We’re sad to report that James Carchiolo, affectionately known in Coney Island as Jimmy Balloons, has passed away. He had been at Coney Island Hospital for four weeks and was about to be moved to a hospice. Jimmy is among the few remaining old-timers operating games in Coney Island. He was 71 years old and was a game operator in Coney for over 50 years.
ATZ has taken many photos of Jimmy and his Balloon Dart over the years at various locations, including two spots on the Bowery and on Jones Walk under the Wonder Wheel “Thrills” sign. The spot long occupied by his Balloon Dart in the century-old Henderson Building, demolished by Thor Equities in 2010, is now the Brooklyn Nets Shop in Thor’s retail building. That fact pretty much sums up why indie game operators are disappearing from the new Coney Island.
Born and raised in Coney Island, Jimmy was a survivor who relocated from the Henderson to property leased by Manny Cohen’s Coney Island Arcade, where Target the Coney Island Cat helped him call people in to play. After Manny lost his lease, Jimmy moved in 2013 to a spot on Jones Walk owned by Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. Sadly, this year for the first time in his long career in Coney, Jimmy missed operating his Balloon Dart on Opening Day. Rest in peace, Jimmy Balloons. You will be missed.
Visitation will be Sunday, April 3rd, 2-5pm and 7-10pm at the Cusimano & Russo Funeral Home, 2005 West 6th Street, Brooklyn. The Funeral Mass will be on Monday, 10:00 am at the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Solace, 2866 West 17th Street, Coney Island. Interment to follow in the Cemetery of the Resurrection, Staten Island.