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Archive for February, 2015

Bride & groom kiss in front of Cyclone roller coaster

Bride & groom kiss in front of Cyclone roller coaster. June 6, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita

Remember when the Cyclone ticketbooth said “How Sweet It Is”? Today is the birthday of Brooklyn-born Jackie Gleason and in honor of his signature line, we looked for photos. The only ones we could find are from 2009 of a bride and groom who stopped traffic on West 10th Street to kiss in front of the famed roller coaster.

Along with “And awaaay we go!,” the phrase “How sweet it is!” was Gleason’s trademark and the title of his biography. And it remains our favorite of the sayings that have been emblazoned on the front of the ride over the years.

Bride & groom in front of Cyclone roller coaster.

Bride & groom in front of Cyclone roller coaster. June 6, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita

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Brooklyn Rock

Display of Paintings of the Elephant Hotel and the Parachute Jump by Yukiko Wada, hand-screened Tees by Wada and husband Chris Smith at Brooklyn Rock. January 25, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

Mom & Pop art T-shirt shop Brooklyn Rock is out but not down. After 21 months in Coney Island, the arrangement they had with Thor Equities for space in the developer’s retail building at Surf and Stillwell has come to an end. The 1,500-square-foot store, for which they paid a percentage of income as rent, will be partly taken over by celebrity burger chain Wahlburgers, which is set to open its first New York franchise in May in the vacant restaurant space next door.

As ATZ reported earlier this month, the one-of-a-kind Brooklyn Rock shop was open daily regardless of the season or the weather, and was one of the few places in Coney to buy a souvenir tee in February. “At the end of the proverbial day, it was a pop-up shop and we had a good run,” says Brooklyn Rock brand manager Seth Braunstein, who doesn’t want people to feel sorry for them or villainize Thor, with whom they parted on good terms. “I might get a call at some point to do a pop up in another of their Brooklyn locations. Who knows?”

Brooklyn Rock

Brooklyn Rock’s pop-up store at 3015 Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island closed in February. January 25, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

Brooklyn Rock’s tees, hoodies, aprons and other items are hand-dyed in unique colors and hand-printed from hand-drawn designs by artists Chris Smith and Yukiko Wada, the couple who founded the business in their Bushwick apartment in 2002. Braunstein says they’re relocating the wholesale print operations to a mezzanine space within a larger retail environment in Greenpoint called the Flying Squirrel. “It is an amazing children’s shop that we’ve wholesaled our gear to since they were located on North 6th in Williamsburg. We’re excited at the huge wholesale opportunities ahead and are gratified at the run we enjoyed in Coney.”

Before opening their Coney Island store in May 2013, the Brooklyn Rock team also wholesaled their merchandise to Coney Island USA’s gift shop, which they hope to do once again. Their previous retail shops include a street kiosk on Bedford Avenue, a shipping container at the now defunct DeKalb Market where Century 21 was built, and a Pintchik property across from Barclays Center, where foot traffic turned out to be slow. “When you’re an independent little guy, you’re swimming with sharks. We’re still swimming. We’re good. Ultimately we’re survivors,” says Braunstein.

Brooklyn Rock Larry David

Audrey Jakeway wearing Brooklyn Rock’s Larry David tee at preview performance of his new Broadway show “Fish in the Dark.” February 5, 2015. Photo via Brooklyn Rock Facebook

When ATZ interviewed Braunstein for the post that ran earlier this month, the shop had already received the vacate notice, but we did not mention it because they were hoping for an extension from Thor, as had happened last year. At that time, Luna Park offered them a kiosk in the amusement park, but they declined since they were able to keep their store. As for the vacant stores on the north side of Surf, where property owners have leased to restaurant and food businesses, Braunstein doesn’t think the location would bring them as much foot traffic as the south side of Surf.

While Brooklyn Rock is confident about landing a better spot, this story underscores the dim prospects for Mom & Pops hoping to come to Coney Island amid the influx of chains, both at Thor’s property on the south side of Surf and with the property owners on the north side. Currently there are a dwindling number of spaces for lease and Coney Island’s risk-averse landlords prefer the better-funded chains and franchisees. Brooklyn Rock’s lucky break came when Braunstein saw a news article about space for lease in Thor’s then-vacant new building and sent them a proposal. Thor Equities had sent out a press release that said: “Thor To Add Local Flavor To Coney Island By Leasing Major Surf Avenue Parcels To Local Brooklyn Merchants At Reduced Rents For 2013.”

Tenants at Thor’s now fully-leased “Retail Ride of A Lifetime” building across from Stillwell Terminal include candy chain It’Sugar, apparel chain Rainbow Shop, the Brooklyn Nets Shop, Brooklyn Beach Shop spin-off Surf and Stillwell, and the soon-to-debut Wahlburgers. The building also had a Little Caesars Pizza pop-up last summer and two incredibly tiny mini-arcades, which are the shameful extent of the amusements required by the City’s Coney Island Comprehensive Rezoning Plan passed in 2009.

Thor Equities mini-arcade

The only amusements in Thor’s retail building are two mini-arcades, the size required by the City’s Rezoning Plan. One arcade is next door to the apparel chain Rainbow Shops. august 16, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita

It’s telling that in recent weeks ATZ’s top ten posts have been about IHOP, Wahlburgers and other chains coming in 2015. In addition to the already opened national chains and franchises such as Applebee’s, Rita’s Italian Ice, and Dunkin’ Donuts on Surf Avenue, a few new Mom & Pops like Lunatics Ice Cream and Luna Park Cafe opened last season. An outpost of Piece of Velvet, a cake and cupcake shop with locations in Fort Greene and Harlem opened on Valentine’s Day. On the north side of Surf, IHOP recently signed a lease to open a restaurant while Johnny Rockets remains under construction and Subway Cafe and Checkers have put their signs up and are almost ready to open.

Related posts on ATZ…

February 4, 2015: In Wintry Coney, Brooklyn Rock’s Hand-Printed Tees Keep Summer Dreams Alive

January 29, 2015: Coney Island 2015: Subway Cafe, Sushi Lounge, IHOP, Checkers, Johnny Rockets

December 5, 2014: Wahlburgers Burger Franchise to Open in Coney Island

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

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Steeplechase Luna Park

Steeplechase Ride at Luna Park. Coney Island’s amusement rides open for the 2015 season on Palm Sunday, March 29th. Photo © Tricia Vita

Want to get into the business of fun? An array of amusement park jobs including ride operator, bartender, games manager and online marketing coordinator are up for grabs. Coney Island’s first job recruitment events of the 2015 season are on Monday and Tuesday and some employers have started posting ads on Craigslist and specialized job boards. Coney Island’s opening day is early this year–March 29th–with the parks open weekends and school holidays until the daily schedule begins on Memorial Day Weekend. (Scroll down for updates on recruitment events and job offerings.)The February 23rd and 24th recruitment event is hosted by the Alliance for Coney Island in partnership with Human Resources Administration, NYCEDC’s HireNYC Program and Council Member Mark Treyger. It will be held at MCU Park, the Brooklyn Cyclones’ Stadium (1904 Surf Avenue) from 12 noon till 4pm. Representatives from Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, Luna Park, Nathan’s Famous, Ruby’s Bar and Grill, and Applebee’s will be among the businesses interviewing for ride operators, game operators, park services, food services and cashiers. The independently operated games of skill on West 12th Street are also seeking game operators for the 2015 season.

Deno's Wonder Wheel Park

Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park is among the Coney Island businesses seeking job applicants at this week’s workforce recruitment event. Photo via Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park

CAI Foods, the food division of Zamperla’s Central Amusement International, which operates Luna Park, will have a job fair next week on March 2nd and 3rd. CAI Foods operates Place to Beach, the Cyclone Cafe and kiosks in Luna Park. Food service jobs include cook, service assistant, kiosk operator, bar back, bartender and cashier. The job fair will be held at the B&B Carousell on the Boardwalk next to the Parachute Jump. All applicants must complete an online application before attending the job fair. Luna Park is also seeking an Online Marketing Coordinator to create and manage engaging content for the park’s website, social media and e-newsletters ($38,000). “This gig is unlike any other social media job,” says the job description. “You’ll be running around creating content with a small camera and your wits, coordinating with our photographers and videographers and pestering staff members for exciting information for our online audience. We won’t lie — it’s tough, you’ll be busy as heck during the summer (especially weekends) and we need someone who is just a little bit awesome.”

Cat Rack in Coney Island

A supervisor and game attendant practice “Downing A Clown” on Surf Avenue, Luna Park Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita

Managerial job openings at Luna Park include a Warehouse Manager to oversee a team responsible for stocking games, merchandise, photo booths, uniform inventory, maintenance spare parts and other items ($40,000-$45,000) and a Games and Retail Manager with experience in the amusement industry ($45,000-$50,000). Nathan’s Famous is hiring Restaurant Managers and Shift Managers for their Coney Island locations. Experienced RMS earn up to $865 per week and shift managers up to $15 per hour. Ruby’s Bar and Grill on the Boardwalk is hiring a manager and assistant manager, as well as a cook, counter help, and bartender, according to a new post on their website. The Alliance for Coney Island is looking for a Marketing and Corporate Partnerships Manager with experience in marketing, corporate partnerships, communications and media/press relations.

UPDATE April 17, 2015:

On April 23 and 24, Luna Park will have a job fair at the B&B Carousell from 10am-6pm. The carousel is located on the boardwalk bext to the Parachute Jump. There will also be a job fair at B&B on April 27 and 28 for cashiers, bartenders and food service workers. On April 21 and 22 another job recruitment event will be held at MCU Park, the Brooklyn Cyclones’ Stadium (1904 Surf Avenue) from 10am till 4pm. Representatives from Central Amusement International (Luna Park), Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, Eldorado Auto Skooter, Nathan’s Famous, Applebee’s and the Coney Island YMCA will be among the businesses interviewing for full-time and part-time seasonal positions. You can pre-register here. Lola Star Boutique is seeking Shift Managers. Aramark is still hiring for Catering Attendants and Food Service Helpers and Line Cooks at the Brooklyn Cyclones’ MCU Park.

UPDATE March 18, 2015:

Game of skill operators are needed for the 2015 season at the independent games on West 12th street off the Boardwalk. Apply in person or message @MissConeyIsland via twitter. Wahlburgers is hiring a Marketing and Events Coordinator for the franchise opening in Coney Island Luna Park is seeking Brand Ambassadors to work both in Coney Island and off-site. Additional positions listed on the job opportunities section of the park’s website.

UPDATE March 8, 2015:

On Monday, March 9th, from 10am – 4pm, there will be an additional workforce screening event for jobs with Luna Park, Eldorado Skooter and others. The location is Gargiulo’s Restaurant, 2911 West 15th Street off Surf Avenue in Coney Island. Samuel Adams’ Alchemy & Science division, which is opening a brewery on Surf Avenue for their line of Coney Island Beer, is seeking an account manager. “Coney Island Brewing Company is a local New York brewery and we need you to join our team to sell our beers. We need you promoting Coney Island beers in the New York market. Adult alcohol industry experience strongly preferred.” Seasonal positions with Aramark’s food and beverage operation at MCU Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, include a concessions supervisor . They are also hiring cashiers, food service helpers, and maintenance workers as well as experienced retail store associates and store supervisors for the team store. The season at MCU starts June 20th. Lola Star Boutique, which has locations on the Boardwalk and in Stillwell Terminal, is seeking shift managers in Coney and a studio production manager in Sunset Park.

12th street games

The independently operated games of skill on West 12th Street are seeking game operators for the 2015 season

Related posts on ATZ…

January 29, 2015: Coney Island 2015: Subway Cafe, Sushi Lounge, IHOP, Checkers, Johnny Rockets January 20, 2015: Coney Island 2015: Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park Adds Scrambler, ‘Twist & Shout’ Drop Tower December 5, 2014: Wahlburgers Burger Franchise to Open in Coney Island May 19, 2014: New Thunderbolt Loops the Loop Again in Coney Island

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