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Archive for April, 2011

Reliefs

Deborah Masters' Coney Island Reliefs on Ocean Parkway Viaduct. October 2, 2009. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

See Queen Mermaid, sideshow performers, sunbathers and Cyclone riders in cast concrete on the gateway to Coney Island! On Saturday, April 30th, MTA Arts for Transit is hosting an event from 2 to 5 pm to celebrate the completion of Deborah Masters’ Coney Island Reliefs at Ocean Parkway Viaduct. The station is on the Q line at Ocean Parkway and Brighton Beach Avenue. Masters was awarded the commission in 1992 and the piece was completed in 1994, but the viaduct needed repair before the concrete panels could be hung on its facade. The reliefs were in storage for 15 years!

Coney Island photographer Bruce Handy’s series of photos of the Ocean Parkway sculptures were taken when the installation began in 2009. “They look much nicer now with painted borders and the screw holes filled in,” says Bruce who plans to take a new series of photos this weekend.

UPDATE April 30…Here’s a link to Bruce Handy’s flickr slide show of the finished installation. Just beautiful!

Reliefs

Deborah Masters' Coney Island Reliefs on Ocean Parkway Viaduct. September 25, 2009. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

According to the MTA’s Arts for Transit page on the work…

Sculptor Deborah Masters created the Coney Island Reliefs in cast concrete. The 1260 sq. ft. of relief panels fit within existing recesses in the viaduct. Tinted a terracotta color to harmonize with the sandstone color of the Ocean Parkway viaduct, a massive structure that carries the subway across six lanes of traffic and an Olmstead parkway, the reliefs portray scenes from the history and legends of Coney Island, including Neptune, a mermaid, beach, boardwalk, and amusement park scenes. The designs are based upon photographs, drawings, and interviews by the artist with local residents and visitors to the famed amusement park.

Deborah Masters' Coney Island Reliefs on Ocean Parkway Viaduct. October 2, 2009. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

The original commission was for the inside of the subway station, but when the artist looked at the Viaduct surface, she noticed indentations she felt sure were intended for reliefs. She felt that the Olmsted Parkway, the widest old road to the beach, and the Art Deco Viaduct decorated with red, green, blue, yellow, and orange deco tiles from 1915 was intended by Frederick Law Olmsted, the founder of landscape architecture, to be the “Gateway to Coney Island”. She proposed adding 1650 sq. ft. of reliefs about Coney Island to the viaduct.

Reliefs

Deborah Masters' Coney Island Reliefs on Ocean Parkway Viaduct. October 2, 2009. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

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October 26, 2010: Studio Visit: Philomena Marano of the Coney Island Hysterical Society

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arcade machines

Water-damaged arcade machines were removed from the burned ruins of the building and put into a compacter. April 28, 2011. Photo © Eric Kowalsky via Amusingthezillion.com

Almost one year after the fire on May 5, 2010 that ravaged the Coney Island Arcade, the burned ruins of the building at West 12th Street and the Bowery are being prepped for demolition. On Thursday, Coney Island photographer Eric Kowalsky took these photos of the water-damaged arcade machines being removed and disposed of in a compacter. Charred pieces of wood were put in a dumpster. The now empty remains of the building are expected to be demolished next week.

arcade

One year after the fire that destroyed the Coney Island arcade, a dumpster was moved in front of the burned ruins of the building, which is finally being demolished. April 28, 2011. Photo © Eric Kowalsky via Amusingthezillion.com

As previously reported in “Coney Island Arcade Debuts Cobra, Braves Loss of Arcade” (ATZ, April 13, 2011), arcade owner Manny Cohen continues to manufacture and distribute arcade machines under the Coney Island Boxer brand. He also operates games on the Bowery, but there’s space for only a handful of arcade machines as you can see in the photo below. The Coney Island Rumor Mill is saying that Jeff Persily, the owner of the building, has no plans to rebuild. But we certainly hope the empty lot gets rented out for something amusing this season. The arcade building is adjacent to Thor Equities’ empty lot at Surf Ave and 12th Street, where the Bank of Coney Island and game concessions stood for decades until last year’s demolitions by Thor.

CIA Cobra

The Coney Island Arcade's new Cobra and a few other games can be found on the Bowery. April 2, 2011. 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

We’re sad to report that if Cohen is unable to find another location, his 12th Street arcade will join the ranks of Coney’s lost arcades. Among the arcades that have closed due to the redevelopment of the past few years are Astroland’s three arcades and the Fascination arcade in the now-demolished Henderson Building. Coney Island’s last remaining arcades are located in Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park and the Eldorado on the Bowery.

Last summer, Foster Kamer wrote a piece in the Village Voice titled “The Five Best Video Arcades in the City.” Two of the three–Coney Island Arcade and Chinatown Fair–are now closed.

Skeeball

Skee Ball at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park Arcade, Coney Island. April 24, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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May 21, 2009: Astroland Closed But Your Kid Can Still Ride the USS Astroland This Summer!

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Dennys & Eldorado

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

Two of Coney Island’s longtime family-owned businesses are next-door neighbors on Surf Avenue. ATZ happened to get this shot of their colorful marquees at dusk on Easter Sunday.

The Eldorado, Coney Island’s Disco Palace of Bumper Cars, opened in 1973 and is owned by Sandy and Sheila Fitlin. You can read about the history of the Eldorado in an interview that we did with their son Scott Fitlin last year.

Denny’s Dennis Corines has owned and operated the ice cream shop since 1968. Specialties include fresh crispy popcorn, candy apples and pistachio-banana soft serve.

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