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Posts Tagged ‘arcade’

Little Caesars

Little Caesars $5 Pizza at Thor’s Retail Building at Surf and Stillwell. May 31, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

The latest chain to put its name on the glittering marquee of Thor Equities building in the new Coney Island is Little Caesars Pizza. Over Memorial Day Weekend, there was a cart selling Little Caesars “Hot-n-Ready” $5.00 pizzas in front of Thor’s building at Surf and Stillwell. The price was right and they sold out. Afterwards, signs remained taped to the outside of the window advertising the food franchise. We wondered if it was a tryout by a franchisee or guerrilla marketing. The official sign for “Little Caesars Express” went up last week. The Detroit-based Little Caesars is the nation’s third largest pizza chain with over 35 locations in New York City. It joins Applebee’s, Dunkin Donuts, Subway, Rita’s Italian Ice, It’Sugar and Rainbow Shops in making Surf and Stillwell a new mecca for chains and franchises.

What’s up with the vacant “ARCADE” next door? According to the Coney Island Rumor Mill, an arcade operator has agreed to fill the building’s two dummy arcades with games but paperwork issues are delaying the deal. No surprise there. Making a mockery of the zoning laws, the designated “arcades” have remained vacant ever since the building’s first tenant, Miami candy chain It’Sugar, opened last year. The 2009 Coney Island Rezoning requires the building to have a percentage of amusements equal to the square footage allocated for the arcades. If something other than amusements went into the space, the building’s C of O would be in jeopardy.

Why doesn’t Thor CEO Joe Sitt just throw some arcade machines in the “arcades” and open them up to the public instead of taking advantage of what appears to be a loophole in the zoning law that allows the spaces to remain vacant? Based on Sitt’s eviction of amusements from his property (“Thor’s Coney Island: What Stillwell Looked Like Before Joe Sitt,” ATZ, March 3, 2010), it’s our opinion that he’s not in any hurry to replace them.

The zoning states that “At least 15 percent of the Stillwell Avenue and West 10th Street street frontage of any zoning lot shall be occupied by Use Group A1 uses at the ground floor level.” Use Group “A1″ includes amusement arcades as well as open booths with games of skill or chance, such as water racing and shooting galleries, which used to occupy the spot in the demolished Henderson Building where the Brooklyn Nets Shop is now.

Related posts on ATZ…

March 11, 2014: Thor’s Coney Island: BurgerFi, Arcade Coming to Stillwell & Surf

October 17, 2013: The New Coney Island: Thor Equities Vacant Lots, Dummy Arcades

September 2, 2013: The New Coney Island: A Tale of Two Jones Walks

December 19, 2012: Will Coney Island’s Surf Ave Become a Mecca for Franchises?

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Rolling Stones Pinball Machine

Rolling Stones Pinball Machine at Margarita Island, Coney Island. May 26, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Pinball is back in Coney. It’s only one table–the Rolling Stones (Stern 2011)– but most New York bars with pinball machines have one or two, according to the New York City Pinball Map. The location is Margarita Island, the newly opened bar at 1205 Bowery that is the successor to Beer Island. There’s a Boxer and a few other arcade machines in the indoor bar adjacent to the patio.

Coney Island has arcades with redemption games galore–The Eldorado on the Bowery, under Deno’s Wonder Wheel, and at Luna Park–but no pinball. Back in 2011, Ruby’s and the Freak Bar each had one table, and Carl Muraco’s Game World on Surf Avenue had two. All were destroyed by Sandy.

Related posts on ATZ…

March 30, 2014: Spring Reading: “Automatic Pleasures: The History of the Coin Machine”

November 15, 2013: Modern Pinball NYC Opens with New Arcade Business Model

November 29, 2011: Fascination: From Coney Island to Nantasket Beach

August 15, 2011: Games: Where You Can Play Vintage Pinball Year Round

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Arcade Sign

Arcade Sign, Thor Equities Building at Surf and Stillwell in Coney Island, July 23, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

At the Alliance for Coney Island Gala last Thursday, ATZ stopped by Thor Equities’ table to network. Seriously, it was a great opportunity to find out the answer to a question that’s been on our mind since last season. Will there be arcade machines in Thor’s retail building this year? The building has gorgeously lit, expensive signage for two arcades where there’s nothing but “Retail Space for Lease” signs. As we’ve noted previously, it makes a mockery of the City’s 2009 rezoning requiring a percentage of amusements on the property. The dummy arcades are our pet peeve.

Good news! Glenn Vogel, Director of Leasing for Thor Equities told ATZ that one of the two arcades had been leased and will open for business this spring. The reason the arcades were not previously leased, despite many inquiries, was that Thor wanted to put something new and different in the space, Vogel explained. We promised to be the first one there to play on the arcade’s opening day!

BurgerFi

BurgerFi Cheeseburger. Photo via BurgerFi Facebook

The other piece of news that Vogel was able to confirm is the rumor that’s been floating around Coney Island that BurgerFi is coming to the Stillwell Avenue side of Thor’s building. The Delray Beach, Florida-based burger and hot dog chain has reportedly leased the vacant store between Brooklyn Rock and the Brooklyn Nets, which will put them right across the street from Nathan’s and around the corner from a Johnny Rockets. Thor’s building’s roof deck, which hasn’t been used with the exception of a private party last summer, is part of the deal.

Launched in 2011, BurgerFi now has 62 locations, including franchisees. According to their franchising FAQs:

Our natural burgers are a healthful, wholesome and guilt free indulgence made from fresh, never frozen natural Angus beef that is hormone and antibiotic free and raised humanly to create the best tasting burger possible. All beef dogs, real dairy fresh frozen custard and fresh cut fries, as well as craft beer and wine, are all served up in our urban hip design setting.

BurgerFi is the latest national chain to come to the new Coney Island. Back in 2012, ATZ asked “Will Coney Island’s Surf Ave Become a Mecca for Franchises?” (December 19, 2012). Clearly, the answer is yes. Like attracts like. In 2014, Johnny Rockets, Red Mango, Rita’s Italian Ice and Subway Cafe, which are currently under construction, are expected to join It’Sugar, Applebee’s, Popeye’s, Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins and Subway on the main drag of Coney’s amusement district. Also on Surf and in a category unto themselves are Nathan’s original 1916 store, which is a year-round magnet for tourists, and Brooklyn-grown Grimaldi’s Pizzeria.

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Related posts on ATZ…

January 3, 2014: New Year, New Franchise: Rita’s Italian Ice Coming to Coney Island

September 11, 2013: Subway Cafe to Replace Furniture Store on Coney Island’s Surf Ave

April 11, 2013: Thor’s Coney Island: Wampum Clothing & Skate Pop-Up to Open in May

February 13, 2013: Thor’s Coney Island: Candy Retailer It’Sugar to Open Surf Ave Store

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