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Archive for February, 2013

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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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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Dunkin Donuts

Rebuilding After Sandy: Mario Tuna, owner of Dunkin Donuts in Stillwell Terminal, Coney Island. February 22, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

On an average weekday in February, nearly 12,000 people swipe their MetroCards at Coney Island’s Stillwell Terminal, the terminus for the D, F, N and Q lines, but there’s no place to stop and get a cup of coffee since Sandy. Unless you count the food truck at the Stillwell Avenue entrance. Four months after flooding and sewage ravaged the terminal during SuperStorm Sandy, the 24-hour Dunkin’ Donuts at Surf and Stillwell remains closed. On Friday we talked with Mario Tuna, the location’s franchisee, who happened to be painting the orange trim when we passed by. “We’re having a grand re-opening around March 15,” he told ATZ. The rehab of the store has been underway since January.

Painting

Painting in Progress. February 22, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins first opened in the reconstructed subway terminal in 2009. Due to extensive storm damage, the restaurant had to be completely renovated from the floor up and will get all new equipment. The cost of repairs is the responsibility of the franchisee, Tuna said. After Sandy, the stores that have managed to reopen in Stillwell Terminal are Subway, which is open 24 hours, and the newsstand. Neither of them sell coffee. The Bank of America’s ATMs have also been replaced.

Seasonal shops such as Lola Star Boutique, Brooklyn Beach Shop and two other gift shops in Stillwell Terminal also suffered damage and remain closed. Coney Island Gourmet Shop/Magic Gyro has not been been touched and essentially looks like it did in the days after the storm. McDonald’s on Stillwell and Mermaid Avenues, which was also open 24 hours, remains boarded up and closed but the majority of stores on Mermaid have reopened.

Dunkin Donuts Renovation

Dunkin Donuts Renovation: New floors, walls. January 30, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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December 19, 2012: Will Coney Island’s Surf Ave Become a Mecca for Franchises?

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Sand Dunes

Temporary Sand Dunes on Coney Island Beach. February 17, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

In February, we photographed Coney Island’s shifting sand dunes, ruined arcade machines, newly painted ride cars and freshly dipped candy apples. With 28 days till the amusement area’s traditional Palm Sunday opener on March 24th, everyone is busier than usual getting ready as post-Sandy recovery continues in the People’s Playground.

Sand Dunes

Coney Island Beach: Sand Dunes, 21st Street. February 22, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The temporary sand dunes of West 15th Street have been sifted and trucked back to the beach. During SuperStorm Sandy, Coney Island’s beach lost two to three feet of sand. Windblown sand covered the boardwalk and adjacent streets, burying the kiddie rides and parking meters. Back in November, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and contracted crews closed West 15th Street and created temporary sand dunes from the Boardwalk to Wonder Wheel Way.

Willie the Whale Ride

Willie the Whale Cars at Deno’s Kiddie Park, Coney Island. February 22, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

At Deno’s Kiddie Park on the Boardwalk, freshly painted cars from the whimsical Willie the Whale ride are here and there, waiting to return to their circle.

Mangels Pony Carts

Wm F Mangels Pony Carts Being Painted at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. February 22, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The Ponies and Carts from the classic ride manufactured in Coney Island by William F. Mangels are in the workshop getting a fresh coat of paint.

Arcade Machines

Arcade Machines Ruined by Sandy, Coney Island Arcade
Bowery and 12th Street, February 22, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

One of the saddest sights in the amusement area is this graveyard of brand-new arcade machines ruined by water damage from Sandy. With the exception of Skeeball, the electronics of Coney Island’s machines were damaged beyond repair. Coney’s arcades will reopen with new games this season.

Arcade Machines

Arcade Machines Lined up Outdoors at Luna Park. February 17, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Marshmallow-on-a-stick and four kinds of candy apples are available at Williams Candy on Surf Avenue. The candy shop is under renovation but is still open daily year-round.

Candy Apples

Candy Apples and Marshmallow Treats at Williams Candy, Coney Island. February 17, 2013 Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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February 25, 2013: Williams Candy Moves Next Door During Post-Sandy Renovation

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If chanteuse Carol Lipnik had a sideshow bannerline it would say “The queen of Coney Island phantasmagoria” (Lucid Culture) and “A Coney Island of the Ear” (New York Times) in addition to “My Life as a Singing Mermaid.” On March 17, Lipnik will appear in concert at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater with keyboardist Dred Scott. She calls her band Spookarama after the dark ride at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. Her multi-octave voice and Scott’s wurlitzer do indeed make you feel as if you’ve stepped inside an old-timey spook house or are careening down the drop of a roller coaster. In this Q & A, ATZ asked Carol about her association with Coney Island.

ATZ: We were surprised to realize the lyrics of “List of Attractions,” one of the songs that you’ll be singing at Joe’s Pub, really are a list of long-vanished Coney attractions. The House Of Too Much Trouble, Wormwood’s Monkey Theater, The Cave Of Winds, The Haunted Swing, and so on. How did you come to write the song?

Carol LipnikCL: Growing up in Coney Island during its decline I quickly understood that it was a place filled with historical ghosts. I loved wandering the boardwalk and the amusement park area, especially off-season. Staring up at the decaying rides I felt Coney Island to be a place where the presence of things that were there were more there than the things that remained there. There was something so compelling to me in this wabi-sabi dreamland decay of sadness and hysteria. I can remember how the abandoned Thunderbolt Coaster became covered with vines and full of birds, and how the Parachute Jump’s cables whipped in the wind, and still to this day the hollow constant moaning of the wind through The Astro Tower like a giant flute. In my researches I found the names of past attractions to be so enigmatic that I got the idea to string them all together as a long list which when sung would tell much of the story – you fill in the imagery!

ATZ: These are all long ago attractions, but if you could bring three of them back, which ones would you choose and why?

CL: The Haunted Swing seems really fun – I believe it was a ride where the actual swing was stationary and the room swung around! Trip To The Moon a la George Melies film world would be so fun! The Cabaret De La Mort – Zombie burlesque anyone? Disaster Illusion rides like The End Of The World and The Fall Of Pompeii (maybe with a Global Warming slant?)

ATZ: When you say “Growing up in Coney Island…” Did you live in Coney Island as a child or do you mean you came here often as a child growing up?

CL: I grew up in Coney Island on Neptune Avenue — in Trump Village. Also, by the way, my uncle had a wonderful Jewish Delicatessen on Mermaid Avenue called Rosenberg’s that was all black and white art deco and mirrors. He made his own mayonnaise for potato salads and coleslaw, his own stuffed derma, and he was very strict about serving sandwiches properly — no white bread or mayo with the pastrami! He loved it and he held out till he finally got burned out.

ATZ: Why did you name your band Spookarama?

CL: The Spook-A-Rama dark ride pretty much summoned up my experience of Coney Island and what I was trying to project with my songs — a shamanic trip through a slapstick/vaudeville/cartoon/demonic/maniacal/ carnival world which turns out to be a distant cousin to the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Chöd where initiates wander through fearful haunted dark places and co-exist with all these odd monster spirits. A place I frequent in my head and in my music. Also, I had a big crush on the Cyclops who’s reappeared last year from the storage bin and hoping he’s OK since Sandy. I’m hoping Spook-A-Rama will pull thru after Sandy. I saw them drying the paper mache monsters. How are they?

ATZ: The Cyclops has miraculously survived but many of the other props were badly damaged by the flood. Some will be restored for use as static figures. The interior of the ride is currently being rebuilt with new props and is expected to open this spring.

Carol Lipnik and Spookarama at Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, NYC, March 17 at 7pm (doors open at 6:30), $15 cover.

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Miniature Biplane Ride

New ride at Coney Island Always Window on West 12th Street. February 17, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Among the new amusement rides coming to Coney Island this season are Watermania, a brand-new Zamperla water ride set to debut in Luna Park, and a rebuilt Spook-a-Rama dark ride with props from Scarefactory at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. In the meantime, Benny’s “Coney Island Always,” a window on West 12th Street showcasing a miniature animated amusement park, has the first new ride of 2013 already installed. It’s a model chair-o-plane with biplane seats. Along with its next-door neighbor the dancing doll “Miss Coney Island,” the coin-op attraction has fully recovered from Sandy and will be open for business on March 24th, Coney’s Opening Day. Both attractions still cost “25¢ to Have Fun & Feel Good.” Bring a roll of quarters.

Coney Island Always

Coney Island Always. 25 cents To Laugh and Feel Good. West 12th St, Coney Island. April 8, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

“Coney Island Always” is located on West 12th Street next to the Coney Island History Project and across from the Steeplechase coaster. The model amusemwnts include a Carousel, Wave Swinger, Parachute Jump, Giant Wheel and Ice Skating Rink. During the season, children and their families crowd around the window to see the miniature park awhirl. Miss Coney Island, whose motto is “Don’t Postpone Joy” and “25¢ to Fall in LOVE” is very popular too. Earlier in her career, the shimmying mannequin was an Indian Princess automaton at a fairground exhibition. You can read ATZ’s interview with her here.

Miss Coney Island

After Sandy: Miss Coney Island and Her Dancing Cat Peek Out Their Window. January 30, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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A new portable version of Zamperla’s Air Race designed for traveling carnivals is one of the thrill rides on the independent midway at the Florida State Fair, which runs through today in Tampa. Owned by Joyce and Jeff Brady of Playworld Amusements, the ride debuted at October’s State Fair of Texas, where it was called the “Air Raid.” The on-ride POV vid shown above was shot at the 2012 IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando, where attendees were invited to try out the ride for free. In the vid below of the ride at the Dallas fair, skip to 1:49, which is when the planes start moving. Carnival lights are always brighter than amusement park lights!

Designed by Mega Disk’O creator Gianbattista Zambelli, the aerobatic thrill ride sends riders round and round and upside down at up to 4g forces. Since the Air Race prototype made its world debut at Zamperla’s Luna Park in Coney Island in 2010, it’s been a worldwide success with sales to parks in Portugal, China, North Korea, Chile, Australia and Utah. In 2013, Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen will debut the Air Race with eagle-shaped seats shown in the rendering below. Built on an elaborate platform, the ride’s theming has an Art Nouveau look.

Tivoli Air Race

Rendering of Eagle-themed Air Race Set to Debut at Tivoli Gardens in 2013. Via Tivoli Gardens Facebook

Coney Island’s Air Race seats 24 riders and is similar in design to the ones at Aquashow Parc in Portugal, Lagoon Park in Utah, and Gorky Park in the Ukraine. A new deluxe model seats up to 32 riders in six four-seater planes. In an article we wrote about the new Luna Park for IAAPA Funworld in 2010, Zamperla president Valerio Ferrari said, “Our intention is to have the latest rides that we develop in our park.” The fact that the world’s largest manufacturer of amusement rides is trying out prototypes at Luna Park is an exciting development that calls to mind the heyday of Coney Island when the first models of any new park or carnival rides would make their debut here.

Zamperla also benefits because the New York City amusement park functions as a showroom for Zamperla’s New Jersey-based North American operation. In December, a Kung Fu Panda-themed version of the Air Race called Pandamonium opened at Australia’s Dreamworld, which has a partnership with DreamWorks Animation. “This swinging rickshaw ride is an adventure with a serious split personality,” according to the park’s website. “It’s two rides in one — one for kids and one for thrill seekers.” Riders get to choose the intensity of the ride –‘not-so crazy’ or ‘seriously crazy’–as it spins around a mighty dragon.

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MERCY

MERCY. February 9, 2012, Photo © Bruce Handy via Coney Island Photo Diary

After Sandy, we began noticing the word “MERCY” stenciled on lamp posts and empty signboards in Coney Island. It felt like a call for compassion from a neighborhood devastated by the storm. During last week’s snowstorm, Coney Island photographer Bruce Handy came across three of these graffiti messages. The one above was on a white wall at Paul’s Daughter on the Boardwalk.

No Mercy

POƧT –ИO–MERCY February 7, 2012, Photo © Bruce Handy via Coney Island Photo Diary

On Stillwell Avenue, the “Post No Bills” message on the plywood covering Thor Equities vacant new building was replaced by graffiti saying “POƧT — ИO — MERCY.” Person(s) unknown also pasted MERCY bumper stickers on poles in the amusement area. Have you seen any others? Scroll down for readers’ comments and theories about the graffiti and additional photos. Bruce Handy’s flickr set can be viewed here.

MERCY

MERCY. February 10, 2012, Photo © Bruce Handy via Coney Island Photo Diary

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