While theme parks like Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Six Flags are known for having some of the biggest rides and for being the epitomes of technological advancement, an approximately four-mile-long peninsula in south Brooklyn helped pioneer all of this: Coney Island. Coney Island, once called nicknames like “Nickel Empire,” “America’s Playground,” “Sodom By the Sea,” “Electric Eden,” and “Poor Man’s Paradise,” is much more than its entertainment side. Millions of tourists venture out here all the time, but most don’t realize the tremendous social, technological, and economic impacts Coney Island has had on areas even outside of New York City. Here, we explore the secrets of Coney Island!

Boardwalk and Brewery Tour

Coney Island brewery

Join us on August 25th and September 9th to explore Coney Island in person on a short tour of the boardwalk and a behind-the-scenes tour of Coney Island Brewery which will end with a beer tasting! This experience is $15 for Untapped New York Insiders! Not an Insider yet? Not an Insider yet? Become a member today and use code JOINUS for your first month free! As an Insider, you gain access to member-exclusive in-person and virtual experiences as well as our archive of more than 200 on-demand webinars.

1. The Dutch Likely Named Coney Island After Rabbits

Coney Island

The name “Coney Island” isn’t recent at all: in fact, it goes back to around the mid-1600s, which was a bit after Dutch explorer Henry Hudson came across Coney Island in its barren state. The Lenape tribes knew the island as “the land without shadows,” but the Dutch soon renamed it Konijnen Eiland, or “Rabbit Island,” since there was presumably a large rabbit population along its sandy coastlines. There are other theories regarding Coney Island’s name origin, but this is the most popular.