Thursday, April 21, 2016

Walking in the City - the Brooklyn Shore Line and Coney Island, New York

The last Saturday of February promised to be a spring-like day, offering the perfect opportunity to get out in the fresh air for some much needed exercise, so I jumped at the chance to join a Shorewalkers walk along the Brooklyn Shore Line to Coney Island. With the exception of a short visit to Coney Island fun fair many years ago, I'd never been to this part of the city before and, to be honest, if I hadn't seen the advertised walk, it's not an area that I would have ever thought of visiting.

From the meeting point at Bay Ridge and 4th Avenues we walked along 65th Street to the Shore Line path. The dedicated walking and cycling path between the Belt Parkway and the water's edge is a great place to stroll and also has plenty of places to sit. That particular day the pathway was relatively quiet, but I imagine in the summer it is a lot busier.  
Shore Line Path, Brooklyn

It was fascinating to see how big the bay area is, another reminder that there is much more to the New York City shoreline than Manhattan and the Hudson, Harlem and East Rivers. 
New York Bay 

Walking south offers fabulous views of the Verrazano Bridge which links Brooklyn and Staten Island. Opened in 1964 it was the largest suspension bridge in the world and, while it has now fallen to 11th place worldwide, it is still the largest in the Americas.

The Verrazano Bridge

Beyond the bridge is the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean with little to see apart from approaching huge cargo ships, but a glance back provides a wonderful view of the iconic buildings that make up the Manhattan skyline.
Manhattan from the south of Brooklyn

The path ends at Calvert Vaux Park so from there we made our way through the streets to Kaiser Park on the southern side of Coney Island Creek. The park offers multiple sports facilities and a fishing pier and is adjacent to Coney Island Creek Park, a beautiful stretch of beach and dunes.
Coney Island Creek Park

Dunes at Creek Park

 The western tip of Coney Island, known as Seagate, is closed to the public as it is a gated community, accessible only to residents, which unfortunately means that there is no public access to the Coney Island Lighthouse, one of the intended destinations on our walk. This view from the perimeter of Seagate was as close as we could get!

The top of the lighthouse is all that can be seen by non-residents
The lighthouse was home to Frank Schubert, the last civilian lighthouse keeper in the United States. Today it is still operational, but fully automated. 

At that point it was time to head south to Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk. I knew it was a long beach, but I didn't realize it stretched for 3 miles. Parts of the boardwalk were destroyed during Hurricane Sandy, but have now been replaced.

 Given the huge housing complexes nearby, I couldn't get over how quiet it seemed. I love being by the sea so much if I lived in the area I'd want to be out there every weekend, at least in the off-season before the day-trippers arrive, but perhaps when it's on your doorstep you start taking it for granted. Or maybe people are more interested in the famous fun fair than the views and that wasn't due to open until Easter.
Not sure what ride this is, but I'm sure it's scary!

you wouldn't get me on that!

There have been a lot of changes at Coney Island over the years but one constant is Nathan's Hot Dogs - still at the original location where it opened in 1916. Since the early 1970's the restaurant has hosted an annual International Hot Dog Eating Contest and even offers a countdown to the event. In the time it would take me to eat one hot dog it seems the champs can wolf down close to 60! It makes me ill just to think about it.

It took me almost two hours on public transport to get to the walk start point and another two and a half to get home, so it's not a trip I'd make very often, but I'd certainly go back - although maybe not  between Memorial Day and Labor Day. I like my beaches deserted!
view from the boardwalk


  1. Great pics, Mel. Nice to see a semi-deserted area of NYC :-)

    1. Thanks DV. It seems like the last few walks are really showing me a side of NYC that I never knew existed! Certainly, I didn't realise the city itself had so many beaches. Now I can't wait to explore more of the other boroughs:-)

  2. Great pics, Mel. Nice to see a semi-deserted area of NYC :-)

  3. Almost missed this post, Mel. Great pictures, and nothing is better than ocean air and Nathan dogs. I can't believe I've never been to Coney Island, but after seeing your post I'll definitely make it a stop next time we go to NYC/Brooklyn area. Fun!

    1. I couldn't believe I've lived so close for over 18 years and never been to that part of the city! Next time you're in the area and have some spare time, how about meeting up?