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Posts Tagged ‘Dick Zigun’

One of the pleasures of going to Coney Island for the New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge is greeting friends and luminaries on the Boardwalk, at Ruby’s Bar and at Coney Island USA’s Freak Bar. Among the people ATZ wished a “Happy New Year!” today were Jimmy Prince of Mermaid Avenue’s Major Market, which closed in 2009, and John Dorman of Philips Candy of Coney Island, now in Staten Island. These two old friends have a long tradition of meeting on the Boardwalk on New Year’s Day.

On a day when New York City was inaugurating its first new Mayor in a dozen years at 1pm (the same time as the Polar Bear Plunge), Coney Island USA’s Dick Zigun remained “The Permanently Unelected Mayor of Coney Island.” And tattooed ladies, the MetroCard Man and other zany characters were gladly posing for photos. Cheers to another fun season at Coney Island’s beach and boardwalk!

Dick Zigun

Dick Zigun at Coney Island USA on New Year’s Day. January 1, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita

Related posts on ATZ…

January 2, 2014: Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge’s Best Dressed of 2014

December 25, 2013: Just Do It! January 1st Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge

December 18, 2011: Playing Santa at the Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge

Jan 2, 2010: Photo Album: Coney Island Boardwalk, New Year’s Day 2010

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Creepshow at the Freakshow

Creepshow at the Freakshow Banner by Marie Roberts, painted in 2004. Photo taken October 27, 2012. © Tricia Vita

Artist Marie Roberts, whose sideshow banners adorn Coney Island USA’s facade, painted this one for Creepshow at the Freakshow in 2004. ATZ snapped this photo last October, but never got to post it or review the play since it was cancelled the very next day due to Superstorm Sandy! This year’s Creepshow, titled “Coney Island Criminals,” is opening this weekend, and Marie’s banner, which survived the storm, is once again in the window on Surf Avenue beckoning passersby to stop and buy tickets.

Written and directed by Dick Zigun, the interactive play takes its inspiration from an episode in the early career of Al Capone. The gangster got his nickname “Scarface” in 1917 after getting slashed at Coney Island’s Harvard Inn where he worked as a bartender/bouncer. More of Marie Roberts art will be seen in the show, including a painting of an Ivy League rowing club and the logo of Yale University’s secret society Skull and Bones, which is beguiling considering that the Harvard Inn was owned by a gang boss known as Frankie Yale and Dick Zigun is a Yale School of Drama grad.

The play also features CIUSA outside talker Scott Baker as Jimmy Durante, who got his start playing piano in Coney Island. Set design is by Kate Dale, the Juilliard prop shop supervisor and veteran “Best Mermaid” who has been the Creepshow’s designer for the past eight years. Since the Harvard Inn burned down long ago and even Seaside Walk, the street it was on, is no more, being in the audience at “Coney Island Criminals” and possibly getting hit in the face with spaghetti or made into the mob is as close as you’ll get to this place.

Coney Island USA, 1208 Surf Ave. Corner of Surf Avenue and West 12th Street, Coney Island. Creepshow at the Freakshow runs from October 11 through Halloween. Check website for days and showtimes. Tickets are $15 in advance or at the door.

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October 4, 2013: Art of the Day: John Dunivant’s Bizarre Midway

September 13, 2013: Coney Island Always: Visiting the Big CI Year-Round

June 27, 2013: Photo Album: The Front of the Show at Meadowlands Fair

August 6, 2012: Art of the Day: Madame Twisto by Marie Roberts

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Mangels Shooting Gallery

1970s Photo of Shooting Gallery Under the Wonder Wheel Made by W.F. Mangels Co., Coney Island. Photograph © 1975 by Charles Denson

A rare vintage 1940′s Coney Island shooting gallery that used to be under the Wonder Wheel is about to come out of retirement and make a comeback on Surf Avenue. Last night Dick Zigun, artistic director of Coney Island USA, announced in a series of tweets that the iconic shooting gallery, which had operated for many decades next to Spook-A-Rama on Jones Walk, would reopen at 1214 Surf Avenue.

Zigun said that the historic shooting gallery will be a “major working exhibit/game fronting CIUSA’s new Art/Culture gallery formerly Denny’s Ice Cream.” 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. Unfortunately, Denny’s was one of the first casualties of Superstorm Sandy in Coney Island’s amusement area. The building had to be gutted and there was talk of replacing the ruined ice cream machines with a paintball game, mini-golf or a roller rink. The idea of using the Mangels shooting gallery in storage at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park came up when it had to be moved during renovations after the storm.

Pictured above in a 1975 photograph by Coney Island History Project director Charles Denson, the gallery has cast-iron targets in the shape of soldiers, paratroopers and torpedo boats. It was manufactured in Coney Island by William F. Mangels, the inventor of such early 20th century thrill rides as the Whip and the Tickler, and the builder of the mechanism for the B & B Carousell. Researching a story on antique carnival pieces for Games Magazine a few years ago, we learned from a collector that Mangels held the most patents on shooting gallery targets. From the early 1900s until 1969, well after other manufacturers had gone out of business, his shop on 8th Street produced a wide variety of targets.

Coney Island shooting gallery target

Morphy Auctions

Intact Mangels shooting galleries are exceptionally rare since most were long ago sold for scrap metal or broken up by antique dealers. Last April, ATZ wrote about this Mangels’ paratrooper target up for auction in Pennsylvania. It appears identical to the large paratrooper seen in Charles Denson’s photo. The price realized for the single target was $1,020. In 2009, an intact Mangels mechanical shooting gallery installed at Duke Farms and used by heiress Doris Duke during parties at her home sold at auction for $43,200!

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Related posts on ATZ…

January 31, 2012: Remnant of Under Boardwalk Bar Found in Coney Island

February 1, 2011: Bring Back the Whip! A Birthday Gift for William F Mangels

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

February 25, 2010: Happy Belated Birthday to Coney Island’s William F Mangels

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