Coney Island / New York Aquarium

It was the first ever trip on the New York Subway for Eric back in December 2009 (and also traveling on PATCO and SEPTA in Philadelphia in November 2009 before) that began to get him interested in intercity rail travel.  With Elisabeth, her sister Chris, and Chris’ fiance Adam, the four were riding the New York City Subway R train back to Chris’ apartment in Astoria, Queens when Adam said, “I’m glad we’re not on the R train, I really hate the R train; it’s the worst train.”  We had to let Adam know that he was indeed on the R train (there was a big R in a yellow circle on the train interior just behind where he was standing). Adam thought that we had boarded an N train, and he said that the N was much better because it offered superior views of Manhattan, running on an elevated line instead of the tunnel that the R train used.

After a delightful dinner and dessert with Chris and Adam in Astoria that evening back in December, Elisabeth and Eric had the opportunity to ride the N train on the return trip to Manhattan.  Eric discovered that Adam was right; not only was the N train more modernized and cleaner, but the sights from the elevated rails were really enjoyable.  Unfortunately, time that evening was limited, and the two had to get off and transfer to Penn Station for a ride out of the city back to the hotel in New Jersey.  But reading the dynamic route displays inside the train, Eric saw that the N train ran all the way to Coney Island, and began to think, “Wouldn’t it be fun to ride it all the way to the end sometime?”

And on March 20, 2010, that time had arrived: the opportunity to take an excursion from Manhattan all the way down to Coney Island / Stillwell Ave on the N train.  Plus, at the end, the world’s largest above-ground rail terminal station (the Stillwell Station, according to Wikipedia) awaited.  At Stillwell Eric was able to observe the end-of-the-line procedures where a subway train was disembarked, and then after about ten minutes the train was re-boarded (the crew members either getting a break or switching staff). The train would finally run right back out the way that it came in to Stillwell for another trip through Manhattan up to the end of the line at Ditmars Blvd in Queens, picking up and dispensing passengers all along the route.

But the surprise attraction for Elisabeth was a visit to the New York Aquarium (and Elisabeth loves aquariums), and that aquarium was just one station away from Stillwell aboard the Q train heading out of the station in the direction opposite of the N train approach.  After such a lengthy introduction, pictures from the Aquarium and boardwalk at Coney Island are presented below.

New York Aquarium entrance

The New York Aquarium entrance, on the Coney Island boardwalk

Coney Island attractions

Coney Island attractions, adjacent to the aquarium

A turtle at the aquarium

A turtle at the New York Aquarium

Sharks at the aquarium

Sharks at the New York Aquarium

Penquins at the aquarium

Closing time! The penquins are going back inside for the night

A penquin at the aquarium

The last penquin is going back inside for the night

Coney Island beach

The beach at Coney Island outside the aquarium; looking out at New York Lower Bay and further to the Atlantic Ocean

Coney Island Cyclone

The famous Coney Island Cyclone