Within an hour’s travel of the bustling Manhattan streets you’ll find the golden beaches, thrilling rollercoasters and old-world entertainments of Coney Island.
Located on the Atlantic coast in southwest Brooklyn, it was a well-loved seaside resort for day-trippers from New York during the first half of the twentieth century. With the dawn of air travel after the Second World War, the amusement parks of Coney Island began to lose their appeal as glamorous far-flung locations opened up a world of possibilities for ordinary working families. The area fell into disrepair as politicians and businessmen squabbled over its fate, and those who had formerly frequented the piers on their weekends began to move further afield.
Since the dawn of the new millennium, extensive work has been done to revitalise the area. Luna Park, a once popular attraction which played host to some of the biggest rides of the pre-war era, re-opened its doors in 2010. Combining the best of stomach-flipping modern rollercoasters with more vintage attractions such as the Cyclone, dating back to 1927, this celebrated funfair is pulling in the crowds again.
Coney Island is the perfect place to catch a cool breeze during the sweltering New York summer, with a full programme of events including open-air cinema, concerts on the beach and a magnificent firework display every Friday night.
The season runs from April to October, with many venues shutting down during the quieter winter months. The island is still worth a winter visit though, its quiet boardwalks giving you a chance to draw breath away from the busy city streets. Take a trip back to the island’s wacky past at the Coney Island museum, or join the brave – and possibly mad – members of the Polar Bear Club, who dare to bare and take a dip in the icy waters in just their swimsuits on New Year’s Day!
Food stalls and cafés can be found all along the boardwalk, serving up the best of holiday fare. Grab a slice of Brooklyn pizza, a traditional Coney Island hotdog or a cloud of sweet, sticky cotton candy.
Getting to this little stretch of seaside couldn’t be simpler – just jump on a subway from any part of Manhattan and you should be on the beach within an hour.