Backing Coney Island

By | Category: Travel destinations

the Cyclone Roller Coaster

Coney Island has been portrayed in old American black and white films as the place New Yorkers head to when the work is done. It’s their weekend retreat from the trials of the jobs, a place where amusement parks and fun are mixed with a congested beach where you might be lucky to see a square inch of sand. It’s not like that; well – not any more!
But you will hear a lot about Coney Island over the next few months as the tourism promotion arm for the city, NY & Co, markets the beach destination to all. Its heyday is probably over as modern New Yorkers head for more exotic destinations but for us visitors, it is a chance to see a New York tradition without the legions of people that seemed to go there in every B musical and boy- meets- girl movie that film studios churned out in their dozens. Then it was called “America’s Playground.” And some of that history survives.

The huge Ferris wheel in Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park is still there, 93 years after it still opened in the days when prohibition became legal but before flappers flapped and the depression hit. The cyclone roller coaster – another relic of the 1920’s – is based in Luna Park along with at least forty other rides.

Coney Island’s links to the movies extends back even further. Aerial Slide at Coney Island was filmed there in 1897 and Fatty Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand and the first real star comedian of the film industry, John Bunny, made films there. By the time Betty Grable made Coney Island in 1943, the resort had appeared in dozens of films either in life or having exterior shots filmed there. And that continues to this day although in recent films such as Requiem for a Dream and Tom and Nichole the amusement parks and rides have been portrayed as rather run-down.

Tell that to locals and they will point to the success of the soon-to-be-held Mermaid Parade which is the largest art parade in the country or the broad range of restaurants which combine the traditional such as Gargiulo’s which has been there for over a hundred years to the trendy new bars that have sprung up.
Now the clean-up after the storm called Sandy hit the place has been completed, new attractions have come as the old ones re-opened. It could be the time for you to re-think your attitudes to Coney Island as well.

For more information about Coney Island, click here.
For more information about New York generally, click here

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