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This weekend is your last chance to dance with the life-size dancing doll “Miss Coney Island” and enjoy the miniature animated rides of “Coney Island Always” before they close for the year. These independently owned amusements cost only 25 cents each and are located on West 12th Street off the Boardwalk, beneath Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park.

When ATZ “interviewed” Miss Coney after she moved from Jones Walk in 2012, it was revealed that in a past life she was an Indian princess automaton at Connecticut’s Great Danbury Fair. Though you’d never guess it after her glam makeover, this doll dates back to the 1930s. The shimmying mannequin is a magnet for visiting divas. Catch her at 2:20 in Beyonce’s music vid XO and with Rita Ora in a fashion shoot for Vibe Magazine. Miss Coney Island’s taglines on twitter are “Don’t Postpone Joy” and “25 cents to fall in LOVE.” (more…)

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Miss Coney Island's Dancing Cat

Miss Coney Island’s Dancing Cat. April 6, 2014 . Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

New for 2014 in Coney Island! One of Miss Coney Island‘s dancing cats is sporting a Marilyn Monroe badge. Just call her Marilyn.

The dancing doll and cats are a popular attraction on West 12th Street across from the Steeplechase coaster. It costs a quarter a dance.

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April 5, 2014: Photo Album: A Solitary Evening Stroll in Coney Island

March 29, 2014: Photo of the Day: Chomping at the Bit for Coney Island’s Opening Day

September 30, 2012: Photo of the Day: Last Dance With Miss Coney Island

April 27, 2012: The Dancing Doll “Miss Coney Island” Speaks

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Bimbo Baby Automaton Arcade Machine

Bimbo Baby Automaton Arcade Machine. German, c.1950. Fontaine’s Auction Gallery

Isn’t this the cutest? There are already two bids on this circa 1950 “Bimbo Baby” arcade machine featuring a monkey orchestra. It has a starting bid of $1,000 and a pre-sale estimate of $2,000-$4,000. The sale is on Saturday morning at Fontaine’s Auction Gallery in Pittsfield, Mass., not far from where my Dad once had a real live monkey on the midway.

Bimbo Baby Automaton Arcade Machine. German, c.1950, coin operated automaton box lights up inside with 6 figural cabana monkeys on a tropical decorated stage, the figures dance, shake and play their instruments; has a speaker built into the base which plays music through a Tefi Spezial-Band cassette (tape in cassette is unwound). Animated mechanism is in good working condition. 38 in. high x 24 in. wide x 23 in. deep.

Now if somebody would just drop a dime in the slot and make a YouTube video of the toy monkeys dancing and playing, we’d be delighted.

Bimbo Baby Automaton Arcade

One of the Monkeys in Bimbo Baby Automaton Arcade Machine. German, c.1950. Fontaine’s Auction Gallery

Update: Found on YouTube! There are quite a few videos of “Bimbo Box,” the larger version, in operation…

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December 6, 2013: Rare $25K “Punchy the Clown” Game Makes a Comeback

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

April 27, 2012: The Dancing Doll “Miss Coney Island” Speaks

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

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Dancing Cat

Miss Coney Island’s Dancing Cat, West 12th Street, Coney Island. October 14, 2012. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

As the sign on the window housing “Miss Coney Island” says: “DON’T POSTPONE JOY.” This weekend is your last chance to spend 25 cents to fall in love with the famed dancing doll and her dancing cat. Located on West 12th Street across from the Steeplechase coaster, the mechanical duo are dolled up for Saturday’s Halloween festivities. There’s no charge to take a souvenir photo, but we suggest you bring a roll of quarters to spend on Miss Coney Island and the neighboring miniature animated rides of “Coney Island Always” and Skin the Wire game before they close for the winter.

Souvenir Photo with Miss Coney Island

Visitors Pose for Souvenir Photo with Miss Coney Island. October 14, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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September 30, 2012: Photo of the Day: Last Dance With Miss Coney Island

April 27, 2012: The Dancing Doll “Miss Coney Island” Speaks

December 7, 2011: Jones Walk’s “Miss Coney Island” Shimmies Over to 12th St

July 14, 2009: Miss Coney Island on Jones Walk: 25 Cents to Fall in Love

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Miss Coney Island

The Dancing Doll Miss Coney Island. August 28, 2012. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

If you haven’t danced with Miss Coney Island yet, there are only a few weeks left before our friend goes to winter-quarters. On weekends, you’ll find her standing behind a window on West 12th Street across from the Steeplechase coaster. It costs “25 cents to fall in LOVE” and “25 cents to smile,” say the signs, but quarters don’t pay the rent in Coney Island. The dancing doll depends on income from Skin the Wire and neighboring games of skill to get by. Bring a whole roll of quarters with you!

Miss Coney Island

The Dancing Doll Miss Coney Island. August 28, 2012. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

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April 27, 2012: The Dancing Doll “Miss Coney Island” Speaks

December 7, 2011: Jones Walk’s “Miss Coney Island” Shimmies Over to 12th St

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

July 14, 2009: Miss Coney Island on Jones Walk: 25 Cents to Fall in Love

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Miss Coney Island

Miss Coney Island with her dancing cats and her baby doll. West 12th Street. April 1, 2012. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

After 14 years on Jones Walk, the windows featuring the life-size dancing doll “Miss Coney Island” and the miniature animated rides of “Coney Island Always” have moved to West 12th Street along with Skin the Wire and other whimsical games. Mechanical wonders like Chuckles the Clown and dancing cats can be found there as well. The location is just off the Boardwalk, under Deno’s Wonder Wheel and next to the Coney Island History Project.

“Miss Coney Island” spoke with ATZ–yes, she speaks via twitter!–about the big move and the marvelous makeover that has fans saying she looks 30 years younger. The shimmying mannequin received a complete re-do, including new wig, makeup, manicure, costume, jewelry and music. Her motto remains “Don’t Postpone Joy” and it’s still only “25 cents to fall in LOVE.”

Miss Coney Island

Closeup of Miss Coney Island's Bejeweled Hand. March 23, 2012. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

You’d never know it to look at Miss Coney but she is well over 30. We’re not one to give away a woman’s age, but anecdotal evidence suggests the dancing mannequin may be a contemporary of the venerable Grandma’s Predictions, the fortunetelling automaton in Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. Earlier in her career, “Miss Coney Island” was an Indian Princess automaton at a fairground exhibition, she revealed. “My best friend was ‘Little Egypt.’ After the fair closed, everyone and everything was put up for auction. And here I am.”

The post-modern “Miss Coney Island” is a visual jukebox. This season there’s an emphasis on Doo Wop and Reggae music at Miss Coney’s request. “Most of the songs are oldies that were ‘newies’ when I was young,” she said wistfully. There’s “Little Darlin'” by the Diamonds, “Come Go with Me” by the Del-Vikings and of course “Under the Boardwalk” by the Drifters.” The song in the video that we made is “This Magic Moment.” While we were there a group of twenty-somethings came over and and started dancing. They kept putting quarters in the machine. Apparently they’d never heard music from the 1950s and ’60s and were enchanted. “What is this music,” they asked. “Where can we buy it?”

The usually silent Miss Coney decided to speak up after a New York tabloid recently dissed Jones Walk as “a longtime seedy strip” and claimed that the City cleared everyone out because it “had been filled with rigged carnival games and ripped off beachgoers for years.” She was furious. “In 14 years on the Walk, nobody but nobody has ever accused me or my friends of being seedy! Win or lose, people left with a smile on their faces,” Miss Coney said.

ATZ can vouch for Miss Coney’s veracity. Having worked games of skill on the Walk, it pained us to see the reputations of all of the concession operators tarnished so casually. There was ONE bad apple among the tenants in the City-owned booths. The majority of the operators were legit and were therefore able to relocate to City-owned or private property in Coney Island.

Miss Coney Island

Miss Coney Island Meets A Little Miss Coney Island. April 8, 2012. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

“It costs ’25 cents to fall in LOVE’ and ’25 cents to smile,’ but quarters don’t pay the rent in Coney Island,” according to Miss Coney, who depends on income from Skin the Wire and other $2 games of skill to fund her retirement. Three of the games made the move to 12th Street, but two money-making water games had to be left behind in the dumpster. “We just couldn’t fit them into our new space,” she added sadly.

Be that as it may, Miss Coney Island says “I’m sooo happy with my new location. More people walk by than on the Walk.” Earlier this month, singing sensation Rita Ora, who was in Coney to shoot her new music video, stopped by to pose in front of the windows. “Fingers crossed I’m in the video too,” said the dancing doll, who asked us to mention that she and “Coney Island Always” are available for film and TV shoots. “What I’d really love is a cameo on “30 Rock” and a mention on David Letterman’s Top 10 List.”

Coney Island animated toy window

Coney Island Always, West 12th Street. April 8, 2012. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

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April 10, 2012: Up for Auction: Collection of Carnival Knockdown Dolls

December 7, 2011: Jones Walk’s “Miss Coney Island” Shimmies Over to 12th St

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

July 14, 2009: Miss Coney Island on Jones Walk: 25 Cents to Fall in Love

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