When we started working in Coney Island, Target the Cat was already sitting on the counter of Jimmy’s Balloon Dart on the Bowery calling the people in to play. Some girls can’t walk by without stopping to pet him and ask his name. Next thing you know they’re busting balloons and winning prizes. The gregarious cat is world-famous thanks to having posed for many photographs including one that appeared in the New York Times.
Now the six-year-old cat, who has born and raised in Coney Island’s amusement area, is about to be evicted along with his humans, who own and operate games at 1105 Bowery. Eviction notices were served on four concessionaires who run games and a food stand at 1105 Bowery. All are set to be in court on Tuesday, though it’s doubtful the cat will show up.
Rumors of the evictions have been the talk of the Coney Island Rumor Mill for weeks. Whatever story you hear or read, there’s more to it than meets the eye.
The building is owned by Shore Leave LLC and Rabbit Beach LLC and Cyclone Holdings LLC and 3019 W 12TH St LLC. Property owner Jeff Persily did not reply to ATZ’s request for comment on the evictions.
Will the judge decide the tenants can stay for another season? The east side of the Bowery just won’t be the same without Target the Cat patrolling the area. This part of the Bowery is his territory. Just to be clear, although Target and his kitty companion Pretty are losing the only home they’ve ever known, they’re not up for adoption. The cats are the beloved pets of Manny Cohen, the owner of Coney Island Arcade, who has been a tenant here for 22 years.
Target and his late sister Targeretty were born at Spook-A-Rama in Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. When a worker heard mewing and went to investigate, he found the motherless kittens. They were kept warm with a portable heater and fed with a dropper. Two weeks later, Manny Cohen adopted them and raised them at the arcade.
In May of 2010, a terrible fire destroyed the arcade on a day that workers sent by the landlord tarred the roof. Target escaped when the firemen battling the blaze cut the gates but his shy sister Targeretty died in the fire. The firemen found her in the office where she felt safe and had probably died from smoke inhalation. For weeks, Target kept searching for her in the ruins of the building and crying.
The arcade was never rebuilt and the site remains an empty lot at the corner of West 12th Street and the Bowery. The building at 1105 Bowery is adjacent to the lot and extends to Jones Walk.
Related Posts on ATZ…
February 21, 2011: Target the Coney Island Arcade Cat & His Friend Pretty
January 26, 2011: Photo of the Day: Henderson Music Hall Cats Now Homeless
May 6, 2010: Suspicious Fire at Coney Island Arcade Building