If you are currently sitting comfortably or reading this on your phone while standing in one of NYC’s famous cold brew lines, take a second to stretch your free hand around and pat yourself on the back. There, you deserved that, reader, because despite all odds, you did it: You made it to goddamn summer. You survived being snowed in with your sexy roommate, you considered fleeing to New Orleans, maybe you even thought about leaving the country, but you didn’t and now Memorial Day weekend is here and you can finally live your best Brooklyn life again (by that we mean the one that’s outdoors and in jorts, of course).
It also means it’s time to get down to Coney Island if you haven’t already. Coney Island’s renewal has been a mixed bag in the past couple of years: for every cool new ride or bar, there’s a tacky chain restaurant. But this summer sees the addition of lots of new things to be excited about, including a new beer garden and a huge outdoor concert venue where you can see the Beach Boys on July 4th weekend or Vanilla Ice in September, if you’re into that.
Steeplechase Beer Garden, now open
1904 Surf Ave.
RIP Peggy O’Neill’s, hello Steeplechase Beer Garden. Peggys, located at the base of MCU Park on Surf Avenue, was an OK place to down some beers and watch a game on its many TVs, but its huge space always felt a bit underused in the beach-and-freak land of Coney. So the owners renovated it this year into Steeplechase Beer Garden, a more playful homage to Coney Island and its once-famous Steeplechase Park which formerly stood on the site, according to the Brooklyn Paper. It features photos of iconic rides, memorabilia from the park and other Coney-themed artwork.
It opened earlier this month, selling brews from Coney Island Brewery with plans to add more over the summer, and will feature a pop up shop selling Coney’s original Feltman’s hot dogs for 10 cents on Saturday and a full food menu on regular days. It’s got ample outdoor room for drinking too.
5 cent hot dogs, May 28
Nathan’s main location on Surf Ave.
Speaking of cheap hot dogs on Saturday, don’t forget it’s the 100th anniversary of Nathan’s Famous, which is serving up dogs for the original price of 5 cents for a three-hour window on Saturday.
Art Walls, open Friday
1320 Bowery St.
The Coney Island Art Walls debuted last year as a bright distraction from the fact that they were set up in an empty lot that no one has figured out what to do with yet (it’s presented by Coney developer Thor Equities, after all). BUT they are a fun and colorful way to spruce up Coney Island, and they’re back again for 2016. Bedford and Bowery got a sneak peek at some of the 21 new walls, which open on Friday. Smorgasburg isn’t returning to Coney this year but near the walls you can find shipping containers that make up Greenwood Beach, which features food and drinks from Calexico, Table 87 and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.
The Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk, opens June 25
3052 West 21st St.
We were initially excited about the announcement of the first major beachside venue in modern NYC history opening this summer on the Coney boardwalk. Then the initial lineup announcement put some bummer in our summer (unless you’re a diehard Slightly Stoopid, fan at least). But since then, the full lineup has come out and it looks more promising for the 5,000-seat venue.
It opens June 25 with Ziggy Marley and continues throughout the summer with the Beach Boys, Sting and Peter Gabriel (yes, together), Hollywood Vampires (that band made up of Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper and Joe Perry, which is apparently a thing), Jane’s Addiction, 311, Andrew Dice Clay, Dark Star Orchestra, Erykah Badu, Boston, Kool & the Gang and more. You can cap off your summer with an I Love The 90s fest in September, featuring Vanilla Ice, Salt N Pepa (w/Spinderella), Color Me Badd, Tone Loc, Coolio and Young MC.
The Endeavour ride, now open
This technically opened late last season, but maybe you missed it (it’s listed as “new for 2016” on the Luna Park site). Another thing you spin you around in a circle real fast! Hot dog vomit ahoy!
A flea market, now open
805-825 Surf Ave.
Amusing the Zillion reports a flea market has opened across from the Cyclone. It’s not super exciting, but maybe you love shopping for fleas!
The Backyard, opening June 17
MCU Park, 1904 Surf Ave.
MCU Park, home of our beloved Brooklyn Cyclones, tore out some of the rightfield bleachers and replaced them with the Backyard, right next to the Parachute Plaza, a picnic area where you can watch the game through the outfield wall while playing cornhole or shuffleboard and eating grilled meats. It features a BBQ buffet, starting 75 minutes before first pitch until 30 minutes after first pitch, featuring ballpark food and soft drinks to groups of 15 or more. Group rates start at $21 per adult/$12.50 per child (plus game ticket).
50th Anniversary of Fred Trump’s Demolition of Steeplechase Pavilion, opens May 28
Coney Island History Project, W. 12th Street at the entrance to Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park
Before Donald Trump was comic book villaining around the whole country, his pop was comic book villaining around New York, specifically Coney Island. 50 years ago, Fred Trump demolished the beloved Steeplechase Pavilion — once home to rides, games and all sorts of fun and joy-making things a greedy developer despises with the deepest parts of his soul. The exhibit contains photos, ephemera an oral history and more souvenirs from the former landmark.
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I’m happy i live in coney island over 35yrs it has improved tremendously