Coney Island and Brighton Beach are in Brooklyn. In addition to those two neighborhoods, this travel guide covers Manhattan Beach, Gravesend, and Sheepshead Bay.
- Coney Island. Ah, the famous Coney Island. The Cyclone, a 1927 roller coaster, is the most famous of the amusement park rides at Coney Island, for good reason: It packs a lot of thrill into a small lot. There is also a great view of Manhattan from the top of the Wonder Wheel (a large ferris wheel). Otherwise, the amusement park is somewhat seedy, which is part of its appeal. The high concentration of public housing projects in the area does make the neighborhood around the amusement park somewhat unsafe. Precaution should be taken if exploring these areas.
- Brighton Beach is home to the largest Russian-speaking community outside of the former USSR. It's unlike any other neighborhood in the city. Mosey on along the famous boardwalk and have a shashlik (shish-kebab) with a shot of vodka for lunch.
- Sheepshead Bay is not far from the Coney Island amusement parks. It is a traditionally Italian and Jewish neighborhood and is now populated by many Chinese and Russian immigrants. There are piers along the bay on Emmons Avenue where anyone can pay a small fee to be taken out for a day of fishing. Includes restaurants along the Bay and the famous El Greco diner.
- Gravesend was the oldest English settlement in New York. Parts of it are now a Syrian Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, populated by many people in the rug trade who live in lovely houses, many of them very tasteful and worth walking past just to admire the architecture and landscaping, such as for example on Ave. S west of the Kings Highway stop on the F train. There is also a small Chinese neighborhood on Ave. U near the Ave. U Q train station that has some worthwhile Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants and shops. Perhaps fittingly, Gravesend is also home to huge graveyards that are visible from the F subway line.
To get to Coney Island, take the D, F, N, or Q to Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue. On all of these but the Q, keep your eyes peeled for the massive train yard you will pass on the way.
Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay are covered by the Q and B (weekdays only).
For Gravesend, take the N to Avenue U.
- 1 Coney Island ( trains to Coney Island-Stillwell Ave).
- 2 The Coney Island Cyclone ( trains to Coney Island-Stillwell Ave or trains to W 8th St-NY Aquarium). Opened in 1927, the Coney Island Cyclone or (the Cyclone) is one of the world's oldest and still operating wooden roller coasters and was declared a New York City Landmark on July 2, 1988. It was also placed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 26, 1991. Although in 1927 the roller coaster cost only 25 cents to ride, it now costs $10.
- 3 New York Aquarium, Boardwalk and W 8th St (Subway: trains to W 8th St or trains to Coney Island-Stillwell Ave). M-Th 10AM-6PM; F-Sa 10AM-10PM; Su 10AM-7PM. $14.95 adults, $11.95 seniors 65+, $10.95 children 3-12, free for children under 3.
- , 402 Brighton Beach Ave (between Brighton 4th and Brighton 5th Sts; Subway: trains to Brighton Beach), ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-7PM, Su 11AM-6PM. Trinkets from Russia and elsewhere in the world.
- Lola Star, Coney Island Boardwalk between W 12th St and Stillwell (Subway: trains to Coney Island-Stillwell Ave). M-Th 11AM-7PM, F 11AM-10PM, Sa-Su 10AM-9PM. Boutique and souvenir shop on the boardwalk.
- Mosvideofilm, 421 Brighton Beach Ave (between Brighton 4th and Brighton 5th Sts; Subway: trains to Brighton Beach), ☏ . Russian films, books, music, and more.
- Saint-Petersburg Trade & Publishing House, 230 Brighton Beach Ave (at Brighton 1st Rd; Subway: train to Ocean Pkwy), ☏ . Russian books, CDs, DVDs, and more.
Coney Island is a varied neighborhood of old pizzerias, Nathan's Original hotdog stand and newer Russian restaurants and others. Brighton Beach is a huge Russian neighborhood, with immigrants from other parts of the former Soviet Union, too. You can find all kinds of Russian gourmet shops, bars and restaurants in that neighborhood. If you have Russian friends, ask them which restaurants are good at the moment, as these things tend to be very changeable. Sheepshead Bay is a traditionally Italian neighborhood, and also Jewish. It's historically been a place to go for seafood, although Lundy's, its most famous seafood restaurant, closed a couple of years ago.
- John's Deli, 2438 Stillwell Ave (between Harway Ave and Bay 50th St; Subway: train to Bay 50th St), ☏ . Great roast beef heroes.
- L & B Spumoni Gardens, 2725 86th St (between W 10th and W 11th Sts; Subway: train to Avenue U or 86th St-Gravesend, or train to 25th Ave), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Noon-11PM daily. Consistently rated by many as one of the best pizzerias in the city. Talk to any Brooklynite and they will tell you to get an "L & B Square".
- Nathan's Original, Surf Ave at Stillwell Ave (Subway: trains to Coney Island-Stillwell Ave). Opened in 1905, this store offers great hot dogs, fries, grilled chicken, etc. Prices are somewhat high, with a hot dog costing $3.25
- Taci's Beyti, 1955 Coney Island Ave (at Avenue P; Subway: trains to Kings Hwy), ☏ . Noon-11PM daily. Well-priced, fantastic Turkish restaurant located in Gravesend. Fast service; BYOB. Worth the trip, and a good opportunity to explore other areas of Brooklyn if you're staying in the Slope or the Heights.
- 1 Totonno's, 1524 Neptune Ave (between W 15th and W 16th Sts; Subway: trains to Coney Island-Stillwell Ave), ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-11PM. A family brick oven pizzeria that's been continually operating since 1905. The crust is one of the very best around - thin, crisp, and charred with a sweet sauce. Whole pies only, no slices. A few blocks from the Coney Island boardwalk. Cash only.
There are Russian bars in Brighton Beach. The more expensive ones tend to be right on the Boardwalk, and they also offer full meals and sometimes a floor show. However, you may be able to get some inexpensive vodka and good homey Russian food a few blocks from the beach. Or hey, just grab a beer like many New Yorkers do, but keep in mind that if you openly drink alcohol outside, you can get a summons, which is why convenience stores normally sell beer in paper bags.
- 1 Sleep Inn Coney Island, 2586 Stillwell Ave, ☏ . Free full breakfast, free WiFi, free daily newspaper, free coffee and free parking (first come, first serve basis).
- Brooklyn Public Library (Brighton Beach branch), 16 Brighton First Rd (at Brighton Beach Ave; Subway: train to Ocean Pkwy or train to Brighton Beach), ☏ . M 10AM-6PM, Tu 1PM-8PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-8PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- Brooklyn Public Library (Coney Island branch), 1901 Mermaid Ave (at W 19th St; Subway: trains to Coney Island-Stillwell Ave), ☏ . M-Tu 10AM-6PM, W 1PM-8PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- Brooklyn Public Library (Gravesend branch), 303 Avenue X (at W 2nd St; Subway: train to Avenue X or N train to 86th St-Gravesend), ☏ . M 10AM-6PM, Tu 1PM-8PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-8PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- Brooklyn Public Library (Highlawn branch), 1664 W 13th St (at Kings Hwy; Subway: train to Kings Hwy or trains to Bay Pkwy), ☏ . M-Tu 10AM-6PM, W 1PM-8PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- Brooklyn Public Library (Homecrest branch), 2525 Coney Island Ave (between Avenue V and Gravesend Neck Rd; Subway: trains to Neck Rd), ☏ . M 1PM-8PM, Tu-W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-8PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- Brooklyn Public Library (Kings Bay branch), 3650 Nostrand Ave (between Avenues W and X; Subway: trains to Sheepshead Bay, then transfer to B36 bus to Nostrand Ave and Avenue X, or trains to Flatbush Ave-Brooklyn College, then transfer to B44 bus to Nostrand Ave and Avenue X), ☏ . M-Tu 10AM-6PM, W-Th 1PM-8PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- Brooklyn Public Library (Kings Highway branch), 2115 Ocean Ave (at Kings Hwy; Subway: trains to Kings Hwy), ☏ . M 10AM-6PM, Tu-Th 10AM-8PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 1PM-5PM.
- Brooklyn Public Library (Sheepshead Bay branch), 2636 E 14th St (between Sheepshead Bay Rd and Shore Pkwy; Subway: trains to Sheepshead Bay), ☏ . M-Tu 10AM-6PM, W-Th 1PM-8PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- Brooklyn Public Library (Ulmer Park branch), 2602 Bath Ave (at 26th Ave; Subway: train to 25th Ave), ☏ . M 1PM-8PM, Tu-W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-8PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.