Visit Maimonides Park, home of Brooklyn’s cyclones

Hop on the subway, ride to the end of the line and step into a magical baseball experience. Where else – aside from your dreams – can you find baseball, boardwalks, beaches, roller coasters, and one of the oldest hot dog stands all in one place? It’s Coney Island, baby.

Brooklyn Cyclone (Affiliate of the New York Mets since 2001)
Established: 2001
Baseball Stadium: Maimonides Park (opened 2001, as KeySpan Park)
League: High-A South Atlantic League (Class A short New York-Penn League season from 2001 to 2020)
Championships: 2001 (co-champions), 2019
Elders: Pete Alonso, Robinson Canó, Michael Conforto, Scott Kazmir, Yusmeiro Petit, Amed Rosario and the legend and amazing Cyclones gift recipient, Wilmer Flores

Photo by Gordon Donovan

Baseball is, of course, deep in Brooklyn’s blood. Walk down a city street and you’re almost as likely to see a fan with a Brooklyn Dodgers cap as you are to see the Mets or Yankees. But after the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles before the 1958 season, Brooklyn was without a professional baseball team until 2001, when the Cyclones moved in at the end of the Coney Island pier.

However, their existence occurred a year earlier in another borough: Queens. For one season in 2000, the team played with the Queens Kings — surely Kevin James’ Favorite Team — with a unique green and purple uniform combination. The following season, the team moved to its current digs at Coney Island where they were named the Cyclones after the iconic wooden roller coaster that has been around since 1927. But that’s not the only piece of history. : Maimonides Park is located in the former location of Steeplechase Park, which was a Coney Island attraction from 1897 until it closed in 1964. There is even an attraction still standing from the days of the Steeplechase : the 262-foot parachute jump is located beyond the right field wall, and has been at Coney Island since moving from the Queens World’s Fair in 1939.

Maimonides Park

Location of baseball stadium (via Google Maps)
List of Brooklyn cyclones
Brooklyn Cyclone Calendar

1904 Surf Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11224
(718) 449-8497

Capacity: 7,000 with 2,500 additional standing places available
Dimensions: left field, 315 feet; center lot, 412 feet; right field, 325 feet

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Photo by Ashley Marshall

Once you walk through the doors – after taking a photo with the statue of Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese outside the entrance – you’re going to get a rough view that just can’t be beat. Beyond the outer fence, you’ll find a great view of the ocean, hear the excited screams of children and their families, and watch in awe (and a bit of nauseated anxiety) as theme park goers battle it out. the death-defying rides. It’s the kind of thing that seems to have been integrated Triple Play Baseball rather than in real life.

There’s a large two-story team store – perfect for all your Brooklyn Cyclones gear – which you’ll need as the team keeps their promotional calendar filled with fun ideas. From their legendary Seinfeld Nights to attending Diversion Cup for awesome bobblehead giftsthere are a lot of things you’ll want to load up before heading home.

Just beware: the team recently changed from a short-season club to a club that plays the whole season. Be sure to bundle up for these April matches, as the wind off the ocean can get quite chilly at night.

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Photo by Gordon Donovan

Concessions

For such a wild environment, the Cyclones games food is actually not much different from your standard fare. Which makes sense – if you want fried dough or fried clams or a hundred other weird, fried foods, there are more than enough options for you along the boardwalk. The team carries Nathan’s hot dogs to several concession stands—also serving burgers, fries, and chicken tenders—inside the park. So grab a shot at the iconic 106-year-old booth on Surf Ave., but skip the long lines (waits can sometimes take _an hour_) and grab your dog inside the stadium.

You will also find Arancini Bros stalls. serving Sicilian-style rice balls – a local favorite – and, of course, ice cream.

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Arancini Bros. Rice Balls, served in egg containers at Maimonides Park.

Mascot

Say hello to Sandy the seagull. Named for Sandy Koufax, Sandy — like all good superheroes (and every mascot East a superhero of one kind or another) – even has an origin story. His grandfather grew up as a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, listening to games while perched atop a telephone pole. So when the Cyclones moved to town, Sandy and his grandfather moved their nest to the skydive to get a closer look at the action. One day during construction of the parkSandy fell from the nest and instead of swearing revenge on all the theme park attractions, quickly became the only choice to represent the team.

Sandy is not alone, however. Watch out for his son, Pee Wee, who goes by the name of – who else? — Legendary Dodger Pee Wee Reese.

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Sandy the seagull in its natural habitat. Photo by Gordon Donovan.

Local Attractions

It’s Coney Island. All location is an attraction. There’s the famous promenade, filled with all the sea, sand and people watching you could hope for. If you choose to skip Nathan’s famous hot dog stand, there are more fried treats and food vendors than any cardiologist would ever be comfortable with.

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You can ride skydive, cyclone or just head to Luna Parkan amusement park in the amusement park that is Coney Island. Walk down Surf Ave. a few blocks away and there is the New York Aquariumwhere you can see sharks, otters and octopuses without ever having to dip your toe in the ocean.

Of course how can you get to Coney Island and do not see a classic carnival show? To hit Parallel shows by the sea for the kind of spectacle the area was famous for – we’re talking sword swallowers, fire eaters, snake tamers and more.

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Coney Island, seen from an incoming Q train.

Food and drink

If you haven’t binged on hot dogs, plan some time for pizza. Yes, some of the best pizza is nearby, with Totonno’s Pizzeria Napolitano, one of the best in town. Open since 1921, the store is run by the grandchildren of the original owners. The pizza gets some of its flavor from the charcoal brick oven they use – a type of cooking method that is now illegal except for places like Totonno which have been protected as long as their doors remain open.

Then, if you have room, head to the Williams Candy Shop for old-fashioned candy apples, cotton candy, ice cream and more.

Accommodation

While there are hotels near Coney Island, if you’re looking to do more than hang out on the water, I’d recommend staying somewhere in Lower Manhattan or downtown Brooklyn. That way, you’ll be about 45 minutes to an hour by train from Coney Island, but also much closer to the rest of the things you might want to see and do while in New York. Subway D, F, N and Q trains all serve Coney Island, so make sure you’re near one of these stations and you’ll be set.

To move on

Other than the Yankees and the Mets – which you don’t need us to tell you about – you’re about 50 miles from the Somerset Patriots – the Double-A affiliate of the Yankees – and about 65 miles from the Jersey Shore Blueclaws, the affiliate High-A from the Phillies. You can also choose to head north and take on the Hudson Valley Renegades (High-A Yankees), Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Double-A Mets), Buffalo Bisons (Triple-A Blue Jays ), the Rochester Red Wings (Triple-A Nationals), and the Syracuse Mets (Triple-A and that’s pretty self-explanatory.)

Basically, hire a car, hop in, and you’ve got a full week’s vacation a few hundred miles away.

The Queens Road

Brooklyn is the closest stop to Queens in terms of distance – which is why you can see Mets players returning to injury there – but it’s pretty close to the start of the pro game for a lot of those players. . If you want to see some of the youngest teams and most exciting players, Brooklyn is where you’ll want to be.

Low-A: Food from Saint Lucia
High-A: Brooklyn Hurricanes
Double A: Binghamton Rumble Ponies
Triple-A: Syracuse dishes

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