There are only two places I seriously wanted to visit since childhood. One was EPCOT, which requires no explanation.
The other was Coney Island. When I saw video clips of crazy old rides there on TV, I thought to myself, "I don't even believe in rides and I still would've made a point to ride those." It was both saddening and mystifying to think that such a grand place of excitement could be so famous and widely visited and yet still manage to die off. I had no idea there was anything left of the place, and I would ask my mom about what it was like and why it was gone now. I also didn't quite understand how people got to it if it was really an island (because you know, when I was a child, bridges were still a new invention). Even recently I thought maybe the name was just a reference to Long Island, but it turns out it was originally more of an island of its own.
I don't even remember when I first found out about the Cyclone. Probably just one of those things I stored in my brain as mostly uninteresting when I first found out, but still took for granted later when I became an enthusiast.
Last year when I planned to visit Coney Island, I was actually more excited to go there than Manhattan (I cringe to recall this now). I would daydream about it frequently with only moderate misgivings about the Cyclone. When I finally got there, however, I was none too impressed. Part of me thought the place absolutely needed the Zamperla cleanup in order to be at all hospitable, but part of me was disappointed by it and felt its seedier past self would've been much more fun. I definitely think Deno's, the Cyclone itself, 12th St. Amusements, and Eldorado Auto Skooters had loads more character (or at least air-quotes "character") than Luna Park and Scream Zone.
All that said, I still appreciate the historical significance of Coney Island, and I'm looking forward to my next visit, as well as future visits for the return of the B&B Carousell and any other significant developments.