Why you should visit Coney Island

Coney Island has always been on my NYC bucket list, and on Easter Saturday I was able to tick it off.

Gambit and I caught the Q train from 57th Street station straight down to Ocean Parkway station. It took roughly an hour each way, and for some reason, the subway wasn’t very busy during the times we traveled so we were able to get a seat for the both ways of the trip.

So what’s the deal with Coney Island?

Hot-daawg!

One of the main attractions of Coney Island for me was the hot dog. Apparently, Coney Island is where the hot dog was invented. Unfortunately, we were a bit early to try the return of Feltman’s of Coney Island hot dogs, so we were left with just Nathan’s Famous.

A bit of hotdog history

Charles Feltman was the inventor of the hotdog and founder of Feltman’s. The Feltman’s establishment used to be on W.10th and Surf Ave which is now the Cyclone Café. After Feltman’s left Coney Island 63 years ago they continued to sell their dogs in supermarkets and through selected eateries.

The current owner of Feltman’s (Feltman’s of Coney Island, LLC), Michael Quinn, has arranged to bring the Feltman’s establishment back – and to its original location, so it’s bye bye to the Cyclone Café.

Nathan Handwerker once worked as a bun slicer at Feltman’s. And you guessed it, he the same Nathan of Nathan’s Famous. Nathan opened his own hotdog store down the road when he left Feltman’s.

Verdict: Nathan’s Famous

We ordered the Original hotdog and Original fries. It was not a particularly busy day but the service was so slow. The same people that take your order and cash have to go fetch your order bit by bit and if you’re unlucky to get someone who isn’t very speedy on their feet, you could be waiting about 20 minutes for your food, which is what happened to us. There is outdoor seating once you collect your food.

Winner fries – Nathan’s Famous
Not so much of a winner weiner – Nathan’s Famous

 

The hotdog was so-so. I have had better from Yankee Stadium and from Papaya King. However, the fries were great. Hmmmm… if Burger Joint paired these fries and kept their burgers they would have something special.

Along the boardwalk

It was mild day on Saturday. As we walked along the wooden boardwalk down near the beach, we could feel the wind pick up and it became quite chilly. And of course, where there is wind and sand, sand will always end up in my mouth when I am talking (which is constantly).

My favourite sight of the day was watching people fly kites on the beach.

New York Aquarium

The New York Aquarium is in Coney Island. And that’s right folks. Enter the IDNYC card to the rescue. We visited the New York Aquarium only because we could get in for free. On the day we visited, entry prices were discounted as parts of the aquarium were closed and under construction.

Map from website: https://nyaquarium.com/map

Our visit was quite brief, partly because we had just gone to the Bronx Zoo the day before, and partly because half of the aquarium was closed.

Highlight of the day was watching the sea otters swim back and forth. I think I spent a good half hour watching one otter, forgetting that it was not a performer and therefore wouldn’t understand my hand gestures or asking if it could swim closer to me so I could take a better photo.

The sea lions were pretty awesome, too.

I saw those damn Dippin’ Dots on sale again! Next time?

Luna Park

This park would be very fun for groups of school kids, or as a first date option for people around 15-35 years old.

We did not buy any credits to play for large stuffed animals, however we did buy tickets to ride the famous, Cyclone.

Look closer, yes, that’s wood

Holy cow… I am not usually scared of riding amusement park rides.  That’s because I am usually at Universal or Disney and I genuinely feel that the upkeep and their attention to safety is at their upmost importance.

Also, because their rides are not built 90 years ago and partly on planks of wood.

I was getting very nervous while we waited to get onto the ride. Firstly, the carriage boasted it was celebrating their 90th year. I don’t think there’s a place to boast 90 years for a ride. A restaurant, sure. Secondly, as the last riders got out of the carriage, a few Cyclone workers tinkered around on the carriage for several minutes before it was released to where we waiting. Perhaps it was all part of the ‘show’ and to build anticipation, but all that did was build precipitation on my forehead! Thirdly, as soon as Gambit and I sat down, one of the Cyclone workers came over and instructed us to switch seats (Gambit was on the right, I was on the left). “Why? Are you serious?” we asked, because we thought he was just kidding with us. But no, he was not kidding. He explained that the ride slams to the left so men are to sit on the left. Awesome for me. Really, really, really not awesome for Gambit.

How was the Cyclone?

The Cyclone was crazy. I would say that the name of the ride is pretty well represented.

Of course, I have never been stuck in a cyclone and if it is anything like this ride, I hope I never, ever will.

I am writing this post nearly a week after the ride and I still think my neck is slightly dislocated from the rest of my spine.

I was absolutely terrified on the ride because I felt the carriage could have easily dislodged from the tracks twice. There was definitely the feeling of ‘air time’.

And all I can say is that Gambit’s child bearing days are over after his hips were shattered on the many sharp left turns. The Cyclone worker was not exaggerating.

Fun facts I later found out about the iconic Cyclone ride:

  • The track is 2,640 feet / 800 m long
  • It has 12 drops; the highest drop point is at 85 feet / 26 m, the first drop point is at a 58.1 degree angle
  • The ride takes approx 1min 50 secs
  • There have been 3 fatalities on record so far, including a 53 year old man who suffered several crushed vertebrae in his neck
  • There has been a petition to rename the ride to ‘the Spine Shocker’ or ‘the Hip Shatterer’ – nah, I made this fact up

Wondering if you should go to Coney Island?

You absolutely should. It only costs $2.75 each way on the subway and I could imagine it would be so nice on a sunny, summer’s day.

One of Coney Island’s major events is the Mermaid Parade. This year it will be held on June 17th.

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