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Living in Coney Island

Of legend, lore and many movies, Coney Island is known as the land of carnival rides, a lumbering boardwalk and the famed beach. The birthplace of Nathan's, the century-old eponymous hot dog stand, Coney Island is also home to a huge tourist influx in the summer months.

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You won't be wrong to feel that the pace of life is slower here. Stroll down the boardwalk or Surf Avenue and inhale the heady, bracing fragrance of saltwater and fresh ocean breezes. At this nostalgic ocean-side haunt, discover a peninsular residential neighborhood, beach, and leisure/entertainment destination. However, Manhattan remains tantalizingly close for commuters, yet distant enough for residents to feel a genuine separation from the city hustle and infinitely connected to neighbors and their community.

Coney Island real estate

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Located on Brooklyn's southernmost tip, Coney Island is extremely diverse, attracting large groups of immigrants into its existing melting pot. Residents live in single-family Victorian homes, Art Deco co-ops, 1960s-era high-rise co-ops, brick row houses, million-dollar condos and large, modern houses.

Coney Island real estate is undergoing an amazing transformation, with new businesses and residential developments springing up, or planned, near the boardwalk and throughout the area. In 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio gave another $180 million under his Housing New York plan for additional infrastructure improvements in the area.

Coney Island history

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European colonists settled the area now known as Coney Island in the middle of the 17th century. When the 84-foot boardwalk opened in 1923, Coney Island became a weekend escape for the working, eager to escape the city’s sweltering heat. Three subway lines converged at the ocean and with subway fares at a nickel, the area, now accessible to all, became known as the “Nickel Empire”.

Following the Second World War, Coney Island went into a long period of decline. With home air conditioners and cars becoming widespread in the late 1940s, beach crowds stayed closer to home and amusement parks closed, in turn. Along with the deteriorating parks and recreational areas, the neighborhood also fell victim to neglect.

Over the years, Coney Island has experienced a series of remarkable resurrections and is making yet another comeback, spurred by new rounds of development both in the community and resort area.

Coney Island restaurants

Part of the magic of living by the beach is all the summer food you can enjoy each and every day. With several iconic restaurants from which to choose, Totonno’s, an award-winning pizzeria that opened in 1924, remains a crowd favorite. This historic pizzeria has survived a fire, but continues to serve truly legendary pizza pies, with fluffy, charred crusts smeared with rich sauce and gobs of fresh mozzarella.

Gargiulo’s has been wining and dining residents and visitors since 1907. Just a few blocks from the boardwalk, this grand restaurant and banquet hall caters to all manner of wedding and birthday parties and remains familiar in a landscape of new development. The fettucine verdi al Gargiulo reels in your hunger but may feed your nostalgia.

Coney Island is the place to feed your oyster fixation and these seafood favorites are generally cheaper here than in the rest of Brooklyn. Try Ruby’s, open since 1972 with its bobby socks-era jukebox and photos of old Coney Island.

Coney Island attractions

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In 2010, the Italian amusement park ride manufacturer Zamperla opened Luna Park with 29 breathtaking rides, ranging from mild to extreme. The Luna Park Cyclone sits at the extreme end of the thrill-o-meter, guaranteed to make you scream.

Other activities include Steeplechase Park in Coney Island, an old-fashioned horse-themed coaster that serves up a wild ride. Take your mount on innovative pedestal seats designed to provide the amazing free-ride feel of Steeplechase. Another amusement park must-see is Sea Lion Park. This 16-acre amusement park was started by Captain Paul Boyton, the adventurer, who landed on the shore in 1895 and made Sea Lion Park the first enclosed and permanent amusement park in North America. While at Luna Park, you can pay homage to this local hero; visit the memorial plaque in honor of his invention of the Shoot-the-Chutes ride.

Coney Island shopping

Quintessentially Coney and close by Nathan's is the Brooklyn Beach Shop. Located right on the boardwalk, it's the ideal place to wrap up a day of sun and fun with funnel cakes and boardwalk games. Rather uniquely, this shop sells true novelty New York City souvenirs that bypassed the midtown tourist stand.

Satisfy your sweet tooth and taste for nostalgia at William's Candy Shop. For over 75 years, this veteran confectioner has delighted visitors with the treats we all remember from childhood, including fudge, carny candies, cotton candy, and most popular: Williams's caramel apples.

Coney Island events

Coney Island is a never-ending carnival. While beachside fun and frolicking is typically seasonal, this bustling Brooklyn seaside community has events year round.

After a day on the beach, watch the fireworks shoot off at 9:30 pm every Friday during the summer. Baseball fans can watch the Brooklyn Cyclones play in their sparkling new baseball stadium right on the boardwalk. Get your tickets early; games are sold out most nights of the summer.

The Ford Amphitheater at the Coney Island Boardwalk is the epicenter, where the state-of-the-art Seaside Park meets the Community Arts Center. This outdoor live entertainment venue opened in the summer of 2016, the first of its kind in the Tri-State area. It’s a mix of concerts, family shows, sports, comedy, and multicultural events. Take your family or friends to see Don Henley or Culture Club. This is surely a multi-generational evening worth sharing.

What's In The Area: Coney Island

Driving Walking

Local tips and information for going out in the Coney Island from The Corcoran Group. Explore dining, shopping and nightlife.

All Coney Island tips




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