Coney Island on a budget.....
June 7, 2016 12:57 PM   Subscribe

i've never been, my bff declared it was time that i go. help me plan the trip?

details that may or may not matter:

- we don't have a crap ton of money
- we're both older punks, ghetto living is in our blood, so, although i'd like to be safe, if there are areas around that are options for staying, that's cool
- we're both vegetarian
- when should we even go? i don't think that either of us cares about *doing* all the stuff so much as being there
- what do we do, in and around the area?
- it will probably just be an overnight trip, so we've got to jampack shit in there
- i'm not sure when we are going - definitely not for at least a month. honestly, i don't care if it's the dead of winter.
- i don't even know what other questions to ask! so whatever you'd like to tell me before i have to dive into tourism guides, please, do.
posted by megan_magnolia to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
To do:
Ride the Wonder Wheel
Go through the haunted house ride
Swim
Go to the Coney Island Museum and see some old memorabilia
If you can make the trip soon, Mermaid Parade! if not so soon, Polar Bear Swim!
Ride the Cyclone
Look at the Art Walls
Go to a Cyclones game (minor league baseball)

To eat:
Totonno's pizza
Russian food at Brighton Beach (a short walk down the boardwalk)
posted by the_blizz at 1:23 PM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh, and just find an AirBnb somewhere along the F or Q line. It'll be a quick subway ride, or a nice bike ride down Ocean Parkway.

Also good to eat: mango on a stick, often available from Coney Island boardwalk vendors.
posted by the_blizz at 1:25 PM on June 7, 2016


The Coney Island Circus Sideshow is a pretty good deal at $10.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 1:26 PM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Okay, I grew up going to CI and lived on the boardwalk with my grandparents for a few summers.

"Coney Island" is about 95% Luna Park (what used to be Astroland) and a few surrounding things, and just about everything around it is projects of one type or another, so there's not a lot to do outside of Luna Park. It's not like an active warzone -- in my experience generally everyone was chill -- but it is the projects and stuff about people getting mugged/robbed in Coney Island comes up relatively regularly because it's so jam-packed with tourists, so just stay smart.

Keep in mind Luna Park is closed a lot of the year, so if you show up in like mid-winter there will be literally nothing to do except go to stores. I wouldn't really advise going at any part except the depth of summer just because that's the only time Coney Island is really the Coney Island people imagine.

I'd advise against finding a place to stay nearby just because it's one of the most remote parts of Brooklyn and there's nothing to do nearby except maybe go to Brighton.

You can see everything it has to offer in the course of, like, an hour. There's really not a lot for adults to do there, especially vegetarian adults. It's fun to see, and hang out on the beach and boardwalk and maybe grab a drink or two, but there's not a whole lot of stuff to do if you're done going on rides and playing crappy arcade/carnival games.
posted by griphus at 1:27 PM on June 7, 2016 [12 favorites]


Oh! If you go in the summer (which, again, is when you should go) there's fireworks at about 9:30 every Friday in July and August. If you get out at W8th (instead of Stillwell) and walk on the elevated walkway right onto the beach and sit down, it's the best place to watch them. They shake the ground and fill up your entire field of vision. It's really something.
posted by griphus at 1:29 PM on June 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Here is Time Out's guide to things do to in Coney Island.

Be sure to ride the Wonder Wheel and see the Coney Island Sideshow.

And you've gotta eat something at Nathan's Famous or you just aren't doing it right.
posted by spilon at 1:30 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Events calendar for the season.
posted by xo at 1:55 PM on June 7, 2016


Don't miss the aquarium!
posted by feistycakes at 1:58 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


What Griphus said. I've lived in NY all my life, and Coney makes for an amazing day trip - one of my favorites during the summers - but it would drag a little for anything past a day trip (day trip + night trip if you count visiting Brighton Beach for dinner, but Russian food tends not to be particularly vegetarian friendly unless you really really like beets).

An upshot is that basically everything there is cheap (at least compared to a lot of other tourist attractions), so 'Coney Island on a budget' is actually pretty close to 'Coney Island not on a budget'; aside from lodging you won't need to worry too much about money.

Now, as far as stuff to do, my list for a day at Coney is generally:

-Visit Luna Park
-Ride the Wonder Wheel. This is a must-do.
-Visit the sideshow. These days it's run by a non-profit that supports education and historical preservation for Coney; they put on a great circus arts-type show.
-Eat at Nathan's
-Grab a mango on a stick with hot sauce
-Visit the NY aquarium (this can be pricy though)
-Gotham Girls, NYC's roller derby league, plays matches at an arena on Coney occasionally. If they're playing when you're there you should definitely go.
-Russian food for dinner (Ocean View Cafe is delicious and relatively cheap), then stop by some of the Russian grocery stores to grab interesting snacks and soda.

But that's about it, and that's a day. An overnight trip is plenty of time. If you were tlaking about going for two nights or more, I'd suggest rolling this in with a broader visit to Brooklyn. Coney is pretty accessible as far as public transit goes.

I guess my question to you is, it sounds like this is something you've wanted to do for a while. Why Coney? What makes you want to do this trip? If you give us an idea of why you're excited to go we may be able to better point you in the direction of fun stuff you'd like.
posted by Itaxpica at 2:03 PM on June 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Mondays at 8pm (June - Aug) they set up a screen for movies on the beach. (listing)
posted by xo at 2:03 PM on June 7, 2016


Oh, also, if you do end up in Coney Island in the middle of summer at night and you're going home and see that there's a giant, slow-moving mass of hundreds of people at Stillwell trying to go through what appears to be the only set of turnstiles: go around the left corner and through the bus depot: there's more turnstiles there and they're almost always empty.
posted by griphus at 2:18 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Brooklyn Cyclones minor league baseball game is fun. Agreed with all others that there isn't a ton to see overall.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:30 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ruby's on the boardwalk for drinks with plenty of atmosphere!
posted by AJaffe at 4:28 PM on June 7, 2016


Omg, don't go to the aquarium. It is the saddest of all aquariums.
posted by dame at 5:42 PM on June 7, 2016


you guys are so rad, thank you SO much!!!
posted by megan_magnolia at 6:30 PM on June 7, 2016


If you are staying overnight you can find an Airbnb in Ditmas Park. It's along the Q line about 20 minutes from Coney Island and it's a beautiful neighborhood with 100 year old Victorian homes, Look for a place near the Newkirk Plaza or Cortelyou Road stops on the Q.
posted by layceepee at 7:40 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you can time it right (it's in a week and a half, so this may not be possible), the Mermaid Parade is a lot of fun, although Coney Island is quite crowded then.
posted by Hactar at 1:13 PM on June 8, 2016


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