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Posts Tagged ‘vernacular signage’

Clam Bar

Clam Bar: Original Signage Restored and Set to Return to Paul’s Daughter, Coney Island. © Paul’s Daughter

On Saturday, May 19, you’ll find us in Coney Island enjoying the first plate of clams and a beer at Paul’s Daughter and raising the first toast of the season at Ruby’s Bar. After attending several “Last Call” protest parties at Ruby’s and lingering over more than one “Last French Fry” at Paul’s, there’s no place we’d rather be. The two Mom & Pops will open for the 2012 season this weekend after months of renovations and missing Coney Island’s Opening Day on April 1st. Both businesses were required to do gut rehabs of their Boardwalk establishments after dodging eviction and winning eight-year leases from Zamperla, the landlord of the City-owned Boardwalk

Paul's Daughter

Paul’s Daughter on Last Night of Business in 2011. October 30, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

“It took time to be that iconic and it’s going to take time to put some of it back,” Paul’s daughter Tina Georgoulakos told ATZ about the work in progress at her store. The family business was co-founded 50 years ago by her father Paul Georgoulakos, now 83, and Gregory Bitetzakis on the Coney Island Boardwalk as Gregory & Paul’s. Saturday will be the soft opening of the new Paul’s Daughter, with the grand opening scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend. Some work remains to be done in the kitchen, which will be finished and inspected next week. This weekend’s bill of fare will be limited to clams on the half-shell, Brooklyn craft beer and soda. “It’s a brand new place with the same people,” said Tina.

Coney Island Signage

Lollypops, Crackerjacks and French Fries: Original Signage Restored and Set to Return to Paul’s Daughter, Coney Island. © Paul’s Daughter

While the new lighted signs and striped awnings mandated for the Boardwalk stores have yet to go up at Ruby’s or Paul’s, the good news is that some of the quirky vernacular signage that gave both places such character will return after all! At Paul’s Daughter, the original signs will be be put up on Monday or Tuesday, said Tina, who sent us these photos of a few of the restored signs. Back in November, when lease negotiations were in progress, it was heartbreaking to see the cavalcade of beloved characters and foods torn from their home on the Boardwalk building’s facade: Mr Shrimp, Chiefito and Chiefita (the Nice N Sweet/Fluffy Cotton Candy Kids), Shish Kebab (“Made with Love”) and other enticements. Some of the signage has been here since the restaurant’s earliest days and was meticulously restored a couple of years ago.

The rendering for the new store released in November showed the spruced up Burger statues on the roof (where they have remained throughout this saga) and what appeared to be new hand-painted signs in the spirit of the original along the bottom. At the time Tina told us she doubted whether the age and fragile condition of the signs would allow her to return them to the building’s exterior. The happy solution was to have the thin metal signs mounted on a wood backing.

Coney Island Sign

Cold Beers Sodas: Original Signage Restored and Set to Return to Paul’s Daughter, Coney Island. © Paul’s Daughter

The announcement of Ruby’s Saturday opening was posted on their Facebook page yesterday: “WHEW! After months of construction….Ruby’s will be open Tomorrow!!! Look forward to seeing everyone.” The bar, newly trimmed with ipe wood salvaged from the Boardwalk redo, will be open, of course. The menu, still a work in progress, will include hot dogs, hamburgers and knishes. French fries are yet to come.

As we previously reported, the vernacular signage touting Hot Corn, Fried Shrimp and Shish-Ka-Bob have survived and are alive and on the inside at Ruby’s Bar and Grill. The charmingly hand-painted food and lettering surrounding the grill got a touch up and has been trimmed with recycled wood from the Boardwalk. The plastic tabletops have also been replaced with Boardwalk wood. See you there!

Ruby's Bar Coney Island

Last Call Protest Party at Ruby’s Bar, Coney Island Boardwalk, November 6, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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Corn on the Cob Painting

Hand-Painted Corn on the Cob at Ruby's Bar and Grill. April 8, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Good news from the Coney Island Boardwalk! As it turns out, the gut rehab of old-timey Boardwalk businesses does not mean the complete loss of gritty authenticity and vernacular signage. The other day, we were delighted to see that Hot Corn, Fried Shrimp and Shish-Ka-Bob have survived and are alive and on the inside at Ruby’s Bar and Grill. The charmingly hand-painted food and lettering surrounding the grill is getting a touch up and will be back to entice visitors when the renovated Ruby’s reopens in May. The signage is being trimmed with recycled wood from the Boardwalk.

Half of the Boardwalk stores, including Lola Star Gift Shop, Famiglia Pizza, Coney Cones, and the new Nathan’s Restaurant and Gift Shop are open for business. Ruby’s, Paul’s Daughter, Tom’s Restaurant, Brooklyn Beach Shop, and Zamperla’s beach bar and Scream Zone annex with Go Karts and Sky Coaster are currently under construction. The businesses are expected to open on or by Memorial Day Weekend. Coney Island’s amusement rides and attractions are open and unaffected by the ongoing construction.

Back in November, we got a first look at the Boardwalk businesses’ renderings for their new stores, some of which feature dazzling marquees and neon signage. The rendering for Paul’s Daughter, a Boardwalk icon founded in 1962 as Gregory & Paul’s, shows the spruced up Burger statues on the roof and new hand-painted signage along the bottom. Take a peek: “Coney Island 2012: What’s New on the Boardwalk” (ATZ, November 15, 2011). What do you think?

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March 27, 2012: Dazzling Sign of Life on Boardwalk: Lola Star Boutique

March 14, 2012: Coney Entrepreneurs to Open 1st Ever Nathan’s Gift Shop

December 9, 2011: Paul’s Daughter Signs 8-Year Lease for Coney Island Boardwalk

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

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club atlantis mermaid

Club Atlantis Mermaid Resurfaces. January 15, 2012. Photo © Bruce Handy. All Rights Reserved

Signage for Coney Island’s Club Atlantis, including this voluptuous mermaid, resurfaced after the sign for the evicted Cha Cha’s Bar & Cafe was removed from the building’s facade. The Boardwalk store was home to the Atlantis from the 1940s through the 1990s. In the last few years of its life, the letters from the famed sign that spelled Atlantis became corroded and were removed. This hand-painted signage replaced it. Does anyone recall who painted it and when?

The club had many different owners over the years, including Murray Weingar, a co-owner of Miami’s Copacabana, and bandleader Mousey Powell in the 1940s. In the ’70s, the Atlantis featured a singing cowboy and in the ’90s it became a Latin dance club, writes Charles Denson in Coney Island: Lost and Found. Cha Cha’s, the Home of Wild Women and Wise Guys, was also called Cha Cha’s Club Atlantis until it closed at the end of October.

One of the earliest mentions we could find for the Atlantis was during World War II. A notice in the July 11, 1942 edition of the Billboard said:

Atlantis bar, grill and dance hall on the Boardwalk, owned by Murray Weingar and Hymie Schuman, operates under blue dim-outs after sundown. Bar trade on main floor entertained by Ralph Lawrence, accordionist; Embassy Trio, singers and intrumentalists, with Ruth Blair doing the vocals. Patriotic display changed weekly in bar’s center. On top deck is a squared arena for the jitterbugs tripping to Sol Curry’s Ork and applauding Karen Kaye’s singing.

Tom’s Restaurant of Prospect Heights is renovating the Boardwalk space formerly occupied by both Cha Cha’s and Nathan’s, the site of the original Atlantis. The new restaurant will have a roof deck and is expected to open in April. Cha Cha’s, one of six Boardwalk businesses whose leases were not renewed by Central Amusement International, is seeking to relocate nearby.

Thanks to Coney Island photographer and Sunday archaeologist Bruce Handy for these photos!

Club Atlantis Signage Resurfaces. January 15, 2012. Photo © Bruce Handy. All Rights Reserved

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October 27, 2011: Ghost Lettering & End of Season Color in Old Coney Island

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May 3, 2011: Photo of the Day: Street Art by RAE in Coney Island

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