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Posts Tagged ‘Denny’s Ice Cream’

Coney Island Post-Dandy

Coney Island Post-Sandy: Interior Demolition of Storm-Ravaged Denny’s Ice Cream, Surf Avenue. November 17, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

One of the first casualties of Sandy in Coney Island’s amusement area could be replaced with mini-golf or a roller rink. Which do you prefer? Over the weekend, while storm-ravaged Denny’s Ice Cream on Surf Avenue was being gutted by volunteers, Coney Island USA founder Dick Zigun asked his followers on twitter: “Miniature Golf or Roller Rink to replace Denny’s Ice Cream? Opinions so far polling 50/50 & no one supports Paint Ball or Spin Art…hmm…”

Last week, word on the street was that the beloved ice cream shop established in 1978 and now owned by CIUSA would become a paintball game emporium a la Shoot the Freak. Replacing the ruined ice cream machines would be too costly for the arts organization, whose Freak Bar and theater next door was also damaged by the storm.

Dick’s new proposals signaled the start of a social media battle between #TeamRollerRink and #TeamMiniGolf. Just so you know, ATZ has added “Artist-Designed Mini-Golf Enthusiast” to our resume. We see the attraction as a quirky new successor to the mini-golf that used to be part of Batting Range and Go Kart City on Stillwell Avenue. There’s no reason it can’t also be a Black Light Mini-Golf with freaky interactive holes and a booth selling Denny’s signature banana pistachio soft serve and other fave snacks. #TeamMiniGolf had this to say….

The nonprofit arts organization bought Dennis Corines’ ice cream shop and building next door to Coney Island USA’s headquarters last March for $1.3 million. At the time, Zigun told ATZ: “Since we own an ice cream parlor and have no money to renovate, Denny’s might or might not continue next year. Even once we renovate the building will maintain a 500-square-foot storefront taking up most of Surf Avenue frontage that will always serve light food to street plus lobby inside.”

“Some day we can transfer air rights from the landmark Childs Building, match the two-story front of Childs then do a setback with an additional five to seven story tower on top of the base,” Zigun noted. The renderings that he showed last year at a Coney Island presentation at the AIA included a whimsical homage to the Elephant Hotel, which in the meantime would make a dandy hole for Mini Golf. Unless of course #TeamRollerRink wins this one…

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November 21, 2012: Coney Island Post-Sandy: Flooded Spook-A-Rama to Get New Stunts

November 13, 2012: Coney Island’s Eldorado Wins Lease But Bumper Cars Soaked by Sandy

November 9, 2012: Update on Coney Island’s Amusement Area After Sandy

October 30, 2012: Photo Album: Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath in Coney Island

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Dennys & Eldorado

Denny's Ice Cream & Eldorado Bumper Cars at Night. Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Thor Equities paid $4.5 million for Coney Island’s Eldorado Building according to the deed recorded on Thursday for the March sale of the property. The recorded buyer is a newly formed foreign limited liability company with Thor Equities listed as the contact. The multi-parcel transaction included the 4,500-square-foot building at 1218 Surf Avenue housing the Bumper Cars and the 6,123-square-foot building at 1215 Bowery where the arcade is located, according to Property Shark. ATZ first reported the sale in “60 Years of Family History in Coney Island End with Sale of Eldorado” (ATZ, March 20, 2012).

The price per square foot was $423, which is in line with the most recent comparable sale. Last November, the nonprofit arts organization Coney Island USA bought Denny’s Ice Cream for $1.3 million. The price per square foot was $465.

Neighbors for more than 30 years, the owners of the Eldorado and Denny’s Ice Cream were among the few remaining longtime property owners with businesses in Coney’s amusement zone. The business owners were at the age of retirement and lacking a next generation to step in decided to sell. The Eldorado Disco Palace of Bumper Cars opened in 1973, but the building was purchased by the Fitlin and Buxbaum families in 1971. Denny’s Dennis Corines has owned and operated the ice cream shop, where specialties include pistachio-banana soft serve, since the late ’70s.

Both businesses are expected to continue for at least this season. As ATZ reported last week, Gordon Lee, who operated the Eldorado Bumper Cars and Arcade for the Fitlins last year, has plans to reopen the business in the coming days for one last year.

On Friday, we watched workers getting Denny’s ready for Coney Island’s Opening Day. CIUSA’s Dick Zigun tweeted, “Just ate the very 1st ice cream of the year at DENNY’S: a big hot fudge Sunday! There goes the diet…”

Zigun tells ATZ: “Since we own an ice cream parlor and have no money to renovate, Denny’s might or might not continue next year. Even once we renovate the building will maintain a 500-square-foot storefront taking up most of Surf Avenue frontage that will always serve light food to street plus lobby inside.”

Denny's Ice Cream

Denny's Ice Cream Getting ready for Coney Island's Opening Day. Now owned by Coney Island USA. March 30, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

“Some day we can transfer air rights from the landmark Childs Building, match the two-story front of Childs then do a setback with an additional five to seven story tower on top of the base,” Zigun noted. The renderings that he showed last year at a Coney Island presentation at the AIA included a whimsical homage to the Elephant Hotel.

While the rezoning of Coney Island offers property owners the opportunity to increase the FAR –floor to area ratio–of their properties, Joe Sitt of Thor Equities got a big bonus: the controversial rezoning for “hotels” of up to 27 stories on the south side of Surf. One of these parcels is the corner of Surf and Stillwell, where Thor demolished the century-old Henderson Music Hall to build a one-story building that remains vacant. Sitt is expected to tear down the Eldorado building, which dates back to 1928, and the Coney Island Rumor Mill is saying Thor will try to acquire other property on the Bowery.

Nearly three years since the Coney Island Rezoning was approved by the City Council, we’ve seen a few demolitions by Thor but have yet to see any new construction in Coney East that wouldn’t also have been possible before the rezoning. The marquee of the Eldorado and Denny’s signage enliven Surf Avenue and will forever remain in our memories thanks to many people’s photos. Their old school authenticity will be missed in the new Coney Island.

UPDATE April 12, 2012:

Good news! Gordon Lee of Coney’s Eldorado Bumper Cars phoned to say he’s operating the ride today & open for business! The arcade will also open this weekend for the season. Hours at the Eldorado are “12 noon till closing.”

Eldorado Coney Island

Eldorado Auto Skooter. June 29, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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March 20, 2012: 60 Years of Family History in Coney Island End with Sale of Eldorado

March 12, 2011: Signage: Fresh Crispy Popcorn, Candy Caramel Apples

October 13, 2010: Rest in Peace: Scott Fitlin, Coney Island’s Eldorado Man

March 14, 2010: Eldorado Auto Skooter: Coney Island’s Disco Palace of Bumper Cars

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Vintage Sign inside Denny's Ice Cream, Coney Island. February 28, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

After Denny’s Ice Cream Shop opens in April, we’ll be sure to post a close-up of their to die-for pistachio-banana soft serve in a sugar cone. With sprinkles on top! For now, here’s a vintage hand-painted sign that we just happened to see for the first time the other day. Passing by the Surf Avenue store, we found the metal shutter open a smidgen and called out a hello. Denny’s owner Dennis Corines rolled up the gate and invited us inside, where he and a helper were busy getting ready for the season’s opening day.

Denny has owned and operated the ice cream shop for 33 years, but it turns out the sign has been there even longer. How long? One Coney Islander tells ATZ that it was painted 40 years ago by Alex and Ethel Cohen, a couple whose first sign-painting shop was across from P.S. 239, now Mark Twain Junior High. The husband’s job was the lettering, the wife did the art. So much of Coney Island’s vernacular signage has been destroyed or is endangered by redevelopment, we’re happy to discover one sign that is safe and given pride of place.

Denny’s Ice Cream, 1212 Surf Avenue near Stillwell, Coney Island. 718-266-9371

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Related posts on ATZ…

March 9, 2011: Paul’s Daughter: “We love Coney Island and we love what we do”

October 28, 2010: Photo Album: Requiem for Coney Island’s Shoot Out the Star

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

September 12, 2010: Video: Coney Island’s Faber’s Fascination by Charles Denson

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