About these ads
Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘balloon dart’

Jerry, Ball Toss Game

Jerry, Ball Toss Game, Jones Walk. May 29, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

Having grown up working behind the counter of Mom’s Balloon Dart and Dad’s Spot Game, I feel a special kinship with game operators. It’s not an easy job, especially when there’s no awning and the sun is setting in your face. If nobody plays your game, you don’t get paid. The Coney Island indie game agents whose portraits are in this photo album are survivors and jacks and jills of all trades. Jerry was a crew member on the Zipper until the ride lost its lease and was shipped to Honduras. Now he runs a ball toss game on Jones Walk and is one of the stars of Zipper, Amy Nicholson’s documentary about the rezoning and redevelopment of Coney Island.

Monica, High Striker. West 12th Street

Monica, High Striker. West 12th Street. August 28, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita

Monica, the High Striker Queen of Coney, has been on the road with traveling carnivals. In Coney Island, she was displaced several times due to changes in land ownership, yet she always manages to come back. When I worked a game on Jones Walk, Monica was a few doors down. Since then she’s been on the Bowery and is now located on West 12th Street. This is the spunky gal who told a Voice of America reporter last year that independent attractions like hers give Coney Island its soul. “Our spirit will live on long after we’re dead, honey. We are the blood, sweat and tears on the block,” said Monica in a feature about Coney’s amusement parks.

Skin the Wire

Janice, Skin the Wire, West 12th Street, Coney Island. March 24, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

What’s the difference between an agent and a clerk? Agents work their own game or for a percentage of the profits rather than an hourly wage. They don’t wear company shirts and hats. They know how to call people in to play and are adept at getting you to play some more. The key to their longevity is making sure everybody walks away happy. One of my favorite signs in Coney Island–now long demolished, but its operator is back– is WIN BIG! BIG! PRIZES FOR THE FAMILY!!!

Roll-A-Coaster

Carolyn, Roll-A-Coaster. West 12th Street, Coney Island. March 24, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

Janice and Carolyn work the games of skill on West 12th Street next to the mechanical wonders Miss Coney Island and Coney Island Always and the Coney Island History Project. Roll-A-Coaster and other ingenious games are the creation of Benny Harrison, who should be designated the Wizard of West 12th Street.

Coney Island Arcade

Manny, Coney Island Arcade Games on the Bowery. March 23, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

Target the Coney Island Cat and his human, Manny Cohen of Coney Island Arcade and Games, recently left Coney’s Bowery forever. Evicted by the landlord, they moved to Las Vegas. Jimmy Balloons, who operated his Balloon Dart on the Bowery was also displaced and has since reopened on Jones Walk under the Wonder Wheel’s big neon sign.

Jimmy Balloons new Balloon Dart

Jimmy Balloons new Balloon Dart under construction in Coney Island. March 13, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

Share

Related posts on ATZ…

May 16, 2013: Shooting Gallery Revival in Post-Sandy Coney Island

April 22, 2013: Saying Goodbye to Manny and Target the Coney Island Cat

April 2, 2013: Shoot the Freak Reborn in Coney Island as Shoot the Clown

April 13, 2012: Photo of the Day: Catch 1 Ball Win This Prize

About these ads

Read Full Post »

Target the Coney Island Cat

Target the Cat & Jimmy Balloons Calling in Customers. April 5, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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.

Target

Target the Coney Island Cat at work. May 14, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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 the Coney Island Cat

On the Bowery with Target the Coney Island Cat, March 23, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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.

Target

Target the Coney Island Cat. February 11, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Share

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: R.I.P. Targette, the Coney Island Arcade Cat’s Shy Sister

May 6, 2010: Suspicious Fire at Coney Island Arcade Building

Read Full Post »

Ghost Lettering

Ghost Lettering, Coney Island Boardwalk. October 23, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

On Sunday in Coney Island, we happened to take a few photos that are linked by end of season color and the melancholy passage of time. Last week, the ghost lettering of a forgotten arcade was revealed on the brick facade of the building on the Boardwalk at West 12th Street. As previously reported, Gyro Corner Clam Bar took down their signage and moved it to their second location on Coney Island’s Bowery. Gyro is one of the Mom and Pops which must vacate their longtime locations on the Boardwalk by November 4th.

At first we thought the lettering dated back to the old Playland Arcade and so did some of our friends. By Coney Island standards, it was the equivalent of an archaeological find! People have fond memories of Playland, which occupied the store from 1957 through 1981, according to its operator Stan Fox. But Stan informed us the ghost lettering is actually of more recent vintage: It belongs to an arcade that shared the corner with Gyro Corner for a spell in the late ’90s. You can listen to his memories of managing the Playland at this location for 20 years and other arcade stories in his audio interview in the Coney Island History Project’s Oral History Archive.

Balloon Dart

Balloon Dart, After the Season Is Over. October 23, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

This weekend is Coney Island’s last of the 2011 season. The rides and games and arcades are still open, and yet this solitary Balloon Dart game has already been abandoned by its operator. As a carny kid, my first job was picking up darts and replacing busted balloons in Mom’s dart game. Although the painterly composition made me stop and take a photo, there’s something sad about seeing the remnants of the balloons left on the hooks.

Back wall at Ruby's

Back wall of Ruby's back wall... October 23, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

When you walk into Ruby’s Bar on the Coney Island Boardwalk, you’ll notice the back wall is already stripped of its vintage photos of friends and fans. The task of packing up decades of memorabilia has already begun for Ruby’s owners Michael and Melody Sarrel. The photos behind the bar are still intact as you can see in the picture below. Rain or shine, Ruby’s “Final Closing Party” is scheduled for Saturday, October 29th Sunday, October 30, starting at 11 am and going on till ??? Of course, everyone is hoping for another reprieve, this time in the form of a multi-year lease from Luna Park operator Zamperla. If the deal gets done, Ruby’s owners will still have to pack up because all of the Boardwalk stores are expected to undergo extensive renovations. We’re not against renovations, we’re against loss of character. Goodbye, dear old Ruby’s! Will we recognize you if we’re lucky enough to meet again next season?

UPDATE October 27, 2011, 11:40 am

Ruby’s “Final Closing Party” was changed to Sunday, October 30, due to weather forecast for Saturday. Same time–11am till ??–same place. Check Ruby’s Facebook page for updates. Friends keep asking poignant questions that Ruby’s owners cannot possibly answer yet like “Will you be open for the first Polar Bear swim?” and “are we going for good, or just for the season????” We’ll keep on hoping, but 2012 is def not a done deal! We recommend coming out to say “Goodbye” this weekend to the seven Boardwalk Mom & Pops.

Ruby's

Ruby's Bar, late afternoon in October. October 23, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Share

Related posts on ATZ…

October 14, 2011: Photo of the Day: Vernacular Signage by Lindsay Wengler

October 13, 2011: Photo of the Day: Coney Island Americana Looking for New Beach

October 10, 2011: Photo of the Day: Coney Island’s Famed “Hey Joey!” Doomed

September 29, 2010: Saved or Not? Signs from Coney Island’s Henderson Building

Read Full Post »

RIP Win Win Win Big! Big! Prizes, September 12, 2009. Demolished on June 18, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

RIP Win Win Win Big! Big! Prizes, September 12, 2009. Demolished on June 18, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

In New York City, especially in Thor’s Coney Island, if you see a building being demolished without a posted permit, say something. Call 311 right away. Don’t dawdle. There appears to be a loophole in the law that allows property owners to get away with demolishing structures whether or not they have a permit, as long as the DOB doesn’t actually catch anyone in the act of demolition. At least that’s what appears to have happened at Thor Equities-owned property at 1124 Surf Avenue and 12th Street in Coney Island on June 18. “NO VIOLATION WARRANTED FOR COMPLAINT AT TIME OF INSPECTION. NO DEMOLITION WORK NOTED AT TIME OF INSPECTION, NO WORK NOTED,” wrote Badge #2425 in his report. What about the fact the buildings were there on June 17? Show us the permit, please.

Demolition in Progress: Surf Ave & 12th Street, Coney Island.  June 18, 2010

Demolition in Progress: Surf Ave & 12th Street, Coney Island. June 18, 2010

On Friday, June 18th, around 1 pm, ATZ learned of the demolition of Thor Equities-owned buildings at the corner of Surf and 12th Street, which took place in the early morning hours. By the time a tipster arrived on the scene and sent us the above photo, the former balloon dart game, Pina Colada stand and tattoo parlor were in the dumpster. The DOB inspector turned up later in response to a Coney Island resident’s complaint. But the inspector, who said he was not allowed to give his name, told a bystander that he had to catch them in the act of demolition to issue a violation. The report which is now online on the DOB website corroborates this point.

The inspector also mentioned the building was “not on the map.” What’s that supposed to mean? No demo permit required? The buildings have been there for years! The balloon dart game and pina colada stand hadn’t operated this season since the business owners had gotten the boot from Thor last year. If you have any photos of the operating businesses such as the one posted below, please send along and ATZ will post them under “RIP Win Big! Big! Prizes for the Family!!!”

goodnight astroland. September 7, 2008. Photo © brainware3000 via flickr

Photo of the now-demolished Surf Ave balloon dart titled goodnight astroland. September 7, 2008. Photo © brainware3000 via flickr

The demolition was carried out by crews working the graveyard shift at a time when everyone else in Coney Island was getting ready for the big weekend–the first Friday Night Fireworks, Mermaid Parade, Brooklyn Cyclones season opener. A fence went up to secure Thor’s property. Now it’s an empty lot to add to Thor’s collection of empty lots. On the Coney Island Message Board, Capt Nemo called it “Sitt-struction begins, there yesterday gone today” and posted before and after photos.

Before the Demolition: Win Big! Big!  June 12, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Six Days Before the Demolition: Win Big! Big! It looked like a Rehab! June 12, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Some of you may look at the photos and agree with the poster on the CIUSA board thread who wrote sarcastically, “Maybe that gorgeous structure should have been landmarked.  It looked like a dump I always thought.  Looks better as a lot frankly, c’mon seriously?” Our response would be you’re missing the point. Letting a property owner get away with demolishing a structure without a permit sets a bad precedent. What’s next on Thor’s hit list? The doomed Bank of Coney Island adjacent to the newly empty lot, where pre-demolition asbestos abatement is in progress? In fact the early morning demolition of the concession stands reminds us of Rudy Giuliani’s early morning bulldozing of Horace Bullard’s Thunderbolt roller coaster in 2000, which ended up in court.

No one has suggested these concession stands should be landmarked. We’re sad to see another vestige of Coney Island’s vernacular signage and old school carnival games bite the dust. As someone who grew up working behind the counter of our family’s carnival games, we see a stand that was a fellow concessionaire’s business. Today he is driving a cab. One of our favorite photos of his vanished balloon dart is titled “goodbye astroland” (posted above) because the photographer shot it on Astroland’s last day in 2008. But for the operator of this game and other individual operators in Coney Island evicted by Thor Equities, a more apt title would be “Goodbye Amusement Business.” While Coney Island’s revitalized amusement area is booming, Thor Equities property is kept vacant. Last July, the Surf Avenue site owned by Thor Equities was rezoned for a 30-story hotel.

Here is a copy of the DOB’s complaint report for your reading displeasure…

NYC Department of Buildings
Overview for Complaint #:3345602 = RESOLVED
Complaint at: 1124 SURF AVENUE BIN: 3245151 Borough: BROOKLYN ZIP: 11224
Re: DANGEROUS DEMO CONST W/O PERMIT POSTED;

Category Code: 12 DEMOLITION-UNSAFE/ILLEGAL/MECHANICAL DEMO

DOB District: N/A
Special District: CI – CONEY ISLAND

Assigned To: BEST SQUAD Priority: A
Received: 06/18/2010 14:36 Block: 8696 Lot: 37 Community Board: 313
Owner: WEISS SURF AVENUE,LL

Last Inspection: 06/18/2010 – – BY BADGE # 2425
Disposition: 06/18/2010 – – I2 – NO VIOLATION WARRANTED FOR COMPLAINT AT TIME OF INSPECTION
Job Number:
Comments: NO DEMOLITION WORK NOTED AT TIME OF INSPECTION, NO WORK NOTED

Thor Equities property on Surf Avenue between Jones Walk & 12th Street.   Photo © Jim McDonnell

What the block looked like before demolition: Thor Equities property on Surf Avenue between Jones Walk & 12th Street. Photo © Jim McDonnell

Related posts on ATZ…

May 13, 2010: Scoop: Deal to Rent Thor’s Coney Island Lots a No-Go for Fair Producer

April 29, 2010: Photo of the Day: Interior of Coney Island’s Doomed Henderson Music Hall

April 29, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Joey “Bulldozer” Sitt Is Baaack Playing Games!

March 3, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: What Stillwell Looked Like Before Joe Sitt

Share

Read Full Post »

When I was the littlest carny kid, my job was picking up darts and replacing busted balloons in Mom’s dart game. My parents paid me 25 cents a night and all the pennies. Pretty soon I was working with my Dad in his Spot Game. Is it any wonder that in Coney Island my camera and I gravitate to the carnival games? Here are some of my midway faves from this season…

Target the Coney Island Cat in Jimmys Balloon Dart on the Bowery. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Target the Coney Island Cat in Jimmy's Balloon Dart on the Bowery. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Target the Cat’s human is Manny Cohen, owner of the Coney Island Arcade. The (now) world famous Coney Island cat’s territory is the Bowery between 12th Street and Jones Walk, especially Jimmy’s Balloon Dart. Last month I wrote about Target and his shy sister Targeretty here.

Boy wins his first prize of the season at Water Race Game on Jones Walk, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Boy wins his first prize of the season at Water Race Game on Jones Walk, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Coney Islands Jimmy Prince plays Skin the Wire on Jones Walk. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Coney Island's Jimmy Prince plays Skin the Wire on Jones Walk. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

After his first day as “Distinguished Historian” at the Coney Island History Project, Jimmy Prince tried his luck at Benny’s Skin the Wire game on Jones Walk. As one of Benny’s agents likes to say, “A very challenging game, like Operation.” Or as Benny likes to say “You’se can do it!” or “Win a Calipoli!” Only one person has ever asked “What’s a Calipoli?” Benny replied, “I have no idea.” You can win a big piece of plush, a Betty Boop doll, a digital camera, or anything else on display. Except Chuckles. The animatronic clown is NOT a prize. But go right ahead and take his photo.

Krazy Kans, Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Krazy Kans, Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Recession Buster: 100 Shots for $2.00 on Coney Island's Opening Day. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Recession Buster: 100 Shots for $2.00 on Coney Island's Opening Day. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Half of the photos in this album were taken on Palm Sunday, opening day of the 2009 season. Only 22 more days left to go!

The next shot was taken on the Fourth of July. My fave photos of Shoot the Freak never show the freak. I remember seeing Shoot the Freak before it ever arrived in Coney Island. The game was originally at the San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy. It wasn’t until the game was brought to Coney Island that it became world famous.

Shoot the Freak on Fourth of July, Coney Island Boardwalk. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Shoot the Freak on Fourth of July, Coney Island Boardwalk. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Spin-N-Win at Eldorado Arcade, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Spin-N-Win at Eldorado Arcade, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Trade Up in Dreamland. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Trade Up in Dreamland. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Share

Related posts on ATZ…

November 5, 2009: Museum Piece or Obsolete? Old Carnival Games, Stick Joints on eBay

November 3, 2009: Coney Island’s Shoot Out the Star Still Open… Players Wanted!

September 24, 2009: Photo Album: Coney Islanders and Carnies at San Gennaro

June 22, 2009: A Judge’s Photo Album of the 2009 Coney Island Mermaid Parade

Read Full Post »

Target the Cat in the Basketball Game, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Target the Cat in the Basketball Game on the Bowery near Jones Walk, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Coney Island Arcade operator Manny Cohen, who owns Target the Coney Island Arcade Cat, sent us this photo of our favorite Coney cat and his sister Targeretty. Although we’ve been taking pix of Target since 2007, we’ve never even glimpsed his shy sister.

Portrait of Target and Targeretty, the Coney Island Arcade Cats.  Photo © Manny Cohen.

Portrait of Target and Targeretty, the Coney Island Arcade Cats. Photo © Manny Cohen

Targeretty hides out in the office of the Coney Island Arcade while the gregarious Target makes his rounds of the arcade and the games and rides on the Bowery. Target is also the official mascot of the flickr group Coney Island is Alive and Kicking and Welcomes Visitors in 2009!

Target the Cat at Home in the Coney Island Arcade.  Photo © Manny Cohen

Target the Cat at Home in the Coney Island Arcade. Photo © Manny Cohen

At the beginning of the season Jimmy was interviewed for a story in the NY Times and Target’s photo was featured in the slide show along with pics of the world famous Cyclone Roller Coaster and the Wonder Wheel. I’ve taken enough photos to make a flickr set called Target the World Famous Coney Island Arcade Cat. But fame hasn’t changed Target one bit. Before the parade got started on Mermaid Day, I found Jimmy and Target working together as usual in the Balloon Dart.

Target & Jimmy Waiting for Customers. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Target & Jimmy Waiting for Customers. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Target the Coney Island Arcade Cat Stretching. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Target the Coney Island Arcade Cat Stretching. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Target the Cat Playing with a Prize. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Target the Cat Playing with a Prize. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Share

Read Full Post »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 316 other followers

%d bloggers like this: