Coney Island

Coney Island is a peninsula and beach on the Atlantic Ocean in southern Brooklyn, New York, United States. The site was formerly an outer barrier island, but became partially connected to the mainland by landfill.

Coney Island is possibly best known as the site of amusement parks and a major resort that reached their peak during the first half of the 20th century.
It declined in popularity after World War II and endured years of neglect. In recent years, the area has seen the opening of MCU Park and has become home to the minor league baseball team the Brooklyn Cyclones.
The neighborhood of the same name is a community of 60,000 people in the western part of the peninsula, with Sea Gate to its west, Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach to its east, and Gravesend to the north.
Coney Island USA was founded in the belief that 19th century American popular culture gave birth to a democratic cultural golden age, unique to this country’s history and indispensable to its future. This new age not only invented the Broadway musical, it gave the world jazz, the blues and many new forms of performing and visual arts that emerged from and looked to the populist masses. Now, limited arts funding tends to favor the conservative and classical fine arts, underestimating the seminal qualities of the popular arts, instead abandoning the populist arts to the mutli-billion dollar mass media industries. But the honky-tonk subculture that was once uniquely Coney Island has reemerged as a post-modern trend in entertainment and art. The world is cautiously, slowly, but most certainly reawakening to the importance of Coney Island in American popular culture, and what it stands for. Coney Island USA is there to document, preserve and further the unique arts for the masses, providing national perspective, professional dedication and quality programming for Coney Island as it heads into the 21st century.

The neighborhoods on Coney Island, from west to east, are Sea Gate, Coney Island proper, Brighton Beach, and Manhattan Beach. Sea Gate is a private community, one of only a handful of neighborhoods in New York City where the streets are owned by the residents and not the city; Sea Gate and the Breezy Point Cooperative are the only city neighborhoods cordoned off by a fence and gate houses.

The majority of Coney Island's population resides in approximately thirty 18- to 24-storey towers, mostly various forms of public housing. In between the towers are many blocks that were filled with vacant and burned out buildings. Since the 1990s there has been steady revitalization of the area. Many townhouses were built on empty lots, popular franchises opened, and Keyspan Park was built to serve as the home for the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball team. Once home to many Jewish residents, Coney Island's main population groups today are African American, Italian American, Hispanic, and recent Russian and Ukrainian immigrants.

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