The children’s Grampa and Gramma have been to New York City many times before, and are familiar enough with the typical tourist sites.  So, for the grandparent’s most recent visit, the children and I planned a different NYC experience – a subway ride off the beaten track through Brooklyn, to Coney Island.

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In addition to the sandy beaches and small waves, what attracts 14 million people, annually, to Coney Island, Brooklyn?

Top of our children’s list is the Wonder Wheel!

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A few decades after the ride opened in 1920, the Wonder Wheel was finally made an official New York City landmark.  And to date, those 24 swinging and stationary cars have run over 35 million cycles.

Found at the entrance to the Wonder Wheel is a Zoltar.  Not the Zoltar from Tom Hanks’ movie, Big.  Rather, the yellow turban edition.  Still granting wishes.  Still entertaining young and old, alike.

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One can hardly go to Coney Island without partaking of the famous hotdogs.  Nathan’s are probably the most famous.  They taste delicious – yes.  But, in my opinion, these dogs can credit their fame to the annual Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest.  Sixty-nine hotdogs in ten minutes is the current world record.  If you cannot be there to witness the gluttony in person, do not fret.  ESPN will bring it to you, in the comfort of your own livingroom, just hours after the event.

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While I bought Nathan’s dogs for the family, Grampa Holmes wanted to try out the competition.

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Tom’s hotdogs.  We all agreed:  Just as good.  Just as expensive.

What else does Coney Island offer young families (and grandparents)?

CONEY ISLAND TOP TEN LIST:

New York Aquarium is the oldest continually operating aquarium in the United States.

Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk offers live entertainment, a variety of foods, playground equiptment and fresh water fountains for children, and well kept bathrooms.

Summer Flicks on the Beach on Monday nights, at dusk.  Free.  Family friendly flicks, too.

Luna Park.  We’ve been once, a few years earlier.  Once was fun.  Once was enough.

At the end of the day, we took the F train home.  Grampa and Gramma were invaluable that hour-long ride through three boroughs.

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I have the unfortunate tendency of “discovering” things, after the fact.  Often, quite long after the fact.  Yes.  After a place/item has been discovered by a few, loved by many, and on its way out, I decide to give it a go.  Pointy-toed shoes, for example.

After returning home from Coney Island, and in preparation for this post, I read a handful of tourist reviews, many suggesting that this may have been the case, once again.

I would not know if Coney Island is a “ghost of what it used to be”.  I never saw Coney Island back in its hayday.  But I will visit it again.  Probably next week.