Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park offers visitors a variety of family and children’s rides, including the park’s namesake ride, Deno’s Wonder Wheel. An official NYC Landmark, the 150-foot eccentric Ferris wheel was built in 1920.
Located under the Wonder Wheel, the Coney Island History Project exhibition center, offering free admission, is home to historic neighborhood artifacts, photographs, maps and ephemera of “America’s Playground.” The project also offers walking tours and performances that celebrate the colorful history of Coney Island.
Luna Park has something for everyone, with more than 40 rides and games, from heart-pounding roller coasters and classic kiddie rides to quintessential amusement park games. Luna Park is also home to the historic wooden Cyclone roller coaster, which was originally built in 1927.
On June 22 at 1pm, the Mermaid Parade, the largest art parade in the nation, will kick off at West 21st Street and Surf Avenue. Full of eye-catching and extravagant floats and over-the-top costumes, the parade is enormously popular among all ages. Following the parade, winning floats will be announced at the Mermaid Parade Ball.
The 14-acre New York Aquarium is the oldest continually operating aquarium in the United States and is home to more than 350 species of aquatic wildlife including walruses, sea lions, otters and penguins. The aquarium has a fully remodeled Aquatheater, where families can enjoy a new sea lion demonstration and Glover’s Reef, which features sea life found in the Glover’s Reef in Belize.
Just steps MCU Park, the 2.2-acre Steeplechase Plaza is home to the B&B Carousell and landmarked Parachute Jump. The western entryway to Coney Island just underwent renovations to restore the iconic plaza and carousel.
Since 1907 Gargiulo’s Restaurant has been Coney Island’s favorite Italian-American seafood restaurant. Must-try dishes include their baked clams, fried calamari, veal valdostana and the signature fettuccine verdi al Gargiulo. Diners will be amused by the decorative plaster octopus that adorns the ceiling.
Nathan’s Famous, known for its annual Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, serves up delicious beef hot dogs, golden crinkle French fries, sandwiches and cold beverages. The menu at the flagship Coney Island location on Surf Avenue includes a raw seafood bar, a new addition for this summer. With a second location on the boardwalk, visitors cannot have enough of this summer staple.
Steps from the Atlantic Ocean, Ruby’s Bar & Grill is the oldest bar and grill on Coney Island’s Boardwalk, serving up everything from hamburgers and hot dogs to fried clams and crab cakes. This family-owned and -operated establishment has an assortment of memorabilia commemorating the history of Coney Island.
Winner of a James Beard Foundation America’s Classics Award, family-owned Totonno’s Pizzeria Napolitano has been serving artisanal coal-fired brick-oven pies since 1924. Their pizzas are composed of dough made fresh daily, tomatoes imported from Italy and the family’s secret blend of spices.
For over 75 years, Williams Candy has been the candy-lover’s dream: a popular spot known for candy apples, popcorn, marshmallow treats, ice cream, fudge, cotton candy and lollipops.
Family-owned Brooklyn Beach Shop opened on the Coney Island boardwalk last year and is perfect for grabbing a memento, postcards and beach clothing. Visitors can pick up last-minute items for the beach including chairs, towels, umbrellas or a souvenir commemorating their time in Coney Island.
For more information about Coney Island, visit nycgo.com/neighborhoods.