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Archive for November, 2011

Here are a few photos taken for our feature story “Fascinated by Fascination” in the current issue of Games Magazine. Last fall after Coney Island lost its Faber’s Fascination sign, ATZ first wrote about the Fascination Parlor on the south shore of Boston in “Where You Can Play Fascination Year Round.”  A sign in the window proudly proclaims that this arcade game, which combines the luck of bingo with the skill of Skee-ball, was brought to Nantasket Beach from Coney Island more than 60 years ago. In Coney, the game was once popular enough to keep three Fascination parlors flourishing — Faber’s, Eddie’s and Moe’s–but the last one closed in the 1970s and now there are none.

In August, we made the trip to Nantasket Beach in Hull to play Fascination for the first time and write about it for Games. The travel piece also delves into the history of Fascination, which made its debut in Coney, and the game’s inventor John Gibbs. At the heart of the story are reminiscences and photos related to Nat Faber’s Empire, which encompassed Fascination Parlors in Coney Island, as well as the Rockaways and Long Beach and Edgemere in Long Island.

“Fascinated by Fascination” is in the February 2012 issue of Games Magazine, which went on sale today, November 29. Copies are available at newsstands or may be purchased via Games website.

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Related posts on ATZ…

August 15, 2011: Games: Where You Can Play Vintage Pinball Year Round

April 13, 2011: Coney Island Arcade Debuts Cobra, Braves Loss of Arcade

October 6, 2010: Traveler: Where You Can Play Fascination Year Round

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

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The Charmer

The Charmer by Mark Heyer. Oil on panel, framed. Lohin Geduld Gallery

Mark Heyer’s faux-naive snake charmer conjures up memories of cabinet cards of sideshow stars from the late 19th century. Set like a jewel in a gilded frame created by the artist, the painting is one of several circus and carnival-themed works in Heyer’s exhibition at Lohin Geduld Gallery. There’s also a sideshow talker, a circus tent being raised, an unruly circus act and daredevil motorcyclists.

“I have been painting from these types of subjects for quite some time,” Heyer told ATZ. The artist grew up going to the carnival at his hometown fair in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Coney Island’s sideshow and games were a source of fascination during the two decades he lived in Brooklyn. Heyer, who received an MFA from Parsons School of Design, moved to Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, six years ago. “I am particularly interested in slowing down things, so that cool things don’t just get swept into a dumpster. Circuses and Carnivals seem to be some of the first things that go away and don’t come back. They are something that predates us and as the corporate world grows it seems bent on getting rid of these simple, amazing pleasures.”

Mark Heyer

Hey Pretty, Don't You Want to Take a Ride Through My World by Mark Heyer. Oil on panel, framed. Lohin Geduld Gallery

Both Heyer’s paintings and vintage photographs have an enigmatic quality and evoke a sense of wonder. ATZ asked the artist to talk about how vintage photos inform his work and the process by which he selects and translates a photo into a painting

One thing with vintage photographs that I always make an attempt to do is acquire the photo. There is something about me being able to hold it in my hands. Like the blind searching for a different point of view. That’s not always possible, so a print out has to do. Vintage photographs are fascinating, things were slower paced, or they seem so. Often, objects in these weren’t meant to be disposable.

Usually I start my search for either circus photos or sideshow photos. Those words are what I type in. Not to be silly or anything, but I do my best to go inside that photo, as a viewer of what is happening. I come out and bring what I found to my painting. I always intend to put just enough down, so that the viewer of my work has room to add to the story. The story is never wrong, because, most times there is only a date that goes with the picture. I love it if someone adds to the story and the story continues.

Mark Heyer

All in a Day's Work by Mark Heyer. Oil on panel, framed. Lohin Geduld Gallery

The circus tent being raised. To me, it’s the preparation for what is to come. The excitement, whirlwind of imagination will all be in there. This one came from an actual photo too. I thought it was amazing because you don’t usually see this in process. To quote a painting teacher I had. “Surprise and Clarity” This picture has that I think, because it is a surprise to see what they are working on and it’s very clear what they are doing.

The Unruly by Mark Heyer. Oil on panel, framed. Lohin Geduld Gallery

The Unruly is the last of what you ask about. This one in particular I invite the viewer to add to the story, because who is the unruly one? The mule? The clown on the left? Or even someone in the background could have done something to start this event. In the actual photo there is a wagon also, but it wasn’t needed for what I wanted to show. I imagine this photo was staged as part of an act, I don’t really know though. It was a great image from my favorite subject matter and also allows for many different endings to the story. When I first found this photograph, I intended this one to be the image on the card. It was also the first painting that I painted for this show.

Mark Heyer, Recent Work, through December 17, 2011. Lohin Geduld Gallery, 531 West 25 Street, New York, NY, 212-675-2656

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September 28, 2011: Rare & Vintage: Auction of French Fairground Art

January 19, 2011: Opens Jan 27: Nickel Empire: Coney Island Photographs 1898-1948

December 19, 2010: Rare & Vintage: Original Coney Island Motordrome Bike

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

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Stillwell Terminal Store

Last Store for Rent in Stillwell Terminal. November 14, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Coney Island’s Stillwell Terminal, which was reconstructed from 2001 to 2005, is about to be fully leased. The last chance to rent the last vacant store in one of the world’s largest above-ground subway terminals is coming up on Friday. Proposals should be submitted to the MTA by 3pm on December 2nd. For a copy of the RFP, contact the MTA Real Estate Department.

The suggested use for the approximately 625 square foot space is retail or food. The suggested annual rent is $45,000 with a 3% – 5% annual increase over the term of the ten-year lease. That works out to be $72 per square foot, but the potential tenant may offer more or less. The tenant is responsible for building the entire interior, installing utilities and other improvements according to strict specifications set by the MTA.

Not permitted: “Video games and arcades are not allowed. Stores selling t-shirts, beach-related accessories or Asian-themed dry goods are not allowed. Any selling of ice cream, donuts, submarine sandwiches, or grocery-type items is not allowed. ATMs or typical newsstand- type items are not allowed. Store is required to be open year-round (not just in summer months).”

Arcade games are apparently banned by the MTA and the restricted items are already sold by current tenants.Stillwell Terminal shops are occupied by Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins, Subway, Bank of America and a newsstand. Lola Star Boutique, Coney Island Beach Shop and Coney Island Gift Shop have the T-shirt and beach gear market covered. Gourmet Food, which sells imported chocolate, cookies and nuts, as well grocery items, opened this month.

The RFP also contains an interesting statistic: The annual average weekday station customer count –paid entry at station only, not exiting– is 12,240. Summer passenger count increases significantly. For Saturdays in June, July and August in 2009, average paid entry was 22,411.

Gourmet Shop

Newly Opened Gourmet Food Shop, Stillwell Terminal. November 14, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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November 15, 2011: Coney Island 2012: What’s New on the Boardwalk

October 17, 2011: Popeyes Chicken Returning to Coney Island’s Surf Avenue

March 17, 2010: Photo of the Day: The “E” is Relit in Coney Island Sign at Stillwell

June 17, 2009: Coney Island’s Stillwell Terminal: New, Stay Tuned & Still Under Construction

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