Say Hello to the Coney Island Arcade's Cobra! April 2, 2011. 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr
You’ve heard of the Bronx Zoo’s Cobra aka Missing In Action, the twitter sensation and New York’s most celebrated snake. Say hello to the Coney Island Arcade Cobra! Though it’s gone unreported till now, Brooklyn has a cobra too and you can safely interact with her because she’s an arcade game. The cobra-themed “Boxer” is the newest model manufactured and distributed under the Coney Island Boxer brand by Coney arcade owner Manny Cohen and his partner Stanley Fox.
Cohen and Fox have already introduced the 300-pound machine to the amusement industry at trade shows from Vegas to China, but last week the game made its debut on Coney Island’s Bowery. You’ll find the Cobra in front of a tiny stand with a handful of other games.
As you can see in the above photo, the sign for the Coney Island Arcade was resurrected. Unfortunately the arcade on 12th Street will not be rising from the ashes of the fire that destroyed it last May. ATZ has learned that the burned ruins of the building, which are a blight on the Bowery, may finally be demolished in the next few
The Coney Island Arcade Cobra and Pretty the Cat Hang Out . April 2, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr
Coney Island Arcade is the name of the arcade that Cohen has operated for more than three decades at 12th Street and the Bowery in the heart of Brooklyn’s world-famous amusement area. Since the fire, he has continued to operate games on the Bowery, but there’s space for only a handful of arcade machines. Alas, the Coney Island Rumor Mill is saying the owner of the building has no plans to rebuild.
What’s more, penalties for “Class 1 – Immediately Hazardous” and “Class 2 – Major” ECB (Environmental Control Board) violations relating to fencing and failure to maintain the building are pending and must be resolved before a demolition permit can proceed. The Coney Island Arcade fire was our number one story of “Amusing the Zillion’s Top 10 Coney Island News Stories of 2010,” ATZ, January 1, 2011.
We’re sad to report that if Cohen is unable to find another location, his 12th Street arcade will join the ranks of Coney’s lost arcades. Among the arcades that have closed due to the redevelopment of the past few years are Astroland’s three arcades and the Fascination arcade in the now-demolished Henderson Building. Coney Island’s last remaining arcades are located in Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park and the Eldorado on the Bowery.
Cobra Art. April 2, 2011. 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr
Nobody was around to feed money to the cobra when we took these photos. She’s hungry! Stop by and play on Coney Island’s opening weekend. The boxer game is a 21st century version of the classic bag-punching machine. The concept is a classic—many manufacturers such as Sega (1960) and Zamperla (1980) have produced similar machines since the heyday of the penny and nickel bag punchers.
“This is a new and better form. We knew it would make money,” Fox told me when I wrote a story about their then-new business for IAAPA’s Funworld Magazine in 2005. “If you get a good score you’ll hear cheering. But if you do poorly, it’ll say something like ‘that was a chicken blow.’”
The Coney Island Arcade Boxer is available in eight languages and features three types of games play, speed measurement, power measurement, tournament mode and high score display. The game is popular at amusement parks, bowling alleys, pool halls, sports bars and nightclubs. Hey, you can even buy one of these babies for your home rec room.
Coney Island Arcade and Games, 30-19 West 12th Street, Coney Island, 718-372-8811
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