Reggie’s Guide to NYC: Coney Island

Ok. So I’ve survived a full year in New York City and my weekly updates have come and gone. I’m starting a couple new series on here (cue suspenseful tunes) that will surely knock your socks off 🙂

To start, I’m going to be posting a weekly ‘Reggie’s Guide to NYC’… not to be mistaken for another guide list. I am not an expert on nyc. I’m also not an expert on where to go in nyc. This guide is a work in progress… as I visit a place/series of places I’ll post about them with a first hand experience take. Sometimes it’ll be my first time there… sometimes not.

When I visit other cities, I prefer activities that revolve around doing something other than browsing the latest tourist attraction. Hopefully my series of posts will give folks (that’s y’all) an idea of what -else- you can do in the city other than trek to Time Square and stare at the pretty lights (although I can see how that can be appealing). I normally take a bunch of advice from locals myself and then act on them, think of the Reggie Guide as a 2nd filter to all the bullshit that could potentially waste your precious time in this beautiful city.

I’m still working out the kinks and structure.

My first Reggie Guide features Coney Island. Not your typical carnival/fair/theme park…. mainly because it’s something of all those three put together on a permanent (sort of) basis; located on the shore of Brooklyn. Did I mention it’s 95th birthday is Memorial Day 2015?

Best people watching experience I’ve had so far. 

Family-friendly, but be weary… it’s not disney. 

The boardwalk is nothing short of a cultural firework display… so many colors and shapes and sizes… and so many sounds. Walking about a 7 minute stretch, we ran into a latin band playing along side giant speakers, a guitar player with soul, karaoke, a hip hop DJ (there was a full blown dance sesh in the middle of the boardwalk) — all intermingled with the sounds of screams echoing from within the imaginary walls of the park.

coney3This is definitely no Disney… walking up to the gates of the park various versions of ‘Get Low’ could be heard booming from somewhere within.
coney4

coney1 coney10There’s no shortage of shops and food hubs, but it all feels so authentic. I have a distaste for theme parks mainly because nothing feels real… but at Coney Island, even with the sparkly new rides, there’s an aura of historical authenticity in the air. You can feel the presence of the last 95 years.

I think the quote “… perfection is the antithesis of authenticity” is perfectly suited for Coney Island. 
coney6When visiting Coney Island, you might as well plan to go to the beach. It would be a damn shame not to. The beach here gets packed so carry light (I wouldn’t bring a tent unless it’s off season). All the food, drinks, ice-cream, and alcohol you’ll ever want is just steps behind you. If you feel the extra couple of feet is too much to bear, simply wait 10-15 minutes and surely, some lovely gentleman will walk briskly by with hushed offerings like “beer” and “water”. [IF you walk down to Brighton Beach, every so often your friendly drink seller (a dude who just got back from the nearby store) will also carry offerings of the “Vodka” varieties.

coney11Don’t expect the beach here to be your perfect nature getaway (it’s more like a nature got away). You’ll be surrounded, as I mentioned before, so the attraction here has more to do with the beautiful array of folks and not so much the pristine nature. 
coney7 coney8The way tickets are dealt with here is a complete mess. I kind of feel like they keep their crazy irrational methods the same to maintain the historical integrity (or that’s what I keep telling myself). Each ride costs a different amount of ‘credits’ and you buy ‘credits’ at the ticket booth. I’d suggest looking over the rules before heading out so you know exactly what to expect. The folks working the park try their best to explain, but it’s not their fault the system was made by someone who had a personal vendetta against rational thinking.

coney2 coney9 coney12Cyclone: one of two original rides still active in the park (Luna Park). Built in 1927 & declared a NYC landmark in 1988.

It is pretty gosh darn cool to ride a coaster that old! I’m not going to lie, the rickety structure had me worried for a minute. 
coney13

To Bring:

* small bag (or light Backpack)

There are lockers inside the park and a place to either store your bag while you ride. Either way, you don’t want to carry something heavy all daylong.

* water bottle (you don’t want to spend $2.50 on a water bottle that could have cost you nothing)

* Sunscreen (trust me, you don’t want to learn the hard way)

* light towel (for the beach)

* cash (in case you loose the feeling in your legs and you decide to buy a drink from a passerby)

TIPS:

* Nathans Famous Hotdogs (the original) is here… if you want to be all historical and all, make sure you go to the original location (corner of Stillwell ave & Surf ave)

[There’s a special express line for hot dogs, fries, & beer… use it. Otherwise be ready to wait in line for-EVER]

* Eating cotton candy while riding the ferris wheel (Wonder Wheel) is recommended… because duh?

* Check the weather before coming, specifically for Coney Island, and be prepared. This area has a pretty big breeze going (especially right on the beach)

coney14The D, F, N & Q all end at Coney Island… from Manhattan, expect to take about 1 – 1.5 getting here.

 Have you ever been to Coney Island? What did ya think?

One thought on “Reggie’s Guide to NYC: Coney Island

  1. Good review! I went here for the first time last year. I think my favorite parts were the beach and the food. I thought the park itself was more interesting for taking cool pictures than anything else!
    I’d love for you to check out my blog if you’ve got a moment 🙂 PeopleIMetInMyTwenties.com

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