Coney Island is another icon of New York – the famous seaside resort and amusement park on the shores of the Atlantic entertains hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
Coney Island is the westernmost part of the barrier islands of Long Island and is about 4 miles long and half a mile wide. It used to be an island separated from Brooklyn by a creek and tidal mudflats, but was developed into a peninsula with landfill in the early 20th century.
Coney Island (literally Rabbit Island in Dutch and English translations) was named for all the rabbits that were once found here during the early European settlement times, before later development eliminated their habitat.
The rides at Coney Island are all independently owned and operated and include several historically famous ones.
Wonder Wheel was built in 1918 and opened in the park in 1920. This steel Ferris wheel has stationary cars and rocking cars that slide along a track when the wheel turns.
It stands 150 feet tall and weighs over 200 tons. It can carry 144 riders at a time.
The Cyclone roller coaster was built in 1927 and is one of the oldest wooden roller coasters still in operation in the US.
It features an 85 foot 60 degree drop that is very popular amongst it’s riders for maximum thrill.
The Parachute Jump ride was originally built as the Life Savers Parachute Jump for the 1939 New York World’s Fair and was the first ride of its kind at the time.
When it was working, riders were hoisted 190 feet in the air before dropping on guy-wired parachutes.
The ride has been closed since 1968 but remains a landmark in Coney Island and is referred to as Brooklyn’s Eiffel Tower. Between 2002 and 2004 it was completely dismantled, cleaned, and repainted.
The newest ride at the park is the Thunderbolt coaster which was opened in June 2014 and replaced an earlier version from 1925 that was torn down in 1983. The new version cost 10 million dollars to build.
It features a 90 degree vertical drop and a 100 foot loop with zero-gravity roll, along with various dives, hills, and corkscrews within two minutes. It has over 2000 feet of track and reaches a height of about 120 feet and a speed of 65 miles per hour.
A Danish woodcarver, Charles Looff, built the first carousel at Coney Island in 1876. The carousel consisted of hand-carved horses and other animals standing two abreast, with a drummer and a flute player providing the music. A tent-top provided protection from the weather. The fare was five cents at that time. Today, the B&B Carousel is a 107 year old restored carousel that is a popular attraction in the park.
Coney Island has a wide sandy beach and a long boardwalk that’s great for a leisurely stroll along the shore.
The beach is groomed and replenished daily by the city and it’s position and lack of obstructions make it sunlit nearly all day.