HOME > Chowhound > Outer Boroughs >

Discussion

Coney Island: Worth the Trip?

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.

-----
Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. The original comment has been removed
    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.