Coney Island is possibly best known as the site of amusement parks and a major resort that reached their peak during the first half of the 20th century. It declined in popularity after World War II and endured years of neglect. In recent years, the area has seen the opening of MCU Park and has become home to the minor league baseball team the Brooklyn Cyclones.
The neighborhood of the same name is a community of 60,000 people in the western part of the peninsula, with Sea Gate to its west, Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach to its east, and Gravesend to the north.
The Native American inhabitants of the region, the Lenape, called the island Narrioch--meaning "land without shadows"--because, as with other south shore Long Island beaches, its orientation means the beach remains in sunlight all day.
Coney Island appears to be the English adaptation of the Dutch name Conyne Eylandt, or Konijneneiland in modern Dutch spelling. The word "coney" was popular in English at the time as an alternative for rabbit. Coney came into the English language through the Old French word conil, which itself derived from the Latin word for rabbit, cuniculus. As on other Long Island barrier islands, Coney Island had many and diverse rabbits, and rabbit hunting prospered until resort development eliminated their habitat. The Dutch name is found on the New Netherland map of 1639 by Johannes Vingboon, which is before any known English records.The English name "Conney Isle" appeared on maps as early as 1690, and by 1733 the modern name, Coney Island, was used.