They've closed down the go-karts and batting cages. The daiquiri bars are shuttered, the beach is deserted, and the lukewarm hot dogs churn slowly on the rotating grill.
Once more, Coney Island is packing up and heading out with the circus freaks, hightailing it to a winter home in Florida ... or a storage shed in Brighton Beach. But for the fourth installment of our famed and featured series 'Hood Dates
, we present Coney Island, the city that winter forgot -- and one you can experience without all the pesky crowds and pink-skinned locals in speedos.
The Coney Island Arcade
West 8th St.–N.Y. Aquarium (F, Q)
You heard about the Arcade fire? No, not the band which is better than all the other bands your friends told you you should be listening to -- the actual fire at the Arcade
, which occurred in May and ruined one of Coney Island's great traditions
. The amusement site on West 12th St. burned to the ground this past spring and had to be moved to a makeshift facility nearby, where it was updated with additional (and way more difficult) Skee-Ball lanes and that stupid game where you try to push quarters into a tray.
Load up on quarters and start rolling those 50s and 100s in Skee-Ball
, collect your tickets, and redeem them for some of the cheesiest prizes imaginable. It should only cost you a few bucks for at least a half hour of good times, but avoid the nearby booths with their creepy Michael Jackson doll prizes. You don't want your date having nightmares tonight.
Keep reading for tips on what to do after you've had your ass handed to you in Whack-a-Mole at Coney.
Ruby's Bar and Grill
Coney Island–Stillwell Ave. (D, F, N, Q)
Like the Arcade, Ruby's Bar won't be open all year round. (It closes on Halloween, according to rumor.) To make this date the memorable romp you're shooting for, pick up a Nathan's hot dog
on the Boardwalk and head over to Ruby's nearby, which is the oldest bar in the area and one of our all-time favorites.
Local degenerates, chain-smoking bartenders, the faint whiff of sorority girl vomit in the bathrooms left over from the summer, and you have the ultimate dive without all the danger and scummy film on your beer bottles. Pick up a brew at the counter, then survey all the photos along the building's three walls, which capture the true Coney Island
since Ruby's opened 35 years ago. If your date isn't amused by that, there's always the Wonder Wheel ... which you should leave her on by herself.