A colorful history
From amusement parks and hot dogs to the Cyclone roller coaster and the Parachute Jump, few places have had as colorful a history as Coney Island, Brooklyn. All those things and many more have helped to turn this stretch of the beach within borders of New York City into the vibrant place that is almost instantly recognizable. With that in mind, here are five facts about Coney Island that you may not have known already.
It is not actually an island
At one time, Coney Island was an island, but when a portion of Coney Island Creek was filled in, it turned the island into a peninsula.
The origins of Coney Island's name are unclear
There are many theories about how Coney Island received its name, but one says that it received its name from Dutch inhabitants whose name for rabbit was similar to "coney." Because the island had a large population of wild rabbits, the site came to be known as Coney Island, although there is no concrete proof to confirm this.
It is reported on the Luna Park website that Emilio Franco regained his voice after a ride on the Cyclone roller coaster. Franco, who was a mute since birth, is alleged to have uttered "I feel sick!" as his first words after a ride on the iconic coaster. The Cyclone turns 85 on June 30, 2012.
It's the birthplace of Nathan's
Nathan's reports on their website that last year more than 425 million Nathan's hot dogs were sold. Joey Chestnut had 62 of those hot dogs last July 4, when he won the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.
What's old is new again
Coney Island has had several famous amusement parks, including the original Luna Park, Astroland and Steeplechase Park. All have since closed and today a new version of Luna Park is operated by Central Amusement International on the former site of Astroland. The Parachute Jump, often referred to as the "Eiffel Tower of Brooklyn," is the only remaining part of the Steeplechase Park, though it is now defunct.