Coney Island is not really an island it is actually a peninsula but at one point in time it was an island, so the name is not entirely a misnomer. This are is the southernmost tip of Brooklyn and is home to almost 60,000 people, the island is most widely known for its beach on the Atlantic Ocean and the amusement park. The island was a major tourist attraction and a seaside resort during the early part of the twentieth century but in later years the region lost popularity and was overtaken by newer destinations.
The rise and fall of Coney Island as a tourist destination is fascinating; it became popular following the construction of the railroad with transportation in place a number of beach resorts and hotels started mushrooming in the area in the 1860’s. However it was much later in 1876 that a Danish carpenter built the island’s first carousel starting what was to soon burgeon as America’s premier amusement park. At the height of its popularity Coney Island had numbers of amusement parks competing for business and had millions of tourists visiting annually.
The main attraction of Coney Island today is its beach; the four kilometer long beach stretches up to New York and has a walkway hat runs parallel to it known as the Riegelman broadwalk. The Amusement Parks and other attractions such as the New York Aquarium can be directly accessed through the beach. The beach is unique because it is an uninterrupted stretch that can be accessed by the public without charge. A number of arcades and shopping outlets have sprung up alongside the beach to serve tourists.
Today Coney Island’s biggest claim to fame is probably the annual hot dog eating contest that is worked off on the 4th of July each year. The event attracts international attention and is telecast live all over the world, the most interesting aspect of the competition is that is uses Nathan’s Famous hot dog stand which was put up on Coney Island in 1916.Another annual event that attracts the attention of tourists is the annual Mermaid Parade that features colorful floats and a kaleidoscope of performers.
Due to its close proximity to the city New York hotels are within easy reach, however to truly experience the area it is recommended that travelers book in to a Coney Island hotel. However for day trippers a New York hotels can be a great place to explore this area.
Author: James Cook