Advertisements
Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Amusement Game’ Category

Coney Island'sHigh Striker Queen

Coney Island’s High Striker Queen. Photo © Tricia Vita

“I’m happy to be back,” says Monica, Coney Island’s High Striker Queen, who has a new spot on the Bowery under the famed Wonder Wheel’s Thrills sign. And we’re happy to be reporting the good news. In photos taken earlier this week, Monica and her partner Jeff were overseeing construction of their new Fishbowl Game. It will officially open this weekend along with a Kiddie High Striker and Basketball Game.

As ATZ reported in March, three weeks before Coney’s March 26th Opening Day, Monica was told by a rep of 12th Street Amusements that she could not set up this year. “I’m heartbroken,” she had told us. “If I can’t find another place, I’m going to leave Coney Island for the last time.” The space on the Bowery became available for lease after longtime indie operator Jimmy Carchiolo aka Jimmy Balloons, passed away in April.

Coney Islad Bowery

New indie games under construction on Coney Island’s Bowery. Photo © Tricia Vita

Coney Island’s High Striker Queen was the first victim of the City’s scheme to use eminent domain to acquire six privately owned lots for “the revitalization of Coney Island.” One of the lots is the location where Monica and her partner Jeff ran their popular Mom & Pop “hit the hammer, ring the bell” game for the past four seasons.

A few weeks ago, 12th Street Amusements set up their own game in Monica’s former location, which means that when the lot is finally acquired by the City to make way for Wonder Wheel Way, they would be the ones entitled to compensation.

Related posts on ATZ…

April 1, 2016: In Memoriam: James Carchiolo, Coney Island’s Jimmy Balloons

June 3, 2013: Photo Album: Coney Island’s Indie Game Operators

May 16, 2013: Shooting Gallery Revival in Post-Sandy Coney Island

April 22, 2013: Saying Goodbye to Manny and Target the Coney Island Cat

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Bobby Wicks  Roller Skating Monkey Banner

Vintage Roller Skating Monkey Sideshow Banner by Bobby Wicks. Morphy Auctions

Brooklyn-born Bobby Wicks (1902-1990) was a banner and show painter and tattooist greatly admired by his fellow artists. Wicks once told a reporter that he got his start as a boy painting signs that said “Frankfurters 5¢” for Coney Island hot dog stands. Though both his paintings and tattoo flash are hard to come by, a delightful roller skating monkey banner that he did for a carnival’s monkey speedway will be on the block at Morphy Auctions on Sunday.

The 9-1/2 foot tall by 7-1/2 foot wide advertisement was part of a banner line designed to draw people over to a midway attraction that remained popular through the 1950s and ’60s. Trained monkeys in little metal cars raced around a track while customers placed bets on the laydown of numbers. The banner painters often took liberties and portrayed the monkeys in a variety of eye-catching scenarios, from walking a tightrope to dining in a fine restaurant, that were not part of the show.

According to Wicks’ page on the Tattoo Archive, in his early years in Coney he painted shooting galleries for the McCulloughs, worked with several banner painters, and had learned tattooing by age 14 or 15. After making and losing a fortune as a tattooist in the 1920s, he joined Royal American Shows, “The World’s Largest Midway,” and became their chief scenic artist and show painter.

The auction is online and one can bid now or in real time during Morphy’s January 31st sale in Las Vegas.

Update: The banner sold for $1,500 plus a 22% buyer’s premium.

Related posts on ATZ…

March 19, 2014: Memoirs of a Carny Kid: Monkeys on the Midway

November 23, 2013: More Photos from the Glory Days of the Sideshow Banner

November 7, 2013: Photos from the Glory Days of the Sideshow Banner

February 4, 2013: Rare & Vintage: Girl to Gorilla Sideshow Banner

Read Full Post »

Weirs Beach New Hampshire

Neon sign in Weirs Beach, New Hampshire, home to Funspot, the world’s largest arcade. Photo © Tricia Vita


A recent trip to New Hampshire took us to Weirs Beach, a summer resort on Lake Winnepesaukee that is also home to Funspot, named “The World’s Largest Arcade” by Guinness World Records. The indoor fun mecca was founded more than 60 years ago by Bob Lawton, who at 84 years young still runs the place, which is open year-round.

While kids rode coin-op carousel horses and pint-sized bumper cars and families bowled and played the Famous Landmarks of New Hampshire-themed mini-golf in the 75,000 square-foot fun center, we trooped upstairs to meet Hercules, the World’s Largest Pinball Machine. Manufactured by Atari in 1970, the giant size machine uses a cue ball as a pinball and dwarfs its neighbor, a 1938 Genco Stop & Go.

Hercules, Largest Pinball in the World

Hercules, ‘Largest Pinball in the World,’ at Funspot. Manufactured by Atari in 1970. Photo © Tricia Vita

Hercules is stationed at the entrance to the American Classic Arcade Museum (ACAM), which museum curator Gary Vincent describes as “like stepping into the Wayback Machine.” ACAM has over 200 classic video games as well as a selection of pinball machines, any of which can be played for a few tokens. Four tokens cost $1.00; we splurged on 100 for $20.

“We use 1987 as a cutoff date for video games in the museum,” says Vincent. He notes that when Double Dragon came out, there was a shift in the industry from quirky puzzle-and-fantasy-based games to what he calls “the kick punch shoot games.”

Among the rare video games you can play are Computer Space (1971), the world’s first commercially available coin-operated video game. Developed by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, who would go on to found Atari, th mod looking machine has a fiberglass cabinet with sparkle gel coat. “It actually has a television set in it that has been modified to run with video game hardware, which is typical of video games until about 1974,” Vincent explains.

“Having worked at Funspot since 1981, and having watched the industry go way, way, way up and way, way, way down, I saw an opportunity to save a lot of the older games here by starting a museum,” Vincent says of the nonprofit which was founded in 2002. The fact that 60 video game enthusiasts showed up for the first classic arcade tournament in 1999 convinced him of the need to collect and preserve games and put them out where the public could learn about them and enjoy them again. “It’s really funny to see dad who is about 40 with his 15-year-old kid, saying look, come here, I played this when I was a kid.”

Although Funspot donates the space to the nonprofit museum, the games in the museum don’t make enough money to support themselves. “It’s sad but true, the only money to be made in classic games is selling them on eBay,” notes Vincent. “You don’t make money putting them out where people can play them, seven days a week, 12 hours a day. It’s kind of a labor of lovejust wanting to preserve games so people can come along 10, 15, 20 years from now and be able to play things that they just can’t play anywhere else.”

Sky Jump Grand Slam Pinball Games

Sky Jump and Grand Slam, pinball games from the early 1970s at Funspot’s American Classic Arcade Museum. Photo © Tricia Vita

Among the electro-mechanical pinball games that we got to play were Gottlieb’s 1972 Grand Slam, a baseball game of which only 3,600 were manufactured, Sky Jump (1974) and Devil’s Dare (1982), and Bally’s Mr. and Mrs. Pac Man Pinball (1982). Rare video games include Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator (Sega, 1983), Cloak & Dagger (Atari, 1983), and Death Race (Exidy, 1976). The museum’s 501-c3 status lets it to run weekly bingo games as fundraisers, allowing it to buy more classics, fix them up and put them on the floor. Luminaries from the video game community such as Curt Vendell of the Atari Museum, and Robert Mruczek, the former chief referee of Twin Galaxies, have donated a number of games from their personal collections.

As we were about to leave, it was a great pleasure to meet Funspot’s founder Mr. Lawton. We talked arcades and exchanged business cards. His card entitles the visitor to $20 worth of free tokens and is tucked away in the glove compartment in anticipation of our next trip to New Hampshire.

Classic Pinball

A row of electro-mechanical pinball machines at the American Classic Arcade Museum. Photo © Tricia Vita

Related posts on ATZ…

March 30, 2014: Spring Reading: “Automatic Pleasures: The History of the Coin Machine”

November 15, 2013: Modern Pinball NYC Opens with New Arcade Business Model

November 29, 2011: Fascination: From Coney Island to Nantasket Beach

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

Read Full Post »

arcade peepshow

Coin-operated arcade peep show. Rich Penn Auctions, November 7, 2015

A Collection of Shapely Pin Ups-5 Cents! The art of the come-on is alive and well in this nearly six-foot-tall, coin-operated arcade peep show from the 1950s. It sold at Rich Penn Auctions today for $400. When players look through the peephole all they see is a row of clothespins in various colors. It was manufactured in 1957 by the Exhibit Supply Co. of Chicago, which in addition to the Barrel peep show, sold a Nudist Colony machine that revealed a live ant colony.

Related posts on ATZ…

January 12, 2015: Rare & Vintage: Antique Punch-A-Bag Arcade Game

March 28, 2014: Up for Auction: Bimbo Baby Automaton Arcade Machine

January 28, 2013: Rare & Vintage: 1906 “La Boule Mysterieuse” Circus Toy

January 5, 2013: Saturday Matinee: A Peep Show on the Mutoscope Machine

Read Full Post »

Power Surge

Power Surge returns to Coney Island opened for business on Memorial Day Weekend. May 23, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

Zamperla’s Power Surge, one of the ride manufacturer’s signature rides, opened at Coney Island’s Luna Park over Memorial Day Weekend. The big surprise is that we’re told it’s the very same ride that debuted in Astroland in 2001! As ATZ previously reported, when the Power Surge first came to Coney’s Astroland in time for Fourth of July in 2001, its photo was featured on the cover of Time Out New York. The ride remained in Astroland until 2006 when it was sold to Australia. Zamperla bought it back and refurbished it.

Located in Luna Park’s Scream Zone against the back wall of the Boardwalk Nathan’s, the scream machine was awhirl for most of the weekend. The Power Surge is not the only Astroland ride to come home to Coney Island. Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park brought back and refurbished Astroland’s Scrambler and Barbieri Bumper Cars, and together with the Coney Island History Project, the historic 1962 Astroland Rocket.

Arcade

Over Memorial Day Weekend, Arcade Replaces Rainbow Shop in Thor Equities Building. May 23, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

On Friday we were delighted to find out that Coney Island has one less chain store and one more arcade. Rainbow Shops, a retail chain featuring discount clothing and shoes, will NOT be returning for a third season to Thor Equities retail building in Coney. Gordon Lee of Eldorado Arcade has moved arcade machines into the 2,500 square foot space, which still has the word Rainbow over its door.

It’s surprising news because until last July, Thor’s retail building flaunted two ARCADE signs but no arcades, despite the fact that 15% of amusement frontage was required by zoning regulations to obtain the Certificate of Occupancy from the City. For a long time, it was one of our pet peeves. ATZ wrote about this sham here and again here. Now the two mini-arcades, the minimum required by Bloomberg’s rezoning of Coney Island for this building, have an actual arcade to keep them company.

mini arcade

One of two mini arcades installed in July 2014 at Thor Equities retail building at Surf and Stillwell. May 27, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

We’re sad to report that Coney Island USA’s 1940s Shooting Gallery at 1214 Surf Avenue has been closed. The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the nonprofit arts organization is offering the 3,500 square foot Shooting Gallery Arts Annex building for lease at $50 square foot or approximately $175,000 per year. “When a lease is signed we will return it to Deno’s,” Coney Island USA’s Dick Zigun told ATZ. “Until then it might reopen if we can afford machine gun maintenance.”

Made in Coney Island by William F. Mangels, the vintage shooting gallery is the only publicly operating one of its kind that we’re aware of. The gallery restored by Coney Island USA in 2013 is on loan from Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, where it had operated for decades next to Spook-A-Rama and was uncovered during post-Sandy renovations.

Mangels Shooting Gallery

1940s Mangels Shooting Gallery, Coney Island USA. August 3, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

Intact Mangels shooting galleries are exceptionally rare since most were long ago sold for scrap metal or broken up by antique dealers who sell the targets individually. It brought an authentic, old-timey ambiance to Surf Avenue that will be missed.

CIUSA bought Denny’s ice cream shop and building next door to their headquarters in 2012 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 at first there was talk of replacing the ruined ice cream machines with a paintball game, mini-golf or a roller rink. What will it house next?

When Coney Island USA bought the building, Dick Zigun told ATZ: “Some day we can transfer air rights from the landmark Childs Building, match the two-story front of Childs then do a setback with an additional five to seven story tower on top of the base,” Zigun noted. The renderings that he showed at a Coney Island presentation at the AIA included a whimsical homage to the Elephant Hotel.

Shooting Gallery

Shooting Gallery building at 1214 Surf Avenue. May 26, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

Related posts on ATZ…

May 19, 2015: Gargiulo’s Russo Brothers to Open Italian Fast Food on Surf Avenue

May 6, 2015: New Owner of Surf Ave Lot Across from Coney Island Cyclone Seeks Ideas for Seasonal Use

April 7, 2015: Coney Island Area’s 1st Hotel in Decades to Open This Summer

March 3, 2015: Coney Island 2015: The Whip Returns with a NASCAR Twist

Read Full Post »

Photo © Tricia Vita

Stillwell Avenue and Bowery, Coney Island. April 16, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita

It turns out that Dan Biederman’s consulting firm Biederman Redevelopment Ventures was hired by Thor Equities to manage and create programming for two lots in Coney Island. So what’s planned for Thor’s second long-vacant lot, on the Bowery across the street from where Coney Art Walls and Smorgasburg are set to debut? “Our programming is still in flux, though we hope to announce some exciting things next week,” Ben Donsky, BRV’s senior project manager, told ATZ. “There will probably be performances on both lots.”

Since Thor bought the property in 2006 and emptied out the bumper boats, go karts and batting cages, the lot has seen sporadic use, most infamously in 2009 as the failed Flea by the Sea. Its tattered tents can be seen in the photo above.

As for game trailers coming to the lot and kiosks being offered for rent this season, as the Coney Island Rumor Mill has been saying for months: “There are no actual ‘kiosks’ in our plans on the east side of Stillwell, at least right now,” Donsky says. “But Gordon Lee of the Eldorado is going to be putting up midway games along the Bowery.”

Balloon Dart on the Bowery, Coney Island

Balloon Dart, on the Bowery in Coney Island, May 26, 2008. This game did not reopen in 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita

Can the Bowery get its groove back? Or will it get a complete redo? Coney’s Bowery from West 12th Street to Stillwell is a ghost town compared to the crowds it used to attract, particularly since McCullough’s Kiddie Park got pushed out in 2012. As a measure of how much has changed, the spot where the old-school Balloon Dart was located in the demolished Henderson Building is now occupied by the Brooklyn Nets Shop in Thor’s retail building, where Wahlburger’s is opening a rooftop dining area that will overlook the festivities unfolding on the lots this summer.

Wahlburgers

Slated to open this summer, Wahlburgers will have a rooftop overlooking Thor’s Stillwell lots. April 18, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

Related posts on ATZ…

May 6, 2015: Tatyana Fazlalizadeh to Draw Portraits of Coney Island Residents for Coney Art Walls

April 30, 2015: Thor Equities Recruits Jeffrey Deitch, Dan Biederman & Smorgasburg to Dress Up Vacant Coney Lot

April 27, 2015: Coney Island 2015: Update on Wahlburgers, Temporary Fair at Thor’s Vacant Lots

March 3, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: What Stillwell Looked Like Before Joe Sitt

Read Full Post »

PinballNYC

Each player is allowed to use one flipper in the Split Flipper Valentine’s Day Pinball Tournament at Reciprocal Skateboards. Photo via PinballNYC.com

Happy Valentine’s Day! One of the day’s most playfully romantic events is New York City Sport Flipper Association’s Split Flipper Valentine’s Day Tournament for Couples. According to PinballNYC.com, the event starts at 4:30pm at Reciprocal Skateboards in the East Village.

This is a couple’s tournament and competitors will play with a partner. Each player is allowed to use one flipper button during the game. The qualification period will start at 4:30pm will end at 9 pm (and will run concurrently with NYCFSA Winter Pin-Golf). The cost will be two dollars for each qualifying attempt. Each qualifying attempt is for a high score with no extra balls played.

The top four qualifying pairs will advance to the finals and play a best of four games series for high score with no extra balls played.

The format for the finals: 3 points for a win 2 points for second 1 point for third 0 points for fourth.

The partners with the most points at the end of the four matches will win the prize pool. If there are ties for first place, then a single tie-breaker match will occur.

Located at 402 East 11th Street, Reciprocal Skateboards has nine pinball machines including the Who’s Tommy Pinball Wizard, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Revenge from Mars and Spider-Man.

Study up on flipper techniques via rocketcarmike’s video:

Related posts on ATZ…

March 30, 2014: Spring Reading: “Automatic Pleasures: The History of the Coin Machine”

February 5, 2014: National Pinball Museum Founder’s Vintage Games Up for Auction

November 15, 2013: Modern Pinball NYC Opens with New Arcade Business Model

November 29, 2011: Fascination: From Coney Island to Nantasket Beach

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: