Coney Island had been on our list of “Things to do around NYC” for a while…but convincing our friends to accompany us to an allegedly loud and dirty beach was proving to be quite the task!
So one sunny day, we decided to brave the crowds and ride the N/Q train to check out the various eccentricities for ourselves! We were in for a bit of a surprise… 🙂
Getting off on Stillwell Av., we exited the sepia-toned station and were faced by an onslaught of locals that were leaving the beach. Dressed in interesting “swim wear” and (ahem!) a diverse mix, the crowd seemed …uhhh, what had we just gotten ourselves into?
With great trepidation, we walked in the direction of the beach (another 10 min) and soon we hit the boardwalk, an exact resemblance to the image we had in mind. And while it was definitely no “Hamptons”, the bright “pop” of colors of Luna Park were a delightful sight!
The Beach – Cool off in the Water
While the beach may not have the blue serene waters like the Caribbean (I mean you’re still in New York after all)…it’s wonderful to take a walk in the cool water and hear the waves! By “cool”, I really meant cold (Read frigid) waters when we were there…
It was also ridiculously windy that day, and we have photos to prove it! 🙂
We’re not exactly complaining …but just look at these poor lifeguards! Surely, they’re not supposed to be this bundled up…”Baywatch – the winter edition” anyone? 😉
There were still a few folks hanging out late to grab the last few rays of sunshine! The view from the beach looked almost ominous with a heavy mist surrounding the shore
Luna Park Rides – Up and Down the Roller Coaster
Luna Park is an amusement park that was one of the three original iconic parks built on Coney Island (the others were steeplechase and dreamland). The park was first opened in 1903, but was later destroyed in a fire in 1944. Rest assured…it’s been restored and is fully functional in its present day state!
The park is the only one remaining from the original three, and has lived a long harsh life that includes multiple rounds of management and bankruptcies over the years. Some of the older pictures of the park in its original glory truly look magnificent!
Today, there are a few of the iconic roller coasters; the “Cyclone” among loads of others, and is a fun adrenaline-packed way to spend the afternoon! (caution: just don’t eat before the rides, proven fact 😉 )
Walking through the brightly colored rides of Luna park, we crossed several kids with candy colored mouths as they feasted on the pink/blue candy floss; a signature Coney Island! (don’t you just love those colors?)
We were soon distracted by a loud cacophony of bells, “TING-TING-TING” from the game arcade on our right; signaling winners and proud owners of a large stuffed bear! “Come and try your luck! Win a panda for your love!” they cried in shrill voices.
Luna Arcade – Get in the action & win a bear!
An awesome arcade with a ton of games with an old fair like appearance, this proved to be a lot of fun!
We bought our tickets at the entrance (Luna Card that you can charge up to play the games) and made our way to enter the competition – May the best man win!!! (*picture game face on*)
First one up: Ring toss around a glass bottle for that big bear! Yeahhhh…let’s do this!
Nope, no such luck here…this game is definitely rigged!!
Moving on to our next target (literally! hehe 😉 ); The Whac-A-Mole!!! Look at those incredible prizes!
GET ’em moles Hun!!! Cha-ching!!!! Woohoo – (shall we let the little girl win?) 😉
Then ON to our very favorite game of the evening, The Whopper Water!!!!! Go get ’em tigers!!! (can you see the li’l guy screaming – that was ME!! 🙂 )
Noooooooooooo…WTH happened here?!? We were SOOOOOOOOO CLOSE!!!! 😦 😦 😦
Some additional pics of the other games that definitely deserve a special mention:
The games right outside the perimeter of Luna Park are set up by private vendors, and are not covered by the ticket. It’s definitely worth taking a walk through this elaborate maze of games, and some of these, we promise you, are VERY entertaining like this “horror show”! 🙂
Coney Island Circus Sideshow – Get your freaky fix
Coney Island continues to preserve the sideshows of the popular American culture with the ‘ol Barnum Bailey circus acts (aka. the freak show)! Remember the guy who swallows a sword, eats lightbulbs …yep all of that!
We were excited about this as we walked towards the circus sideshow building, and crossed some really cool murals like these, adding to the local charm
But sadly, they had JUST closed for the night! Well someone didn’t check the timings before hand (ahem! Let’s not take names here, shall we?) Well, I guess this will have to wait for another time…
For the rest of you: Look for the updated timings here
The cafe, and a side entrance were still open, and we walked in to check out the place.
There were brightly colored walls with retro looking posters advertising the various acts. We had looked up some of the old photos and were excited to see how well they preserved the vibe, including old music, and circus colors. (This is a great write-up with some quick history and info about the acts here)
Coney Beach Eats – Nathan’s hot dogs and a pistachio ice
We were starving by this point, and when in Coney Island…grab a Nathan’s hot dog! it’s almost a tradition of sorts, what with the hot dog eating contest and all…
To be perfectly honest, it was a bit overrated for a chili dog but it’s hard to pass up on this institution of a hot-dog factory! There’s also the burger place and a pizza shop down the road if you’re in the mood for something else!
But do NOT miss this homemade Italian gelato – deliciously creamy and the right amount of sweetness! We had the cappuccino flavor, the pistachio and the Milano flavor (yep, the Milano cookie). It was ridiculously good!
Further down the boardwalk, we stepped right into an 80’s house mix party. A curious mix of crowd, there was a diverse set of folks ahead of us; all ethnicity and age groups dancing the day away…
THIS my friends, is Coney Island; NOPE it isn’t the Hamptons and it may seem old and dilapidated in some areas… But go there with a an open mind and you won’t be disappointed by its old -world and simple charm!
Have you been here? What did you think about the place? we would love to hear from you!
Hope you enjoyed reading, xo ❤