Coney Island’s July 4: New York City at Its Best

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By Dan Sears

Here are some of the sights from July 4 at Coney Island—where New York City comes out to be it’s New York City best. Harmon Leon/Observer

It doesn’t get anymore New York City than July 4 at Coney Island. Independence Day by our seaside trumpets the great melting pot, which is our city that we’ve grown to love. You get five boroughs converging onto the boardwalk. Yes, we have a great beach culture in NYC, and the best thing is: we can all take a subway there to enjoy it. In fact, when the train lines were first built in the 1800s, Coney Island was described as, “Heaven at the end of a subway ride.”

So, while Trump was having his divisive “Salute to America” military parade in the rain, we got to watch Joey Chestnut shove hotdogs down his gullet to reclaim his crown in the Nathan’s Hotdog Eating Championship (71 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes), frolic in the water and have some beers at the Freak Show Bar. So instead of a “Salute to America,” which put a spotlight on your country’s divide, we choose to salute Coney Island, which put a spotlight on our love for fried clams and how multicultural New Yorkers can coexist on the birthday of our country.

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Up until World War II, Coney Island was the largest amusement area in the United States. The Cyclone was opened in 1927 and that’s still around, and scary, because if feels like it could fall apart at any moment. The tales of Coney Island are of mythical proportions. For one thing, it’s where the warriors ended up at the end of the movie The Warriors, after a hard night of battling such NYC gangs as The Furies. Also, the name was originally Conyne Eylandt, which came from the colonial Dutch, meaning “Rabbit Island.”

In case, you missed it, let’ stroll past the Cyclone, the Wonder Wheel, Luna Park and the Coney Island Freak Show for a true NYC experience. My Coney Island day was spent in 80-plus-degree heat, literally rubbing elbows with my fellow New Yorkers, on the shores of Brooklyn; right in the middle of the dog days of summer. Yes, here are some of the sites from July 4 at Coney Island—where New York City comes out to be it’s New York City best.

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July 4 was crazy hot at the beach—literally. My bare feet burnt in the sand taking this photo. Harmon Leon/Observer
Roughly 150,000 people hit the beach at Coney Island on July 4. Not all of them are in this photo. Harmon Leon/Observer
You can win stuffed animals on the boardwalk. Though I think this man has created a game of his own making, and its making the workers nervous. Harmon Leon/Observer
This is the most patriotic dog I’ve ever seen. Harmon Leon/Observer
I have always love the fact that our beach culture in New York can be gotten to via subway. Harmon Leon/Observer
These umbrella hats were very popular to the roughly four people I saw wearing them on July 4. Harmon Leon/Observer
The thrill of flying high on the Fourth of July. Harmon Leon/Observer
We New Yorkers gather en masse on Coney Island boardwalk.   Harmon Leon/Observer
I managed to take this photo without accidentally dropping my camera into the ocean. Harmon Leon/Observer
The loneliness of the lone bumper car patron.  Harmon Leon/Observer
Spoiler Alert: The hoops are smaller than the balls. Harmon Leon/Observer
Yes, these women have been to Coney Island every July 4—since the Cyclone opened. Harmon Leon/Observer
See you next year! Harmon Leon/Observer

July 4 at Coney Island: A Look at New York City at Its Best

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