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    Coney Island: a merry-go-round ride in New York's historic amusement park

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    Martí Micolau

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    The wide and long sandy beach, the wooden promenade where you can stroll at sunset, the amusement park rides, little shops and kiosks, people eating hot dogs, a retro and relaxed atmosphere… are we still in New York? Incredibly, the answer is yes.

    We are in fact in Coney Island south of Brooklyn, only 50 minutes from Manhattan, yet another world compared to chaos, modernity and skyscrapers: a world I recommend you visit if you are on vacation in New York for several days.


    • How to get to Coney Island
    • What to see in Coney Island
      • The Boardwalk
      • New york aquarium
    • Luna Park of Coney Island: prices and timetables
      • Deno's Wonder Wheel
      • Cyclone
    • Events at Coney Island
    • I film girati a Coney Island
    • Where to eat
    • Accomodation

    How to get to Coney Island

    Getting to Coney Island from Manhattan is simple. There are subway lines D, F, N, Q that connect these two areas of New York and you can use the Metrocard.

    • The Metro stop closest to the center of Coney Island is Coney Island - Stillwell Avenue served by lines D, F, N and Q. As you exit the station you will be in front of Nathan's Famous where you can eat the king of hot dogs and just a 4 minute walk you will be at Coney Island Luna Park.
    • An alternative subway stop is West 8 Street - New York Aquarium for lines F, Q. Just a 2 minute walk away you will find the NY Aquarium, while the Luna Park with the famous Ferris wheel is about 4 minutes away on foot.

    For more information on how to get around the city take a look at our guide dedicated to the New York subway.

    What to see in Coney Island

    Coney Island was among the first New York beaches to attract, in addition to the popular class who lived in Brooklyn, families and couples from Manhattan to enjoy the sea, the beach and the sea breeze. At the beginning of the last century Coney Island, which is actually a peninsula and not an island, began to become popular and the funfair construction it definitively sanctioned its success.

    A curiosity: the name 'luna park' we use today derives from the park inaugurated in 1903 and called Luna Park in honor of the owner's sister, Luna Dundy. Among the things not to be missed in Coney Island, in addition to the well-known Luna Park, there are certainly two main attractions that are worth visiting especially during the summer.

    The Boardwalk

    A walk along the Boardwalk, wooden walkway, will take you along the seafront until you reach Brighton Beach and Little Odessa. We are in the Russian and Ukrainian quarter and here it is not difficult to find restaurant menus translated into Cyrillic.

    During the summer it is even possible to take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean a Brighton beach or simply sunbathe on the wide sandy beaches.

    New york aquarium

    Lovers of marine life will appreciate the New York Aquarium on Coney Island, on Surf Avenue and West 8th Street. The sea lions are the undisputed protagonists of this park and their show attracts adults and children from all over the world.

    Admission costs $ 11. The opening hours are usually from 10 to 16:30 you can still check on the official website for any variations or limitations of the water shows depending on the weather.

    Luna Park of Coney Island: prices and timetables

    Access to the Luna Park is free while the individual rides are subject to charges. In winter this area is rather melancholy, the amusement park is closed and obviously there is not much life on the promenade and on the beaches.

    In any case, a visit to this unusual part of New York can be very interesting. Coney Island Luna Park generally opens at end of March, beginning of April until mid-September. These are the best months to visit this peninsula at the southernmost tip of Brooklyn.

    Inside Luna Park the use of the mask it is only required when social distancing cannot be maintained.

    Deno's Wonder Wheel

    Despite some new and modern rides, the main attractions here are there Deno's Wonder Wheel, the Ferris wheel built in 1920 in pink and mint green almost 50 meters high and the only one in the world to offer the possibility to choose between static cabins and those that move down along the spokes of the carousel itself.

    The opening hours are seasonal, let's go and see them in detail:

    • April, May, June, September and October: from 12 only on weekends
    • from 26 June until labor day (first Monday in September): from 12 every day

    In case of bad weather times may vary, check the official website to be sure. There is also one every Friday from June 16 to September 11 fireworks show.

    A ride for adults costs 10 carnival credits (you will need $ 50 to buy 40 credits).

    If you want to save some money, including admission to many other New York attractions, or do not want to resort to purchasing credits, consider that a ride on the Ferris wheel is included in the package. New York Pass.


    Together with the Ferris wheel the wooden roller coaster Cyclone, built in 1927, are one of Coney Island's most famous and iconic historic attractions. Want to get a taste of what it's like to whiz up and down this popular attraction? Check out the video below.

    Events at Coney Island

    In addition to Hot Dog Eaters Race at Nathan's which has been taking place on the 4th of July for over a century, I advise you not to miss it Mermaid’s Parade, the Parade of the Sirens. There is no fixed date, but it is generally done in June. The parade of mermaids and pirates is a carnival of colors and music: guaranteed fun.

    Another popular Coney Island event is the dive into the icy waters of the ocean on Sundays in winter and on January 1st of each year at 13pm at the Polar Bears Club.

    I film girati a Coney Island

    Location chosen for its romanticism, its decadent retro beauty, the wide beach and the Russian neighborhood, Coney Island is one of the most famous outdoor sets in New York. Just to name a few: Morris Engel chose her for The Little Fugitive in 1953, Woody Allen for Annie and Me in 1977, James Gray for Little Odessa in 1994 and Darren Aronofsky for Requiem for a Dream in 2000. The final scene of I warriors of the night directed by Walter Hill, 1979.

    If you want to discover the main film locations of the Big Apple you can download our dedicated ebook for free.

    Again with regard to the films directed by Woody Allen, who never missed an opportunity to emphasize his love for this part of New York, it has recently been released. Wonder Wheel in which the golden age of Coney Island and its Ferris wheel are the backdrop to the stories of four characters.

    For a more complete discussion of the subject, I refer you to our article on the film locations of Coney Island.

    Where to eat

    Sample Eastern cuisine specialties in the restaurants and cafes of Little Odessa, particularly along Brighton Beach Avenue, under the elevated subway tracks is definitely an experience to try.

    If after the rides on the rides you don't have an upset stomach, you definitely have to try un hot dog da Nathan’s at 1310 Surf Avenue at the corner of Stillwell Avenue. The venue is located across from the Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue subway station. Opened in 1916, it is said that here the first hot dog was invented.

    Be it truth or legend, you will surely not be able to stop at the first one and you will want to taste others. Speaking of American records (or 'American' if you prefer!), The International Hot Dog Eating Contest takes place in this place every 4th July, i.e. the competition to see who eats the most hot dogs the fastest. The record remains on display in the tall billboard, the Wall of Fame, for the whole year until next July 4th… provided that the record is beaten!


    As for the choice of where to sleep in the area, we would advise against Coney Island, first of all because there are not many accommodations nearby and then because it would be a rather uncomfortable choice to visit Manhattan. If you want to know which are the best neighborhoods to sleep in the Big Apple you can read our dedicated page by clicking on the link below.

    Our tips on accommodation in New York

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