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Coney Island: Worth the Trip?

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I will be in NYC in the near future (have been several times before) for 2 1/2 days. I am a die hard foodie. My usual suspects are in line: Babbo, Peter Luger's, etc. However, I have never been to Coney Island. I am also a big hot dog fan. I would like to know if it is worth the trip to Coney Island to visit the original Nathan's hot dogs and maybe grab some pizza from Totonno's out there. I realize it's a 50-60 minute one way trip there on the subway.

Thanks in advance.

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Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

Totonno's
1544 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

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  1. Somehow a hot dog always tastes best at Nathan's Coney Island. I get mine with saurkraut and relish. Fries and a Root Beer complete my meal.
    Totonno's should not be missed. They have a place on 2nd Ave in Manhattan too.
    You might also want to check out Brennan and Carr on Ave U and Nostrand Ave for a unique roast beef sammich experience.
    ENJOY!!!

    -----
    Totonno's
    1544 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

    3 Replies
    1. re: Motosport

      Trusted sources tell me that the Totonno's in Manhattan does not match the Totonnos' in Coney Island.

      As for Nathan's, although I love myself a good hotdog, I don't see the appeal (particularly when you see the calorie counts prominently displayed on the menu board -- as required by NYC regulation; the chili cheese fries are something like 1,400 calories!).

      -----
      Totonno's
      1544 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

      1. re: Blumie

        I didn't think Totonno's in Coney Island was all that. It was very good, but with Keste, et al. in Manhattan, I don't think Totonno's alone is a good enough reason to go to Coney Island.

        1. re: Blumie

          Love the original Totonno's and the ones in Manhattan just don't compare. Not even the same ballpark, and it has nothing to do with nostalgia. I live near the one on 2nd and 26th and wish it measured up to the original

          -----
          Totonno's
          1544 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

      2. Nathan's: In my opinion, the same as what you can get at Newark airport, but it's fun to see it and drink a big beer.

        Totonno's: I've only eaten at the Coney Island branch and thought it was good, but I personally would not make a special trip. I thought DiFara's worked better as a pilgrimage.

        Honestly, when I go out Brighton it's for the Russian/FSU food (and drinking). Tatiana's is fun if you know what you're getting into. I had fun eating and drinking at Gambinus. I also enjoyed cafe Kashkar as something different. I wish I had more experience at the Georgian/Azeri/Armenian places down there. I'd love to know what restaurant the Armenian godfather of that big medicare scam threatened disembowel a guy in.

        -----
        Totonno's
        1544 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

        2 Replies
        1. re: Mr Porkchop

          The Coney Island Nathan's still sells some of the old-school menu items like frog legs and chop suey sandwiches. You could have a tasty snack there and still have room for Totonno's afterwards (expect significant char on every slice). DiFara's is okay, but nothing beats the smack-your-mama goodness of a Sicilian slice from Spumoni Gardens.

          1. re: foodiemom10583

            Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!! Spumoni Gardens!!! Yummy unusual sauce on top of the cheese Sicilian pizza. Don't forget the fabulous spumoni for dessert.

        2. Totonno's and Nathan's are food destinations for us, although I don't think the park itself is open this time of year.

          8 Replies
          1. re: coll

            If the weather is nice most Coney Island rides will be open during the day especially on weekends.

            1. re: Motosport

              Last I heard they start closing weekdays the day after Labor Day, and completely shut down after Columbus Day? Haven't been since all the changes though (couple of years) hopefully Ruby's bar is still there. Our itinerary is usually: park near Totonnos and get a pie, then on to the Cyclone, maybe the Wonder Wheel too (still there I think?) then hang at Ruby's for a couple of hours for drinks and clams on the half shell, and finish up with early dinner at Nathan's. A perfect day. I think we're a little afraid to make the trip and find all the weirdness gone forever. At least our favorite things made the cut.

              1. re: coll

                If I am not mistaken the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel are both listed as "Historic" sights and will be there forever or until another huge fire.
                Your little tour sounds perfect. Do you know that Nathan's actually had a "back room" dining room with waiters back in the day? It was a great first day spot when I wanted to impress an out of town gal with my Brooklyn savvy. Share a couple of dogs, french fries, root beer and then a ride on the Wonder Wheel. Swinging car of course!!

                1. re: Motosport

                  I almost had a heart attack the first time my husband took me on the Wonder Wheel, he thought it would be funny not to warn me. Ha ha.

                  1. re: coll

                    You're not my ex are you??
                    She freaked out as soon as the car began to swing. She was screaming but the operator would not stop the ride for her. I think he gave us an extra trip or two because she was going nuts and cursing him out. She was from Scranton. Maybe it was an omen?
                    My trophy bride loves the Wonder Wheel.

                    1. re: Motosport

                      OK now I'll admit it, I cried hysterically . And I'm from the Bronx! But I'm still with him, all these years later. Never did the Parachute Jump and I'm told that would have really did me in.

                      If she was so upset, why did they think extra rides would help? I couldn't wait to get off that deathtrap car, 2 x4s held together with chicken wire. Now that I think of it, first time I got off the Cyclone, my legs collapsed on me. That's why I always need Ruby's immediately afterwards.

                      1. re: coll

                        Ruby's, what can't they do?
                        I can still see the sadistic grin on the guys face each time we passed him as she screamed "You (*^(&^$%#$)*&^)^%^%$%#%@#^%@*!!! Let me off!!
                        She moved back to Scranton and married a banker!

                        1. re: Motosport

                          Well if anyone wants to test their compatibility, add the Wonder Wheel to the list.

                          BTW we like Ruby's french fries better than Nathans. Same crinkle cut. Sacrilege I know, but they seem to cook them with more love. Gee I wish it was still summer......

          2. "Frankly" (I know, I know..Get the hook) Neither place is worth the trip.

            11 Replies
            1. re: Tay

              Tay! Shame on you! Coney Island and Nathan's are "essential" Brooklyn.

              1. re: Motosport

                Sorry Moto, but to me there is nothing 'essential' about Nathan's in specific and CI in general

                -----
                Moto
                394 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211

                1. re: Tay

                  Were you born and raised in Brooklyn?? Coney Island is still a refuge from the Summer heat for Brooklynites and Manhattanites. Check it out on a hot July 4 weekend. Would Manhattan be the same without Central Park? It is a constant, essential part of the Brooklyn experience.
                  For me, and many others, Nathan's completes that experience. There is something about eating a dog on the boardwalk that just seems right. Maybe it's the salt air.

                  1. re: Motosport

                    Born...No. Raised...Yes.
                    While I can appreciate your sweet walk down memory lane, having worked there for 2 yrs I'm sorry to say I do not share your view of the eateries except The Soup Shop.

                    1. re: Tay

                      I'm born and raised from Brooklyn, and I have never been to Coney Island. To me "essential" Brooklyn is about the immigrant enclaves/neighborhoods and their good eats. Brighton Beach would be included in that, as would Sunset Park, Greenpoint, Boro Park, and Bensonhurst. But to each its own on what's essential.

                      1. re: funniduck

                        Never been to Coney? How does that even happen?

                        1. re: noisejoke

                          Shrug. I've never had a reason to go? Parents never took me? I now have no interest in going, since I've always just assumed it's a tourist trap? I've never been to the Statute of Liberty either. The first time I went to the Empire State Building or WTC was for work actually. lol.

                          I'll take a trip through any immigrant neighborhood over any of those landmarks any day. I think that's what people are missing out on when they come to NY. But I'm the kind of person that can spend hours in an ethnic grocery store.

                          1. re: funniduck

                            So would I, but it's easy to forget that Coney Island was, and still is, an ultimate ethnic neighborhood. The early strong Italian and Jewish layers are still visible--watch for small, stuccoed homes on the side streets--and who's having fun on the boardwalk, or the rides, and who do you imagine lives just a block off Surf Avenue? Add to that, still thousands more of working class and immigrant families out for fun, and, well, you tell me.

                            1. re: bob96

                              I always get the impression that most people don't go wandering through the neighborhood. They just go to the beach or the park. Oh and I forgot to mention I hate the beach. That's probably the biggest reason why I've never gone.

                              By all means, people should go, but I've never had the interest.

                            2. re: funniduck

                              Coney Island is only visited by the most intrepid tourists. An hour out of the city on the train? Witness the OP's inquiry in the first place! And I'd never call it a trap. There's crap to eat and crap to buy. But, those few blocks remaining are an amusements area. For better or worse it's the predecessor to Disney and Six Flags.

                              I'm a native, too. I understand wanting to avoid tourists. But, it wouldn't be NY w/o the great places and history that attract the crowds. Believe me, there are plenty of places in the US that have next to nothing, or even less, you want to see, experience or even read about.

                              IMHO you could probably get by never going to the Statue of Liberty. Though I'm surprised you never had the opportunity with visiting friends. But, the Empire State is not nearly tantamount to the WTC. Outside of the horror of 9/11, the latter paled in historical significance and beauty, though it was architecturally interesting.

                              And I'll heartily agree with bob96. The actual neighborhood of Coney Island has nothing to do with your misconception.

                              1. re: noisejoke

                                I don't think we're disagreeing. I don't have a misconception of the neighborhood either. I just never never made an effort to go there. I've been to the neighborhood of Brighton Beach (not the actual beach) and it's awesome. But not to Coney Island and I don't think it's wrong.

                                And I don't mean to be rude, but you're insinuating I don't know what the rest of the US is about, and I do. I travel for work, sometimes to small towns. And I think it's fun to explore them too.

              2. If it wasn't so cold, I'd say it's definitely a trip every new yorker should take. It depends how long you will be here for. It's definitely a Real NYC experience.

                The hot dogs at that Nathans are hands down the best. I have no idea why, but they just are. french fries are great too.

                And totonno's is a very good experience
                and the boardwalk is really nice.

                Then walking to Brighton beach, and Ave U is an awesome foodie experience..

                add all of these up, and it's not to be missed. but any one of them singularly might not be worth the trip.

                1. Definitely worth the trip, and not "just" for the food: Nathans and Totonno are, models of much of NY's classic eating, and both are destinations as much for the people and setting as for the great franks and pies. FWIW, Totonno is not comparable to Keste or Motorino, et al: it's not Neapolitan in this modern sense, but a traditional (ca. 1930s) NYC-origin coal oven pie that celebrates its Neapolitan roots.
                  To judge either of these places not "worth the trip" simply on the basis of the food alone (and they are, IMHO, very much worth it) misses one huge point: the place, the boardwalk, the ocean, the crowds, the unselfconscious playfulness of it all. It's a little like discussing the merits of eating at , say, 2 classic Roman osterie without mentioning that they're in, well, Rome. It's not always about eating by lists of food winners and losers. It's also about a little adventure. And some fun. And, yes, memorable eating.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: bob96

                    Major ditto. It's a fun day at NY's shore, and I agree with those posters who find Nathan's franks and fries just taste better at Coney, just as cotton candy always tastes best at the circus. Sometimes the set and setting are as important - or even more so - than the food. It's about the overall experience.

                    And yes, if the OP goes, a stroll around the Brighton section should definitely be on the itinerary.

                    1. re: Striver

                      Totally agree with bob96 and striver. might also add that the trip out there on the F train from Manhattan is kind of fun--the train is above ground a lot, including the ride between smith/9th st and 4th ave--the highest point in the entire subway system!

                      If it's a nice day, you can't go wrong going out there. I might skip it in windy or cold weather, tho.

                      1. re: missmasala

                        Remember many sunny March days blistered by cold boardwalk wind and restored with a couple of Nathan's franks.

                    2. re: bob96

                      bob96...You make it sound wonderful...Sadly, it's really not

                      1. re: Tay

                        Part of it is the permanent imprint of years of childhood memories; part of it is looking past the squalor, junk, and blight for the wonderful corners that are left. The sea and sand are the same (and in fact better than they were), and so is the sky. And surrounded by folks simply enjoying the day out can be in a way thrilling. This, and a Totonno marinara pie (extra anchovies) to wash down those franks can seal the deal.

                        1. re: bob96

                          I thought Totonnos was one of the better slices I've ever had. And yes, as a first timer, I think it's worth it. I went with my father, who grew in Queens and went as a child but had not been back in decades.

                          I wrote about it on my blog: http://turntableskillets.wordpress.com/

                        2. re: Tay

                          "wonderful" and "worth the trip" (which is what OP asks) are obviously very subjective things. I understand you might not think so, but I think that if someone is visiting new york, a visit to historic coney island, combined with very good pizza at totonnos and a good hot dog and fries at nathan's (and that's not even getting into the "quintessentially brooklyn" vibe of totonno's) and a fun ride on the F train is totally "worth the trip."

                          1. re: missmasala

                            Well said mismasala!!!
                            The train ride itself is a blast for an out of towner. When friends visit NYC I always say "Walk, take a bus or subway!! Stay out of the tourbuses and taxis if you can avoid it and see and get the feel for NYC"

                            1. re: missmasala

                              Speaking from my own brand of subjectivity I'd say this:

                              Going for the unique experience - Worth the trip (though summer is better)

                              Going primarily for the food at Nathan's and Totonno's - Not worth it for me, I need some other reason to go down there. I respect people who have fond memories of Nathan's, and appreciate that it tastes like cheese covered childhood for some, but I don't think the food at the original is appreciably better than anywhere else. I think there's comparable pizza in Manhattan too. I eat at both places while I'm out there, but it's a sideshow (pun intentional) to the rest of the experience.

                              All that said, i've gone out to Coney to see the hotdog eating contest every year I've been in NY.

                        3. FYI, the Cyclone is closed until Palm Sunday 2011, but Deno's Wonder Wheel Park is open weekends and holidays starting at noon. There are year-round attractions open (some people are addicted to the Saturday night cult movie showings at the Coney Island Museum) and the boardwalk is a great place to people-watch any time of year.

                          1. OMG I just mistakenly deleted a poetic and heartfelt tribute to Coney Island. Geez. Ugh....

                            Go now! Go in the winter! It's quiet and "beautiful" and vast and lonely and seductive. It's the history of Brooklyn, New York and the US. It's the Poor Man's Riviera and it was my dad's poor kid's joy in the 30s. He made us go for his 80th birthday just last summer. The clams were great, Williams Candy is still great (I prefer the marshmallow and nut things in the window!) and Nathan's still makes my favorite snappy, garlicky all beef hot dog. If there are no crowds, get the wonderfully potato flavored fries well done. And, no, up until recently there wasn't anything with which to make "cheese covered childhood memories." These were Jews, after all. You can skip the frozen frogs legs, but my folks always get them, just cuz. I don't think the chow mein on a bun has survived the tiny "Coney Island Delights" menu.

                            The Cyclone is closed for the season, but the new Luna Park was wonderful last summer - well run and supervised rides (confounding those of us with thirty and forty year old experiences) and is open until this weekend, celebrating Halloween. Deno's Wonder Wheel park is open weekends this month, too. And yes, the Cyclone and Wonder Wheel (and the Parachute Jump) are landmarked.

                            Go, go, GO to the Coney Island Museum. The burlesque show is better and funnier than ever. The museum is filled with Dick Zigun's hazerai - ride, attraction and midway artifacts, photos, signs and stuff. There's always a film series, as has been noted, and Ken Burns CI doc is usually running (with DVDs for sale in the great and not overpriced gift shop). The bar features Coney Island beers, natch. But, you should go to Ruby's too. Always.

                            Bundle up and stroll the boardwalk. I almost prefer January to July.

                            http://www.candytreats.com/
                            http://www.coneyisland.com/museum.shtml (creepshow at the freakshow!
                            )http://www.lunaparknyc.com
                            http://www.wonderwheel.com/informatio...
                            http://www.rubysconeyisland.com/
                            http://nathansfamous.com/PageFetch/ge...
                            http://www.coneyislandcyclone.com/

                            I'll see ya there!

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: noisejoke

                              I hate when I loose a long post, so glad you took the time to re-do it. I think you just talked me into going, if not this winter (I know what you mean, desolation is nice too) definitely first thing next year. Sounds as good as ever.

                              1. re: noisejoke

                                You're telling me that Nathan's cheese-bacon fries aren't kosher? ;-) I guess that rules out the clams too though.

                                1. re: Mr Porkchop

                                  It's funny. My family is about as far from Kosher as you can get. We're easily three generations of "non-academic" atheists, as I call it, and nothing gets in the way of us big boned, small stature, cave dwelling Ashekanazi types and our food - especially shellfish, which to my parents is pretty much the peak of culinary delight (the frozen frogs legs not withstanding). But, you'd never see a glass of milk next to a salami sandwich on our table. And you still won't, at their house.
                                  Specifically, however, as someone who's had the pleasure as a musician to travel through and eat in most of our 50 states, I can tell you that cheese and chili/cheese on our junk food is from Chicago, or Wisconsin or Cincinatti or DC and goes with their fries or spaghetti or dogs (or Coneys as they say in Chicago, Coney Islands as they say in Detroit), and it only migrated here over the past two decades or so. NY Jews were gorging on steamed lobsters and oysters without guilt eons before anybody thought of pumping hot orange processed product on a simple crinkle cut.

                                2. re: noisejoke

                                  Williams catered a candy table for a family wedding we had last year. It was amazing.

                                  1. re: foodiemom10583

                                    Genius! I wish I thought of that.

                                3. Without even reading what other people have posted here I will say that no, it is NOT worth going to Coney Island. I live in Brooklyn off the F train which is what you can take to get out to CI and after having been twice last summer (a concert and a cyclones game) I was so grossed out by the overall scene and had my fill for a very long time.

                                  Honestly, you can get a Nathan's hotdog anywhere and for pizza you should really head to Difara's in Midwood. The best. The subway ride out to CI isnt really so terrible it just simply isn't worth it. It's so gross out there. It smells, it's dirty, and the old novelty and charm sadly has faded into this depressed state. Yukky.

                                  11 Replies
                                  1. re: rebloonin

                                    Boy, do I disagree! I grew up in Brooklyn and have family members that still live in Trump Village and are at CI almost every weekend. We were at CI several weeks ago.

                                    Yes, there are grungy places. Yes, there are side streets that are smelly. You do need to watch where you're walking. It can get very crowded and the crowds (or individual members thereof) can be obnoxious.

                                    However, there is nothing like getting your Nathan's hot dog, fries (with the red pitchfork), and drink of choice, bringing it up to the boardwalk, and eating while you watch people from all over the world and from every socioeconomic background walk across a piece of American history against a background of the Atlantic.

                                    If you go at sunset, it's really something to see the lights come on against the cornflower blue sky. It's so romantic to walk along the beach at night. It's even fun to go to a dive like Beer Island and have a few.

                                    Try to see past the litter, the smell of human fermentation, and the folks you may not want to have over for cocktails and allow yourself to experience the place that millions of New Yorkers have flocked to for over a hundred years.

                                    Totonno's is good and DiFara's is fine, but as I've said before, you'll never have a slice like Spumoni Garden's Sicilian.

                                    1. re: foodiemom10583

                                      foodiemom you said it best!!
                                      Somehow almost 60 years later those dogs and fries still taste just as good.
                                      For a great look at the old Coney Island see The Little Fugitive 1953 version.

                                      1. re: Motosport

                                        I accidentally sent my copy to Netflix in place of something else and......someone there stole it !!!!! Hope they liked it at least. Thanks for reminding me I have to get another copy, I love the way the Mom just leaves the kids alone for a few days and tells them not to go outside.

                                        1. re: Motosport

                                          Thanks, Mo!

                                          I loved "The Little Fugitive." Even in B&W, it still evokes the CI magic.

                                          Also, try to catch the old footage of the horrifically unsafe rides that used to be so popular there. It's hysterical to see women in full skirts and petticoats trying to stay "lady-like" on the slides.

                                          1. re: foodiemom10583

                                            Back in the 60's we'd go to the pool "Club" next to Steeplechase park, I can't remmeber it's name but they had a huge salt water pool and high diving boards. After that we'd go to Steeplechse Park and ride the rides. The Steeplechase ride had to be the most dangerous ride ever but I loved it. You hung on to a mechanical horse as it raced around the circuit over jumps and around curves. As women walked into the park wearing skirts the worker pushed a button and compressed air blew out of the floor raising the skirt. You walked thru the revolving barrel to get in to the park. When I tried to stay on the giant revolving wooden disc by getting in the center the operator sent electric shocks thru the brass screws. WHOA!! I still remember the parachute ride with my mom. I guess these were the good old days before lot's o' lawyers. Great memories, thanks for letting me share.

                                            1. re: Motosport

                                              LOVE it! Thank you so much for sharing!

                                              There is some newsreel footage showing exactly that, the Steeplechase ride, the disc, and some kind of boat slide where you plunge into a pool. If I'm not mistaken, there is even some footage of the infamous skirt-blowers, but when it was shot, the ladies were wearing so many heavy layers that the only things uncovered were ankles.

                                              My favorite ride was the Spook-o-Rama. I loved the Abbott and Costello figures on the animated 3-D sign.

                                              1. re: foodiemom10583

                                                And as of today we're losing Shoot the Freak, and Beer Island, but much more tragically, Ruby's. It's criminal.

                                                Of course, Coney is dirty and weird. It's supposed to be. I suppose plenty of NY will always be dirty, but there's less and less weird. And if it can't be weird at Coney where else can it be weird?

                                                Shake Shack is fine and all. But, it's gonna be a small, expensive, touristy world if all we're left is boutique burgers and shakes. Can't we have Bark, and Shake Shack and Great Adventure and Al Di La and whatever else, but also Ruby's and the original Nathan's and the boardwalk? What the helll?

                                                -----
                                                Al Di La
                                                248 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

                                                Shake Shack
                                                Roosevelt Ave 126th St, Queens, NY 11368

                                                1. re: noisejoke

                                                  It all started with Times Square, I'd say.

                                                  1. re: noisejoke

                                                    That's pathetic. Ruby's is great. When we saw Furthur this summer, it was packed.

                                                    Someone's got dollar signs in their eyes and it's clouding their vision of what's important about the area. A place like CI can be improved without being destroyed. Go there while you can, before everything is whitewashed and the chains start erupting (and before the boardwalk turns to concrete!) so you can get a taste of a soon-to-be-bygone era.

                                                    Ya know, there are plenty of areas in NYC that are stinky, grungy, and dirty, but we still love it.

                                                    1. re: noisejoke

                                                      I love "Shoot the freak" So non p.c.!! Sounds like Disney is moving in. What's next vegan hot dogs @ Nathan's??

                                            2. re: foodiemom10583

                                              30 years in Brooklyn and dont much care for Coney Island. Yes its a scene and the walk out the fishing pier is fun, and we went to the aquarium for years with the kids, but the food???? Spumoni Garden and the Brighton Beach places, and scene are much better, more manageable and more interesting.

                                          2. It's been an interesting thread, but I can't help but wonder if the Original Poster—who says s/he's on a short trip and usually goes to places like PL & Babbo—would appreciate someplace that even its boosters admit is dirty & litter-strewn, with sad, broken-down anti-charm, without benefit of context of childhood memories of bygone pleasures?

                                            If one were going out that way for an event like the the Mermaid Parade, or a Cyclones game, or a show at the Cyclones stadium, or for a 'coaster fanatic who wants to experience the Cyclone, yes, CI is worth the trip—get some fried clams, drink on the boardwalk, people-watch, buy a pupusa from the guy with a cooler full of them, go to Totonno's. But outside of memory or context and during a time of year where there's not a lot of people-watching action, I think one would be less inclined to see charm in CI and more likely to think, "Dang, I rode an hour on the subway for this???"

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: jennitrixie

                                              Part of the fascination in prowling NY is prowling other folks' "context" and "bygone memories", also called history. Like catching and seeing the ghosts of the Lower East Side, or Tompkins Sq Park or Red Hook, parts f any one of which which can be smelly and sad and "so what"? to many.
                                              Not for everyone, but enough for many more to take a chance on a subway ride.

                                            2. Hey everyone, I've got a question to ask. I just recently moved to New York a few months ago and I have a date coming up (yes, my first date in New York). So I'm thinking of something fun to do for the day and thought of Coney Island. Can anybody tell me what is Coney Island like during November? which restaurants to eat at? and what attactions are available (like arcade/midway games)? and there anything going on on the boardwalk? Thanks ahead.

                                              9 Replies
                                              1. re: canucksnation

                                                On a sunny weekend there will be lots of activity on the boardwalk. Nathan's and Totonno's are open year round. There may be some indoor (bumper cars) and outdoor rides open but not much. The arcade will probably be open too! Play SkiBall and win "valuable" prizes.
                                                If the weather is really nice, take a walk on the beach and out to the end of the fishing pier.

                                                1. re: canucksnation

                                                  Plan it for a weekend day and then you can see the Coney Island Circus Sideshow and ride on the Wonder Wheel. If you go on a Saturday night, you can see one of the "cult" films they show at the Coney Island Museum. (www.coneyisland.com). That whole venue is very "hipster-friendly."

                                                  Like Moto said, you'll be able to play arcade games both on and off the boardwalk. The bumper cars are open all year round.

                                                  The "fanciest" restaurant in the area is Gargiulo's. It's "okay" Italian (I miss Carolinas). I hear good things about Footprints, the Caribbean place on Surf Avenue. For casual, Nathan's and Totonno's. Ruby's is also good.

                                                  Try to get to CI before sunset so you can see it from the boardwalk and watch the lights twinkle on.

                                                  -----
                                                  Moto
                                                  394 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211

                                                  Gargiulo's
                                                  2911 W 15th St, Brooklyn, NY 11224

                                                  1. re: foodiemom10583

                                                    Ruby's is being kicked out by their landlord on Nov 15, so you'd better hurry. Sad.

                                                    1. re: foodiemom10583

                                                      Carolina's!!!! Oh how I miss Carolina's. I think it's a Chinese Buffet place now, YIKES!!
                                                      Funny story about Gargiulo's: My buddy had his office in the Shore Theater building and had lunch @ Gargiulo's 3 times a week. Traditionally, after the meal, Nino the owner, comes over with a bottle filled with numbered wooden balls 1-99. If you pick the right number your meal is free. My buddy and his dad always picked #23 but in at least 10 years @ 3 times a week, he never won a free meal. "Nino, please empty the bottle!" The number 23 ball was missing!! That lunch was free.

                                                      -----
                                                      Gargiulo's
                                                      2911 W 15th St, Brooklyn, NY 11224

                                                      1. re: Motosport

                                                        Col, I should've edited to say "Hurry to Ruby's." Sorry!

                                                        Moto, that's some funny stuff. Typically Brooklynish!

                                                        I loved the breading on the baked clams at Carolina's.

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                                                        Moto
                                                        394 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211

                                                        1. re: foodiemom10583

                                                          Ah, Carolinas A free shot glass of cheap vermouth and the tray of celery, olives, and radishes on the table as you sat down, or the Coney Island amuse-bouche. Sad-eyed, stopped waiters. Bubbling manicotti. Families smoking and arguing at the table. Brooklyn!

                                                          1. re: bob96

                                                            You gotta luv it!!

                                                            1. re: bob96

                                                              Gargulio's was fine to bring out of towners but Carolina's was the real deal. A Chinese buffet? Sheesh, what is this wold coming to?

                                                              1. re: rockycat

                                                                Gargiulo's was a kind of special spot, especially for family celebrations. Back in the day, they had a small open back yard, with fig trees, that was a delight. Like eating in Naples, which was for many the appeal.

                                                    2. Probably not worth it if you only have 2 1/2 days, the only interesting thing might be riding the elevated rail lines, but you would be better off taking the 7 out to Queens for that and eating there.

                                                      Hot dog: Papaya King or Grey's Papaya for grilled. Or street vendor for boiled.

                                                      Pizza - I think you can do as well in Manhattan.

                                                      1. I'm seeing a lot of love for Ruby's here. As you know the developers kicked them out. If you're a fan of Ruby's, Coney Island, family run businesses, good food and/or fun, please sign the petition to save them!
                                                        http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeac...

                                                        That said, you can't beat a beer and a sausage sandwich from Ruby's. Well, maybe a dozen clams. Oh, this place was not to be missed!)

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Misscox

                                                          Hopefully this will help, thanks.