The Mermaid Parade has come and gone, and July 4, with its flourish of fireworks and hot dog gluttony has passed. So does that mean you should cross Coney Island off your summer bucket list? Not in the least–a new Smorgasburg outpost, an exhibit of two dozen street artists and other signs of renewal are all reasons to take the train to the Stillwell Ave. stop before the warm weather disappears.
Perhaps more than any other Brooklyn neighborhood, from the time of its discovery to its current state, Coney Island has donned an almost impossible number of faces. Its time as a remote, serene island, inhabited first by the Lenape Indians and then the Dutch in the early 17th century, was short-lived, as its unique proximity to both the city and the ocean predestined the area to become the “People’s Playground.”
Its golden age, when Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park bestowed a futuristic, dream-like quality upon the place, like an illustrious Epcot Center of the early 1900’s, was equally brief. (For a primer on Coney Island’s wonder years, check out this detailed history.)
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