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Girl to Gorilla Show

Detail of Girl to Gorilla Showfront by Lew Stamm for 4C Productions Coming to State Fair Meadowlands

“Beauty or Beast? SEE the only LIVING woman with this Mysterious and Unknown Ability…Alive…The Ape Girl.” Jack Constantine’s Girl to Gorilla Show is coming to New Jersey’s State Fair Meadowlands, which opens on June 21 for a 17-day run. It’s the first time since 1996 that his Four C Productions is bringing it out. Just a couple of months ago, we wrote in a post about this classic midway illusion: Sadly, there are few if any working today. If you know of one, let us know.

This awesome set of Girl to Gorilla banners was painted by the late great Lew Stamm, whose showfronts are highly regarded in the business. “They were done for my father in 1991. My dad traded his car for them,” said Lindsey Constantine, who is co-owner of the sideshow company. The rest of the set including the ticketbooth is currently being painted prior to its appearance at the fair. It’s the front of the show that gets the dough!

The Constantines are also bringing their popular World’s Smallest Woman, World’s Smallest Horse, Snake Illusion and Oddity Museum to the New Jersey fair.

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Mermaid Parade Kickstarter

In an article about Coney Island for Islands Magazine’s “Best Beaches” issue in 2000, I asked “How are mermaids different from mortal women?” A siren wearing little more than a sequined fishtail and a sprinkling of glitter looked me in the eye and said, “Mortal women don’t have the boom-boom shimmy-sham that mermaids possess. For another thing, we have all that fantasy on our side.” Everyone who comes to Coney Island partakes in that fantasy. It’s hard to imagine kicking off the summer in Coney Island without the Mermaid Parade, but it could happen for the first time in 31 years unless $100,000 is raised via Kickstarter by June 3rd.

Best Mermaid Kate Dale

Three-time “Best Mermaid” Kate Dale on Purple Sofa Float in 2008 Mermaid Parade. June 21, 2008. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Coney Island USA, the non-profit arts organization that puts on the free parade, was devastated by Superstorm Sandy. Its sideshow, burlesque shows and Freak Bar have yet to open for the season as renovation of the flood-damaged first floor is underway. While Coney Island’s rides, games and Boardwalk shops and eateries opened as usual on Palm Sunday, Coney Island USA’s theater has remained dark. With no revenue coming in, there’s a budget shortfall in the mermaid department.

Amy Winehouse Mermaids

Amy Winehouse Mermaids sing They Wanted Me to 2 Go CONDO but I said NO NO NO in 2008 Mermaid Parade. June 21, 2008. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

“A free parade is expensive,” says the intro on Kickstarter. “As the crowds have grown to 750,000 people over the past years, we’ve had to contend with more regulations and restrictions that have sharply increased the cost of the event.” The good news is the crowdfunding campaign to save the June 22nd event has already raised one-third of the $100,000 goal with contributions ranging from $1 to $250. But Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing funding model. The project must be fully funded for the parade to be saved. Thank you gifts include freak flags ($5 or more), pasties and tote bags ($40 or more), and a VIP spot on an elevated roof deck to watch the parade ($150 or more).

Lollipop and Candy Memaids

Lollipop and Candy Mermaids in 2009 Mermaid Parade. June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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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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