Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My love letter to Coney Island

Coney Island's large and golden beach
When the weather begins to be nice and warm in May, New Yorkers desert the city and rush to the beaches on every weekend. They go to the well-known Hamptons, but likewise in Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn as well as Staten Island where there a number of options to relax, put your feet in the sand and gaze into the sea.

I always wondered why we don’t see many pools in the suburban landscapes around Mahnattan when looking down from the plane while leaving or landing in New York (pools are an important aspect of suburban life in Montreal); who needs a pool when you can access the ocean so easily?

You all know I love Brooklyn. Obviously, Coney Island was another place I was looking forward to visit. I remember watching a video entitled “Love letter to Coney Island” a few months ago on the Internet; this short film left me seduced by the very rich history of the place. Think about it: Coney Island has been welcoming New Yorkers since the 1830’s.

View of the beach and the parks from the pier

Situated in Brooklyn, Coney Island offers an access to the Atlantic Ocean and can be reached within only an hour subway ride. The site was formerly an outer barrier island, but became partially connected to the mainland by landfill (!!!). Famous for its nice, large and long beach, Coney Island is also known for its amusement parks – yes,with a “s”. Though it was already a resort destination for New Yorkers in the late eighteen hundreds, the place reached its peak of popularity during the first half of the 20th century. It became deserted after the World War II and gradually regained popularity since then, becoming the charming, colored, animated and diverse place that it is today.

Coney Island smells like sunscreen, tanning oil and fast food. The place dazzled me with its greatness, its colors (some aged by the sun), and its unpretentious beauty. 

Old fashion Coney Island food
Peculiar character on the boardwalk

If you leave the beach to take a walk into the amusement parks, you will find yourself in the middle of what could be an American movie scene. You'll also have the change to take a closer look at the Cyclone, a roller coaster that has been there since 1927!  

Colors, rides...
And games...

And for a very authentic experience, I recommend you go on the pier and stop your watch, sit down, and take some time to enjoy the scene. Latin-American music lovers are scattered on benches with their radio playing joyful Caribbean rhythms; they are looking at the sea like if it was reminding them of their warmer and less fast passed home – at least that’s what I imagined!

This fisherman was so proud to show me his fish
The D train is the fastest way to get to Coney Island. Like every public NYC beach, the access is free. The high season is from Memorial day through Labor day but apparently, it is worth visiting it when the place is deserted too…

Do you enjoy going out of the City when you visit New York in the summer? What are your favorite places to cool down?


  1. Awesome post with some spectacular images!! As a Jersey boy with NY heart I don't have to wander far to get away. I have lived in this area my whole 52 years on this planet. .... So I have learned to go to swim against the current....upstate NY in the Summer.....the shore in the Winter Fall and crowds...hardly any traffic....but I do admit that NOTHING can keep me away from a couple of great days in Spring Lake NJ.....body surfing and eating the best pizza in the world. Cheers!!

  2. @George Thanks for your comment! I googled Spring Lake NJ and I have to admit: it definitely looks awesome! I'll have to try it, especially if the pizza is good ;)