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Posts Tagged ‘Steve Powers’

Yesterday, Banksy unveiled a Bumper Car-riding Reaper in Manhattan and posted this video set to the tune of “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” The installation is at Houston and Elizabeth Streets, where it’s on view from dusk till midnight through Sunday. “Welcome to the fair — which life isn’t,” says the audio guide to the piece.

With 5 days left in his “Better Out Than In” tour of New York City, we’re still waiting for Banksy to create a piece of street art in Coney Island. He has chosen locations in the South Bronx, Staten Island and Queens but the majority of his pieces are in Manhattan and Brooklyn, including Brooklyn Heights, Bushwick, Williamsburg, Red Hook, East New York and Sunset Park. How can you visit the City for a month and not do Coney Island?! There’s still time, Banksy– Coney Island’s amusement rides are open through Sunday, but the rest of Coney is open year round!

Os Gemeos Coney Island

Os Gemeos Mural on Stillwell Ave, Coney Island. October 30, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Coney Island has a rich tradition of street art. Guerrilla art by RAE and post-Sandy MERCY graffiti by an unknown artist have appeared this year. OverUnder, ND’A, Veng, Radical and Ephameron painted murals for a project curated by Keith Schweitzer for No Longer Empty in 2011.

Os Gemeos, the Brazilian twins whom Banksy collaborated with on 24th Street in Chelsea have a 130-foot mural on Coney’s Stillwell Avenue that dates back to 2005. Work by Steve Powers, whose Dreamland Artists Club in collaboration with Creative Time brought new signage to Coney Island, can still be seen on the staircase at Coney Island USA, West 12th Street’s Miss Coney Island and Skin the Wire, and the Eldorado Bumper Cars on Surf Ave. Sideshow banners by Marie Roberts have emblazoned the facade of Coney Island USA’s headquarters since 1997.

Tonight at the Eldorado Bumper Cars and Arcade, there’s a “Things That Go Bump in the Night” Halloween party. Free unlimited “Bump Your Ass Off” bumper car rides are included with the price of admission. The DJ lineup includes Groove Therapy artists Bass Age, Chris See, Dali, Hardbass Addicts, Nicky Twist, Steve Nice and TJFX. Time: 9pm – 3am, Age: 18+, Tickets: $20.

UPDATE October 28, 2013:

Banksy’s newest work is in Coney Island! A robot spray-painting a mysterious barcode on Stillwell Avenue at Neptune

Eldorado Auto Skooters

Eldorado Auto Skooters sign by Steve Powers, Surf Avenue in Coney Island. September 5, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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Related posts on ATZ…

March 18, 2013: Art of the Day: Street Art by RAE in Coney Island

February 16, 2013: Photo Album: Post-Sandy MERCY Graffiti in Coney Island

February 5, 2012: Botched Job: Coney Island Art Exiled by Thor Equities

April 15, 2011: Photo Album: Whimsical Murals Blossom in Coney Island

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Steve ESPO Powers

New signage for ‘Miss Coney Island’ and games on Coney Island’s 12th St by Steve ‘ESPO’ Powers. Photo via twitter

Over Memorial Day, we saw artist Steve Powers in Coney Island and mentioned how much of the signage for his Dreamland Artist Club project had been painted over or demolished due to redevelopment. The most recent loss was the signage on Jones Walk, where the works created by Dreamland artists in 2004 were stolen or scrapped when the game operators moved out after losing their leases. The sole surviving “coin” from Toland Grinnell’s Dime Toss sign was donated to the Coney Island History Project, which is next door to some of the relocated games.

Powers told ATZ he was going to create new signs for Miss Coney Island, Skin the Wire and other games that moved to West 12th Street from the Walk. Today the artist unveiled the supercool signs shown above via twitter. “Watch Her Dance Till the End of Love” is for the automaton “Miss Coney Island.” The dancing doll did an exclusive interview with ATZ last month about the big move and the marvelous makeover that has fans saying she looks 30 years younger. “Miss Coney Island” and the miniature animated rides of “Coney Island Always” are next door to Skin the Wire and other whimsical games located on 12th Street just off the Boardwalk. The new signs will be installed next week.

Skin the Wire on West 12th Street is one of the booths getting new signs by Steve Powers. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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Out the Star

Out the Star. October 15, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Somebody swiped “The Star” from the Shoot Out the Star sign on Thor Equities-owned Henderson Building, exposing an earlier version of the signage. We’re glad they did. At least it won’t be destroyed with the rest of the building.

Following the fortunes of Shoot Out the Star on Coney Island’s Stillwell Avenue is one of our longtime obsessions. One year ago this week, the game was open for business. After cutting up jackpots with the operator and helping him call people in to play, ATZ posted “Coney Island’s Shoot Out the Star Still Open… Players Wanted!” Coney’s rides and the rest of the games were closed by Columbus Day as usual, but the shooting gallery was open almost every day. CB, who ran the game for Slim, kept it open year round. We’re told that Shoot Out the Star was in operation at the Henderson for about 20 years.

Shoot out the Star--Players Wanted! Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

One year ago: Shoot out the Star--Players Wanted! October 30, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

On the day of my visit, CB wasn’t looking any further ahead than the next couple of days. In fact, the operator was locked out a few weeks later by Thor and never opened again. When spring came, CB found a hole around the corner on the Bowery. Shoot Out the Star remained shuttered for the 2010 season though it was “liberated” on Memorial Day Weekend by a couple of guys. We snapped a few photos, careful not to capture their faces. As far as we know, these are the last images of Shoot Out the Star in operation. It was the shooting gallery’s last hurrah. Along with Faber’s Fascination, Shoot Out the Star was among a handful of year-round amusement destinations in Coney Island. Now both are gone.

Shoot Out the Star. May 29, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Last Hurrah: Shoot Out the Star. May 29, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

As ATZ reported previously, the City issued a demolition permit for the former Henderson Music Hall, which has undergone asbestos abatement and is now surrounded by demolition scaffolding. The Shoot Out the Star sign above the awning is still intact, awaiting its fate. In May, NY1 did an interview with Joe Sitt in which he claimed the buildings were “horrible rundown relics.” According to the reporter “Sitt said he’ll re-use the vintage signs in a more modern setting.” After seeing the Fascination sign on the Henderson cannibalized by a tenant and the Surf Hotel sign offered to a bystander, we’re skeptical about ever seeing this historic signage again.

The Star. May 29, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Last Hurrah: The Star. May 29, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Shoot out the Star’s iconic signage is the work of Dreamland Artist Club founder Steve Powers, who also painted the Cyclone roller coaster seats, the Coney Island Museum steps, and the Bump Your Ass Off sign for the Eldorado. In 2003, Powers teamed up with Creative Time, the non-profit public art agency, to bring artists to Coney Island to create new signage for the stands along Jones Walk and the Bowery. The first year’s funding was $80,000. When the murals and signage debuted in June 2004, Powers told the Times: “A large percentage of them will be up forever.”

Last month, when we realized the Henderson signage was endangered, we urged Powers and Creative Time to come out to Coney and rescue their work! Don’t the signs actually belong to Creative Time? Haven’t heard back. We hope “The Star” found a good home.

Lettering on Thor Equities banner Dwarfs Shoot out the Star.  Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Lettering on Thor Equities banner Dwarfs Shoot out the Star. January 1, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Related posts on ATZ…

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

September 9, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Faber’s Fascination Goes Dark After 50 Years

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

August 16, 2009: Coney Island Carnival Games: My Photo Album

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Saved? Surf Hotel's Vintage Signage. September 24, 2010.  Photo © Anonymouse-deux via Amusing the Zillion

Saved? Surf Hotel's Original Hand-Painted Glass Signage. September 24, 2010. Photo © Anonymouse-deux via Amusing the Zillion

In an interview with NY1 in May, Thor Equities CEO Joe Sitt talked about his redevelopment plans for Coney Island and the Surf Avenue buildings he plans to raze: “Every one of these buildings is just horrible, rundown relics with nothing exciting about them. I hate to say it, but the great buildings of Coney Island disappeared 80 years ago,” said Sitt.

What caught our eye in this four-month-old news story was not Sitt’s mischaracterization of the historic properties (please take a look at what the Henderson Building and Stillwell looked like before Sitt bought and blighted them), but what the real estate speculator had to say about the now endangered signs. According to NY1, “Sitt says he’ll re-use the vintage signs in a more modern setting.”

Faber's Fascination Sign Stripped of its Letters. Photo © Anonymouse-deux via Amusing the Zillion

The Morning After Faber's Fascination Sign Was Stripped of its Letters. Photo © Anonymouse-deux via Amusing the Zillion

Really? We hate to say it, but if Sitt is planning to re-use any signs, he’d better hurry up and save some. It’s already too late for Faber’s. As ATZ reported earlier this month, the light bulbs and letters of the fabulous 60-year-old Faber’s Fascination and Sportland signs were removed by the arcade’s most recent operator and offered for sale. The cannibalized metal signs remain on the facade because they couldn’t be removed before the tenant had to vacate the property. You can see the Faber’s Fascination sign lit up for the last time and the letters being removed in this video by historian Charles Denson.

Last Night at Faber's Fascination. Henderson Building, Coney Island. Sept. 6, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Last Night at Faber's Fascination. Henderson Building, Coney Island. Sept. 6, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

It’s too bad Joe Sitt didn’t recognize that Faber’s signage was a valuable piece of Americana worth saving and re-purposing. In a similar situation, another New York City real estate developer, the Durst Organization, did a much better job. Durst saved the Peep-O-Rama sign from the last peep show in Times Square when they demolished the building it occupied to make way for the Bank of America Tower. Vanishing New York recently featured the story of the neon sign’s restoration and return to Times Square, where the sign lights up the visitors center. Reading the story made us think of the Faber’s sign and wish it could have enjoyed a similar fate. As we noted in a comment on the VNY post: The reference to the Times reporter asking if a case could be made for preserving Peep-O-Rama or its facade for Times Square posterity, and not receiving a reply from Landmarks, the NYHS or the Mayor’s office is telling. There seems to be very little official appreciation for signage. Basically they leave it up to the building owners to do as they please.

Lettering from Faber's Fascination. Photo © Anonymouse-deux via Amusing the Zillion

Lettering from Faber's Fascination. Photo © Anonymouse-deux via Amusing the Zillion

In last week’s “Demolition in Progress! Coney Island’s Surf Hotel in Henderson Building,” ATZ wrote: “We’re told that the original Surf Hotel sign pictured above was removed, though its fate remains unknown. Was it saved, scavenged or thrown out with the windows?” Since then ATZ has received messages and comments that the “Sign is Saved!” as in saved from demolition.

On Friday morning a tipster wrote: “I am here at the building now. I saw the Surf Hotel sign inside a door on the east side of the building resting on the floor leaning against the wall. They are back working on the west side on a ladder cleaning up under the vacant windows. One of the workers was showing me how heavy the sign is and asked it I wanted to take it. The supervisor said we should call the owner about the sign.”

No one has been working in the Henderson Building this week. Is the sign still there or has it walked away? ATZ calls upon Joe Sitt to donate the Henderson signage to the Coney Island Museum or the Coney Island History Project, where these historic artifacts can be viewed by the public.

On the Henderson Building: The original frame that held the Surf Hotel sign. September 24, 2010.  Photo © Anonymouse-deux via Amusing the Zillion

On the Henderson Building: The original frame that held the Surf Hotel sign. September 24, 2010. Photo © Anonymouse-deux via Amusing the Zillion

On the Stillwell side of the Henderson Building: Shoot out the Star’s iconic signage is endangered. It’s the work of Dreamland Artist Club founder Steve Powers, who also painted the Cyclone roller coaster seats, the Coney Island Museum steps, and the Bump Your Ass Off sign for the Eldorado. In 2003, Powers teamed up with Creative Time, the non-profit public art agency, to bring artists to Coney Island to create new signage for the stands along Jones Walk and the Bowery. The first year’s funding was $80,000. When the murals and signage debuted in June 2004, Powers told the Times: “A large percentage of them will be up forever.” Thor Equities has already removed the game signage on the Bowery side of the Henderson. We suggest that Powers and Creative Time come out to Coney and rescue their work! Don’t the signs actually belong to Creative Time? Last spring, a Dreamland Artist Club mural estimated to be worth $250,000 was destroyed when Feltman’s kitchen building was demolished by the City to make way for Luna Park.

Henderson Building: Thor Equities banner dwarfs shuttered Shoot out the Star. Photo © Tricia Vita//me-myself-i via flickr

Henderson Building: Thor Equities banner dwarfs shuttered Shoot out the Star. Photo © Tricia Vita//me-myself-i via flickr

Related posts on ATZ…

September 23, 2010: Demolition in Progress! Coney Island’s Surf Hotel in Henderson Building

September 9, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Faber’s Fascination Goes Dark After 50 Years

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

January 21, 2010: Demolition Alert: Dreamland Artist Club Mural on Feltman’s Bldg

November 16, 2009: Rare & Vintage: Coney Island Sideshow Banner by Dan Casola

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In our recent post about Coney Island’s soon-to-be-demolished Feltman’s kitchen, one of the photos taken from Jones Walk shows the mural on the west wall of the historic building. Take another look because the Rita Ackermann mural is said to be worth $250,000 and the building is not long for this world. Yesterday the City’s contractors were observed removing the roof of the hot dog inventor’s kitchen.

Mural on west wall of Feltman's Kitchen Seen from Jones Walk. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Rita Ackermann Mural on west wall of Feltman's Kitchen Seen from Jones Walk. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Ackermann painted the mural in 2004 for the Dreamland Artist Club says the art project’s founder and lead artist Steve Powers.

“I co-curated the Dreamland Artist Club and have happy memories of working with Rita,” Powers told ATZ. “Although I would estimate the value of the mural at $250,000, it is but a fraction of what Steeplechase Park, Luna Park and a hundred other monuments in Coney Island have been worth. The mural may meet its doom but its memory will remind us how dumb progress can be sometimes.”

It’s ironic that public art which was created in response to real estate development changing the landscape and character of Coney Island is itself endangered by redevelopment. Powers teamed up with Creative Time, the non-profit public art agency, to bring artists to Coney Island to create new signage for the stands along the Walk and the Bowery. The first year’s funding was $80,000. When the murals and signage debuted in June 2004, Powers told the Times: “A large percentage of them will be up forever.” Powers own work, including the Cyclone roller coaster seats and “Bump Your Ass Off” signs for the Eldorado Bumper Cars are thankfully still with us and look like they’ve been here forever.

Detail of Rita Ackermann Mural and Wonder Wheel Signage.. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Detail of Rita Ackermann Mural and Wonder Wheel Signage.. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The Brooklyn Rail’s review of the Dreamland Artist Club included this description of Ackermann’s mural: “With an aura of danger and seduction, snake charmers, acrobats, and sword throwers return to Coney Island in Rita Ackermann’s 50-foot mural above Jones Walk. Graphically rendered in black, white, and golden yellow against the background of the Cyclone’s sweeping arcs, Ackermann’s femme fatales twirl and pose high above the crowds promoting a demonic carnival of darker, hidden attractions.”

ATZ contacted Rita Ackermann via her gallery, but we haven’t yet received a response. If you happen to know the artist, please tell her to get ready to add the word “demolished” to her resume.

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Related posts on ATZ…

January 25, 2010: Bruce Handy’s Photo Album: Doomed Dreamland Artist Club Mural

January 19, 2010: Nathan Slept Here! Coney Island’s Feltman’s Kitchen Set for Demolition

January 11, 2010: Steeplechase Pool, Zip Coaster Sites to Be De-Mapped for Housing

October 9, 2009: A Rare Peek Inside Endangered Old Bank of Coney Island

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