Coney Island, Long Island
Coney Island is a peninsula located in Kings County on the southernmost Brooklyn, Long Island, New York. It is in the westernmost of the barrier islands of Long Island about four miles long and one-half mile wide bounded by Seagate to its west, Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach to its east, and Gravesend to the north. The area is best known for its amusement parks and sandy beaches which is groomed and replenished on a regular basis by the city. The majority of Coney Island's population resides in approximately thirty 18 to 24 story towers, mostly comprised of various forms of public housing. As of 2005 census, there were 49,952 people, 19,325 households, and 11,101 families residing in the area. The median income for a household in the area was $22,739, and the average income was $33,732. Elevation is 0 feet.
The Native Americans were the first inhabitants of the area at which time the land was nothing more than desolate sand dunes, clam beds, and wind blown scrub that stretched for five miles along the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. Coney Island is the English adaptation of the Dutch name, Konijn Eiland. The English name "Conney Isle" was used on maps as early as 1690. The community name derives from Dutch for "rabbit island." The name was found on the New Netherland map of 1639 by Johannes Vingboon. It was virtually overrun with rabbits, and rabbit hunting was common until the resorts were developed and most open space eliminated. In 1920, there was a big change happened in Coney Island especially when the New York City subway was built. After a few years, a Boardwalk was also built to accommodate visitors and increase business.
The area was once home to many Jewish residents; most of those living on Coney Island today are African American, Italian American, and Hispanic. Well-known residents include Arlo Guthrie (folksinger), Harry Houdini (magician), and NEMS (American rapper). Coney Island claims to be birthplace of the hot dog. In fact, the name is used as a slang term for a style of chili hot dog topped with a dry meaty chili, then mustard and sweet onions which are very common in Michigan. The area is a major resort and site of the famous Coney Island Astroland amusement park. Coney Island was known to be the largest amusement area in the United States attracting several million visitors per year. Three competing major amusement parks include Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park. Today, Coney Island’s Astroland Amusement Park is the last amusement park still operating there. Classic rides at Astroland such as the world famous Cyclone roller coaster still stand and are in service. Another Coney Island attraction is "Shoot the Freak," in which patrons shoot paintballs at a live human target. Coney Island offers luxurious and elegant houses with apartments starting at approximately $350,000 and studios renting for $1000 to $1500.