After about an hour’s ride on a Brooklyn-bound D subway from Midtown Manhattan, you’ll reach the final station on the line, or, Coney Island, aka “America’s Playground.” The trek from Manhattan is a necessary part of the experience –– the ride from 53rd Street consists of 26 stops, many of which afford an above-ground view of various neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
When you exit the Stillwell Avenue station, cross the street and the famous boardwalk is just a short jaunt from there. You’ll notice the array of rides in Luna Park, several roller coasters, games, Nathan’s Hot Dogs and other eateries, and just beyond the boards, a wide, deep beach, embellished with umbrellas, romping toddlers, and adult sun worshippers.
The crowd at is as colorful as the amusements; it’s no surprise that every age and ethnicity frequent this carnival-like NYC attraction. But Coney Island is far more than a place where locals and visitors go for sun and fun. This pocket of southwestern Brooklyn invokes a lost era; like a fine film, Coney is a beach town with a story that’s been years in the making.
This past Sunday, I was ecstatic to make the trip, if only for an afternoon. I’ve talked about visiting for the past three or four years, and this day was long overdue. It turns out that Coney Island is almost exactly as I had imagined it –– amusing, outlandish, theatrical, motley.
Mike and I wandered around the boardwalk, took in the sights including the restored B&B Carousell. We shot lots of photos, ate hot dogs, and rode the near 90-year-old Cyclone (we’ll save the death-defying Thunderbolt for a later date). His skills almost won us a giant stuffed animal, but his muscle power ran short, so a Hawaiian lei and the memory were our only souvenirs.
Until next time Coney Island –– Get the Thunderbolt ready for my return.
The N, Q, and F subway lines also go to Coney Island.