The Other Ford Theater: Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk

Ford Amphitheater
The Ford Amphitheater, Coney Island boardwalk and Parachute Jump

New Ford Amphitheater signals Coney Island’s rebirth.

Just in time for summer, Brooklyn has a new outdoor concert venue, at the beach in Coney Island. The 5,000 seat theater, covered but open to the ocean breezes, hosts both paid and free concerts, all by nationally known musicians.

The Ford Amphitheater  is a local partnership with Tri-State Ford Dealers, the City of New York and the developer, iStar. Concerts begin July 1 and run through September.

Ford Amphitheater

The Ford Amphitheater, Coney Island boardwalk and Parachute Jump. Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

The amphitheater incorporates the New York City Landmark Childs Building, built in 1923. It was home to the gigantic Childs Restaurant and then a candy factory; as part of the renovation, it will include a restaurant. At concerts you can get Brooklyn fare like Nathan’s hot dogs, Juniors cheesecake and Beigel’s Bakery black and white cookies.

Live Nation operates the theater, with an opening weekend of Impractical Jokers, Sting & Peter Gabriel and The Beach Boys. The Seaside Summer Concert Series, which for 36 years has offered free concerts, will be based here as well.

The Seaside Park and Community Arts Center will have family shows, free events and an acre of park land. A picnic area and Play Garden open soon.

Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment CEO Brett Yormark said, “We are thrilled to marry two iconic American brands, Ford and Coney Island, at New York’s newest outdoor entertainment destination.”

And while you are in Coney Island, you can check out the beach, ride the Parachute Jump or catch a Cyclones minor league baseball game. What you should not do, at least this weekend, is drive your Ford, or any other car, to the area; with huge crowds expected, officials advise taking the subway.

Judy Antell, who is's Free in 50 States editor, lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and... More about Judy Antell