Named Konijn Eiland (Rabbit Island) by the Dutch for its wild rabbit population, Coney Island features a boardwalk, a 2'4-mi-long beach, a legendary amusement park, the city's only aquarium, and easy proximity to Brighton Beach, a Russian enclave drenched in old-world atmosphere.
Coney Island may have declined from its glory days in the early 1900s, when visitors lunched at a 34-room ocean-side hotel built in the shape of an elephant, glided across the nation's biggest dance floor at Dreamland, and toured a replica of old Baghdad called Luna Park. But it's still a great place to experience the sounds, smells, and sights of summer: hot dogs, suntan lotion, crowds, fried clams, and old men staring out to sea, not to mention the ponderous turning of the mighty Wonder Wheel and the heart-stopping plunging of the king of roller coasters - the Cyclone.
One of the attractions of Coney Island is the aquarium for wildlife conservation. Moved to Coney Island in 1957 from its former digs at Battery Park, New York City's only aquarium is worth a trip in itself. Here otters, walruses, penguins, and seals lounge on a replicated Pacific coast; a 180,000-gallon seawater complex hosts beluga whales; and dolphins and sea lions perform in the