Coney Island, New York City Ask any Brooklynite where the best place to be on a warm, sunny, summer Saturday might be and they’ll no doubt direct you to Coney Island. This historic seaside resort has seen many hanges throughout the decades, but it’s still a favorite place for locals and is often frequented by New York visitors who want to get a glimpse at this famous landmark. Early History The Coney Island area of the borough of Brooklyn (actually a peninsula, not an island) was once the playground of the rich and famous. Wealthy New Yorkers flocked there as early as the mid-1800s to enjoy a stay at the beautiful hotels and bathhouses that had sprung up along the The Boardwalkwaters of the Atlantic Ocean. For a while, after the Civil War, the area was rather divided, with houses of ill-repute on one end of the strip and family resorts at the other. Eventually, however, Coney Island became the amusement capital of the world. It all started with one roller coaster and a small park. By 1904, there were three very elaborate amusement areas in Coney Island. Coney Island's Heyday Coney Island saw big changes in 1920 when the NY subway was built. Five cents brought people of all races and persuasions to the beach, a fact that angered the rich who once frequented the area. In 1926, a Boardwalk was built to accommodate visitors and increase business. At times, it was so crowded that there was no place to sit on the sand. Decline But just a short time later, the Great Depression hit hard and the Coney Island parks slid into decline, despite the presence of such incredible rides as the historic Cyclone roller coaster - now a National Historic Landmark, the Steeplechase, and the amazing Wonder Wheel, a Ferris wheel-type ride with both swinging and stationery cars.turkeyarena.com Further decline followed over the next several decades and strained race relations in New York in the 1960s made Coney Island an undesirable place to spend the weekend. Fires occurred in the park, visitors were robbed, and gangs destroyed property. It wasn’t until the 1980s, when race relations had calmed, that attempts were made to restore and preserve this historic landmark. Today’s Coney Island Today Coney Island is a somewhat antiquated, albeit entertaining curiosity with its old amusement park, wooden boardwalk and kitschy hot dog and pizza stands. The famous Astroland amusement park is now closed, but visitors can still stroll the 3-mile Boardwalk, enjoy a Nathan’s hot dog at Surf Avenue, and take a dip in the nearby Atlantic. The New York Aquarium is also nearby. Public, private, and community initiatives continue to make efforts to revive the area and make it safe and enjoyable for all who wish to visit.