Coney Island

This is a walking tour for private groups. It is available any time. It is fully customizable. We can accomodate 1-100+ people.

 

Sand, sun and summer fun!

There's never a dull moment in the birthplace of the American amusement park. On the Coney Island tour we see the sites, learn about the area's history and immerse ourselves in its unique environment. Through the course of the tour what unfolds is the story of one of the world's quirkiest places: a tale of excitement, ambition and drama. A place whose landscape has been shaped by epic human and natural forces: greedy developers, powerful fires, and destructive squalls. By the end of the tour we take home with us a clear perspective on the past, present and future of Coney Island. We also gain an appreciation for its timeless character and the role it plays in New York City and around the world. 

 

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Here are some of the things we learn about on the tour:

The Boardwalk

Coney Islands's world famous boardwalk is a center of summer activity and the best people-watching spot in Brooklyn. A mix of beach-goers, families, vendors and quirky characters all blend together to create a unique experience every time!

beach boardwalk scene 

The Cyclone

The Cyclone is a wooden rollercoaster that stands out as Coney Island's most notable icon. It has entertained countless Brooklynites and worldwide visitors since opening in 1927, when a ride costed only 25 cents. If rollercoasters make you squeamish, think about this: a man once rode the Cyclone for 104 hours straight without a single break!

cyclone rollercoaster

Wonder Wheel

Another Coney Island icon, the Wonder Wheel has been in operation since 1920. It's considered an "eccentric" ferris wheel because some passenger cars are not fixed in place and were designed to slide back and forth on tracks.  

 coney island wonder wheel

Parachute Jump

The 250 foot tall "Eiffel Tower of Brooklyn" has been a borough icon for decades. It was originally built for the 1939 World's Fair, sponsored by the Lifesavers Candy Company. After the fair the entire tower was taken down then reassembled at its current spot in Coney Island. Its last set of riders enjoyed the 15 second drop in 1964 when the ride ceased operation. Since then it has kept watch over Brooklyn, outfitted with a colorful lighting display which has undergone multimillion dollar upgrades.

red amusement ride

MCU Stadium Park

MCU Stadium Park is home to the Brooklyn Cyclones (minor league) baseball team. It is the site of summer evening games known for energetic fans, juicy ballpark franks and salty sea air. The Cyclones are revered by Brooklynites because they are the first professional baseball team the borough has had in over 40 years.

mcu park baseball stadium    

 

Background

Coney Island was America's very first amusement park, serving as a summer escape for New York City's residents for over 150 years. It was built up by ambitious entrepreneurs who competed at creating the largest, flashiest attractions. Coney Island's most notable showman was a man named George C. TilyouHis legendary Steeplechase Park, home to quirky attractions with names like the Insanitarium and Human Pool Table, was a world famous destination for over 6 decades. Another revolutionary theme park was known as Dreamland, which featured unheralded attractions including a mini city that housed several hundred midgets (complete with its own midget fire department!).   

image of historic luna park at coney island brooklyn

The Frankfurter

When you think of Coney Island, what comes to mind are Nathan's hot dogs. Nathan's is synonomous with both franks and the borough of Brooklyn. However Nathan's did not invent the hot dog, nor introduce it to Coney Island. The credit for that goes to Charles Feltman. Feltman, an immigrant who arrived from Germany in 1856, sold sausages off a pushcart. One day he ran out of plates and started serving the sausages to customers on a slice of bread. Thus the frankfuter was born, named for Feltman's hometown back in Europe.

So who is Nathan ????

Nathan Handwerker originally worked at Feltman's lunch counter, preparing and serving the tasty sausages. After several years of saving he and his wife Ida (a waitress also at Feltman's) opened their own shop, undercutting Feltman's 10 cent price by charging only a nickel (5 cents). The rest was history: Feltman eventually went out of business, and Nathan's became the face of the Coney Island frankfurter.

Nathan's Famous in Coney Island, Brooklyn

Origin of the name "hot dog"

Competition between Nathan and Feltman got fierce, turning dirty and underhanded. Rumors circulated that the meat used for Feltman's franks were not beef, turkey or pork, but came from domestic animals. Thus people began refering to Feltman's frankfuter as the "hot dog."

 

 

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