Often overlooked is the fact that Coney Island actually has one of the more beautiful beaches in the New York area. Expansive and remarkably well maintained, the beach here provides a handy and welcome escape for those millions of working class New Yorkers who don’t have a country house or fancy Hamptons rental to run out to on weekends. Here, it’s mostly a mix of local Russian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern and Whatever Brooklynites, sharing the sand without prejudice or an eye towards social standing. The tourists mostly seem to stick to the kitschy boardwalk, and that arrangement seems to suit everyone just fine. The Coney Island boardwalk may be world famous for all kinds of reasons, but the beach and the Atlantic still feel like a well-kept secret known only to the Brooklyn regulars.

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