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Coney Island and Brighton Beach [split from Rao's thread]

Well, we did go to Coney Island ONCE for a Nathan's hotdog. From the UWS, it must be THE longest trip in Manhattan :)

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  1. Did that too with visiting relatives. I warned them. They didn't listen. They learned.

    25 Replies
    1. re: Skippy1414

      It's a nice subway ride to Coney Island from Manhattan on the El, plus so much to do besides Nathans once you get there; you really should make it a full day. That said, Nathans is always on our agenda, usually last stop before home.

      1. re: coll

        ..............and a Nathan's hot dog on the boardwalk beats dinner at Rao's hands down.

        1. re: Motosport

          You must be very easy to please. I'll rake Rao's any day.

          1. re: Sluggo1407

            Wow! Someone who's eaten there. Cool.

            1. re: Sluggo1407

              What does it mean to "rake" Rao's?? Is that the secret to getting a table?

              1. re: Motosport

                Mmm. Hmm. Why don't you try it?

              2. re: Sluggo1407

                More on Nathan's, and comments on the current state of Nathan's fries and franks, from the grandson of the founder, NAthan Handwerker:

                http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/25/nyr...

            2. re: coll

              Not in January though.

              I love Coney Island but some people here recommend it reflexively regardless of the time of year.

              1. re: Bob Martinez

                I grew up in NYC and my parents never took me there. When I got old enough to go on my own I figured out why. Is recommend Brighton Beach for Russian food but Coney Island is a dump.

                1. re: MVNYC

                  And I'll quickly say that the crowd at Nathan's was a mess. And I had words with a teen who was trying to stake out our table even though a pregnant woman with a toddler was waiting patiently. Yeah, maybe a nice day on Brighton Beach with some good Russian food.

                  1. re: MVNYC

                    You haven't been there in the last couple of years then. Big changes for the better. Not that I'm trying to add to the crowds or anything.

                    1. re: coll

                      The funny thing is I've been to Brighton Beach many time in my life and finally only went to Coney Island in the summer of 2012. If this is improved it really must have been a shithole.

                      1. re: MVNYC

                        Yeah it was scary, but fun.

                        1. re: MVNYC

                          Coney Island has improved 10000000%. I guess you have never been to East New York, Brownsville, South Bronx. That's how it used to be

                          1. re: foodwhisperer

                            i've been to all of those places over the course of my 30-plus years in new york.

                            i don't ever recall tens of thousands of people heading to east new york on a sunny june day to enjoy hanging out, playing arcade games, enjoying cheap eats and the like.

                            i guess i just never found anything to be afraid of over the course of a couple of hundred visits to Coney Island, none of which resulted in death or dismemberment -- well, other than a few clams here and there.

                            1. re: debinqueens

                              I didn't mean to imply it was a dump as in dangerous. I meant its a dirty neighborhood filled with cheesy stores and non chowish food options. Brighton beach is much better in my opinion.

                              1. re: MVNYC

                                as far as dining options, i would agree completely. brighton beach has more than its share of cheesy stores, but the delis and such are top notch.

                                1. re: debinqueens

                                  I guess I never really got the appeal of a trashy American beach vibe. The Brighton beach Russian cheesiness appeals to me a bit more. And the beach is a bit cleaner

                              2. re: debinqueens

                                The Cyclone is the scariest thing to me.

                                1. re: coll

                                  ooooooo I wanna go

                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                    Let me know, we are going late July as always!

                      2. re: Bob Martinez

                        I still say starting at CPW and 101st was the most painful trip ever :) With all the glory of the whole NYC area, I just can't imagine going more than once. Although Brighton Beach holds an attraction. So much city, so little time.

                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                          It's the beach so I would think warm weather time is implied?

                          1. re: coll

                            i'd say it's taken a significant change for the worse over the past couple of years.

                            maybe my fear threshold is not the same as some of my fellow posters here, but i've been going to coney island on a regular basis for 30 years and never once felt threatened, scared, nervous or anything else like that.

                            back in the '80s and '90s, you could buy homemade pasteles, esquites and other snacks from folks wandering the boardwalk (and dollar budweisers from guys with coolers on wheels to wash them down). the clam shacks were in full gear and there were no shiny happy chain stores in the way.

                            maybe i'm being snippy, but i don't see any reason to spend an hour traveling from manhattan to disembark a train and walk into the middle of another manhattan, only with sand.

                            1. re: debinqueens

                              Agreed. I've been going to Coney Island (and lived there apartment sitting here and there) for 30-plus years and while some things like Luna Park are nice additions to the neighborhood, much has devolved. The Mermaid Parade in June that has been one of the ornaments of NYC since 1981 has become a (shockingly, given the kind of parade it is) much more user-unfriendly experience in the last five years - seemingly there are Powers among the NYC Powers That Be that would prefer to raze the whole area and start over.

                    2. That's a relatively new train station over there, btw. The old one was far less attractive, AND it was way more of a climb. Does anybody remember that huge ramp that was there inside the station? It was there to accomodate the big crowds Coney Island always drew.

                      A train ride to Coney is a 2 hour ordeal for me.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Cheese Boy

                        Where do you live? As I wrote, it was interminably long.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          The only borough on the mainland.
                          When I go to Brighton it's almost just as long a trek too.

                          1. re: Cheese Boy

                            Ah. If I lived in the Bronx I'd find little reason to leave :)

                      2. I dated a woman who lived in Tottenville Staten Island. Now that was a long trip!!

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Motosport

                          A long distance relationship ...
                          yet both of you are in the same city. LOL.
                          At some point did she become "geographically undesirable" for you ??

                          1. re: Cheese Boy

                            When I lived in the Bronx I dated a woman in Staten Island. It was 30 miles door to door by car. By public transport the trip took 2 and a half hours.

                            It's a big city.

                            1. re: Cheese Boy

                              "Memories, light the borders of my mind......."

                          2. 1. Totonno's Pizzeria Napolitano - "Every self-respecting pizza-loving New Yorker should visit the Coney Island original at least once in his lifetime." NY Mag

                            2.The annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade - Sea creatures both mythological and biological promenade along Surf Avenue.

                            'nuff said

                            1. I'd go (back) to Brighton Beach for the Georgian restaurant(s) and Russian supermarkets. I don't know much about Russian desserts, so Güllüoglu has been a good sub.

                              1. Brighton Beach changed dramatically over the years. Its so much more than Russian food nowadays... Uzbek, Uyghur, Georgian, Uzbek/Korean, Georgian/Korean. Ok, I made the last one up but you know what I mean.

                                Here's a Brighton primer I wrote for some Australian tourists... http://wp.me/p2zSmJ-VX

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Ziggy41

                                  I wish you and others would elaborate on this. Please :)

                                  1. re: Ziggy41

                                    "Georgian/Korean. Ok, I made the last one up but you know what I mean."

                                    You mean you've never had chop chae-kapuli or kababi bim bap? :p

                                    1. re: Ziggy41

                                      Thanks Ziggy! That primer is fun to read and super helpful; I bookmarked a couple places to try on this beautiful afternoon.

                                      1. re: AlCracka

                                        That's great! Thanks for the thanks. Hope you enjoyed.

                                    2. If you're going to the area, are curious about Russian stuff and like to drink, I strongly recommend visiting Gambrinus. The place is unspeakably weird and lots of fun. It's a Ukrainian bar dressed up as a kind of beer garden, staffed (often) by strapping young men with suspicious bone structure and terrible teeth who dress in French sailor outfits like something out of Jean Genet's Querelle. They serve Russki "banquet" food and have a few beers on tap, including Baltikas of shifting numeric designation. There is an outside area that catches a lovely breeze.

                                      Go. You won't be sorry.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: guanubian

                                        On my calendar for this summer, thanks!