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Coney Island through the years, in photos

A New York City summer isn't complete without a trip to Coney Island for some sun and fun.

The neighborhood, which currently encompasses two amusement parks, has been the "people's playground" since the mid-1800s when the first resorts were built. It came into its own between 1880 and World War II as the largest amusement area in the U.S.

It has seen its share of attractions come and go, but it remains a beloved summer stop for many New Yorkers.

Below, you'll find scenes from across its history, from its beginning as a tourist destination to a district full of nostalgia and tradition.

1889

A Stereoscopic view of Coney Island depicts women
Photo Credit: The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "In the surf, Manhattan Beach, U.S.A." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1889.

A Stereoscopic view of Coney Island depicts women in their bathing costumes on the shore.

1910

Looking east is Feltman's restaurant and resort (the
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Hulton Archive

Feltman's restaurant and resort (the possible birthplace of the hot dog) is on the right in its original building, across from the Sea Beach Palace (the terminal and hotel). Giant Racer, in the background, was a rollercoaster.

1927

Film director King Vidor (far right horse) at
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Hulton Archive

Film director King Vidor (far right) at the Coney Island fair, with James Murray, Eleanor Boardman and Estelle Clark, cast members of the film "The Mob."

Crowds watching a parade outside the entrance to
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Hulton Archive

Crowds watching a parade outside the entrance to Luna Park on Coney Island.

1950

Nathan's Original Restaurant packed to the gills in
Photo Credit: Nathan's Famous, Inc.

Nathan's Original Restaurant packed to the gills in the mid-20th century.

1955

A boy looks at fish in the New
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Three Lions

A boy looks at fish in the New York Aquarium, home to many species of tropical fish and aquatic mammals.

1955

People queue up for their meals at Nathan's
Photo Credit: Getty Images/George Heyer

People queue up for their meals at Nathan's Famous hot dog stand.

1965

The main entrance to George C. Tilyous Steeplechase
Photo Credit: Newsday/Marvin Sussman

The main entrance to George C. Tilyous Steeplechase Park featured "Tillie," the now iconic smiling face that greets you at the park. 

1966

A lifeguard on lookout duty at Coney Island.
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Harry Benson

A lifeguard on lookout duty at Coney Island.

1978

The beach at Coney Island in Brooklyn opened
Photo Credit: Newsday/David Pokress

The beach at Coney Island reopened on August 6, 1978, after being shut because of an oil spill.

1986

Passengers ride on the Cyclone roller coaster at
Photo Credit: Newsday/Alan Raia

Passengers ride on the Cyclone roller coaster on the first day of the ride's reopening.

1987

Mermaids Marlene Testabaum and Carol Albino dance for
Photo Credit: Newsday/Bruce Gilbert

Mermaids Marlene Testabaum and Carol Albino dance for the crowd during the fifth annual Mermaid Parade in Coney Island.

1987

Jonathan Joura and Chris Voytasko ride the Cyclone
Photo Credit: Newsday/Chris Gierlich

Jonathan Joura and Chris Voytasko ride the Cyclone roller coaster for the third consecutive time.

1987

A child dives off the pier at Coney
Photo Credit: Newsday/Alan Hlavenka

A child dives off the pier at Coney Island while others have fishing poles in the water.

2003

Takeru Kobayashi of Japan sits in exhaustion after
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Chris Hondros

Takeru Kobayashi of Japan sits in exhaustion after downing 44 hot dogs at the annual hot dog eating contest at Coney Island. 

2005

Participants march during the Mermaid Parade in Coney
Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Participants march during the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island.

2007

Zarina the Human Cannonball is launched into the
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Mario Tama

Zarina the Human Cannonball is launched into the air at the Cole Bros. Circus at Coney Island. It was the first time since 1938 that a full circus entertained at the historic seaside resort.

2008

Visitors walk on the final day of operation
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Mario Tama

Visitors walk on the final day of operation for Astroland Park, which closed permanently following a lease dispute with its developer.

2011

A taxi sits in flood water on Coney
Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images/EMMANUEL DUNAND

A taxi sits in flood water on Coney Island after Hurricane Irene hit.

2012

People clean the boardwalk of sand washed in
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Mario Tama

People clean the boardwalk of sand washed in by superstorm Sandy in low-lying Coney Island.

2012

Mayor Bill de Blasio, wife Chirlane, Council Speaker
Photo Credit: POOL/Todd Maisel

Mayor Bill de Blasio, wife Chirlane McCray, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Borough President Eric Adams contributed some painting and other work to the home of Margurite Batts, 81, whose home was wrecked by Superstorm Sandy on Neptune Avenue.

2014

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, center,
Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Mayor Bill de Blasio, center, watches as women's hot dog-eating record holder Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, left, stares down Joey Chestnut, the men's champion, after the pair were weighed for the contest at City Hall.

2015

Riders of the Cyclone walk down staircases of
Photo Credit: Nina Ruggiero

Riders of the Cyclone walk down staircases of the iconic Coney Island ride on a chilly morning after the wooden roller coaster stopped working just as it inched up to the peak of the ride's first big drop.

2019

And they're off: Thousand of participants in the
Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin

And they're off: Thousand of participants in the 115th annual plunge run toward the water. 

2019

Joey Chestnut won the Nathan's Famous Fourth of
Photo Credit: Todd Maisel

Joey Chestnut won the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating contest for the 12th time, eating 71 hot dogs.

2019

As it has been for over a century,
Photo Credit: Todd Maisel

As it has been for over a century, Coney Island Beach was very crowded on the Fourth of July.

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