The New Season at Coney

Well, it was 95 degrees last night and I just finished a new book, so the Countess (who knows how to take care of me) dragged my dazed carcass down to Coney Island for a little diversion. I’d always wanted to eat at one of the Russian joints on the Brighton Beach boardwalk so we began there (Tatiana’s, where my flounder was so fresh its eyes were staring up at me from the plate). Sadly, the air wasn’t any less stifling at the beach, but we did get relief by walking ankle deep in the water for miles and miles. From there we stopped off at the Coney Island Freak Bar for a restorative and learned about a very exciting series of spook shows, about which you will hear much more here in future, as we intend to attend!

As for the amusement zone, much good news to report! Some of the independent operators are back on one of the empty lots (restoring yet another dozen or so rides back to the landscape), and Luna Park’s Scream Zone has added two great new attractions, the Boardwalk Flight (a heart stopping ride in which the customer is dropped from the top of a tall tower, goes into free fall, and then swings over the boardwalk like Superman in flight), and even better (because I have no intention of ever going on the Boardwalk Flight), GO-CARTS have returned to Coney. These were a major attraction out there up until a few years ago; it’s wonderful to have them back. Furthermore, work is under way on a new area dubbed “Steeplechase Park” (in honor of the original), which will contain the B & B Carousell. (Old timers like me remember when the famously mis-spelled carousel used to operate on the other side of Surf Avenue.) Construction on the housing for the ride looks quite far along. The sign out front promises also lots of shops (as does a sign on a new building on Surf Avenue across from the subway station). Frankly, I hope all of these shops — unless they sell inflatable sea horse floats and so forth — TANK. Who goes to the amusement park or the beach to SHOP??? Are the planners that unimaginative? These spaces need to contain rides, arcade games, shooting galleries, roller rinks, wax museums and so forth. Get real! But on the plus side they do mention the new Steeplechase will also include “performance spaces” — I have high hopes for that.

At any rate, the cool aspect is the amusement area is beginning to fill in — it extends all the way from the Aquarium to the Cyclone’s stadium. It’s very exciting. And there are improvements on the boardwalk. Ruby’s, Lola’s and an expanded Nathan’s remain, and there is a new shop selling beach sundries.

And to cap it all off we stayed til dark and watched the spectacular fireworks display. They do it every Friday night at 9:30 throughout the season.

In sum: though it will be mobbed, you should go there today! At 12pm noon, there will be a huge celebration for the Cyclone’s 85th birthday! (Anyone who wants to stand in line on a 95 degree day to ride on an 85 year old roller coaster, be my guest! But as we’ve already intimated there’s much else to do) More info here.

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