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Posts Tagged ‘Coney Island Beach Shop’

Coney Island Always, West 12th Street near the Boardwalk, Coney Island. August 31, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

Steeplechase Park founder George C. Tilyou famously said “If Paris is France, then Coney Island, between June and September, is the world.” Over the past few weeks, we’ve fielded queries from around the world: When does Coney Island close? What’s open in September, October, etcetera?

Nowadays, Coney Island’s season for amusement rides, games and attractions extends from Palm Sunday till the last weekend in October. The New York Aquarium, Nathan’s Famous, and a few other restaurants and shops in the amusement district remain open through the fall and winter. Back in 2010, ATZ wrote a guide to off-season Coney titled “Coney Island After Columbus Day: We’re Still Open!” Here’s an updated version for this year.

Nathan's

Open Year-Round: The Original Nathan’s Famous at Night, Surf Avenue, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita

Rides and Attractions

After Labor Day, the majority of Coney’s rides are open weekends and school holidays (Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot and Columbus Day) through the end of October –this year (2013) the last day is Sunday, October 27. [In 2015, it is Sunday, November 1st.] Weather permitting, of course. Schedules may vary at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, Luna Park, the Cyclone and Scream Zone, 12th Street Amusements and the Eldorado Bumper Cars. The Eldorado is an independently-owned, indoor attraction and stays open after the other rides close. We recommend checking the parks’ websites and the official Coney Island twitterers list for up-to-date info and phoning ahead if the weather is iffy.

Hours are generally 12 noon until 6-8pm, and sometimes until 10 or 11 pm on September weekends, but vary depending on the weather and the crowds. Closing is much earlier than in the summer season, when the parks may be open till 1am. The traditional opening day of the season is Palm Sunday, a holiday with a date that changes every year. In 2014, the parks will officially open on April 13th. (In 2015 and 2016, Palm Sunday is early– March 29 and March 20, respectively.) Coney Island’s amusement rides operate on a daily schedule from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day. Check the websites of the parks and attractions for seasonal hours or phone ahead.

Deno's Wonder Wheel Park

Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita

Coney Island USA features an array of events during September and October including the 29th Annual Coney Island Tattoo and Motorcycle Festival (September 13-15) and the Coney Island Film Festival (September 20-22). Check the calendar of events for October’s Creep Show at the Freak Show and Haunted Sideshow and other special events during the year. Fred Kahl’s Scan-O-Rama, a 3D portrait studio, will be open most Saturdays, from 12-5pm. Update: CIUSA’s Freak Bar and Gift Shop and Coney Island Museum will be open most Saturdays and Sundays 12pm-5pm during the winter.

The New York Aquarium‘s Fall/Winter/Spring hours are 10am–4:30pm, with last entry at 3:30pm. Exhibits include Conservation Hall and Sea Cliffs, where you can see penguins, walruses and sea otters being fed. While the aquarium is still recovering and rebuilding from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, admission fees are reduced to $9.95. On Fridays from 3pm, admission is pay-what you-wish.

New Year's Day Polar Bear Plunge

He Did It! Annual New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge in Coney Island. January 1, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita

Beach and Boardwalk

While the beach officially closes for swimming after Labor Day, sunbathing, strolling, bird-watching, kite-flying, photography and other fun pursuits are allowed. The Coney Island Polar Bear Club swims at 1pm every Sunday from November through April. Watch from the beach or join them for a guest swim. Just show up at the Bears “Clubhouse” at the Aquarium’s Education Hall on the Boardwalk at West 8th Street by 12:30 pm with your bathing suit, a towel, surf boots or an extra pair of sneakers, and some warm clothing. There’s also the famous New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge, a fundraiser for Camp Sunshine, which all are welcome to join and earn the bragging rights “Did it!” (Update: On occasion, when the Aquarium’s Education Hall is leased out, the Bears swim at Stillwell Avenue.)

The historic 90-year-old Riegelmann Boardwalk is open year round and if you traverse its 2.7 miles from Sea Gate to Brighton, you’ll meet walkers, runners, bicyclists, parents with strollers, neighborhood folks out and about, as well as tourists from around the world. The Coney Island History Project offers 1-1/2 hour walking tours of the amusement district -“past, present and future”–including stops at the landmark Wonder Wheel, Cyclone and Parachute Jump and lesser known treasures. Tours are offered year-round, weather permitting.

Coney Island Boardwalk at Dusk

Coney Island Boardwalk at Dusk: Lola Star Boutique, Ruby’s Bar, Brooklyn Beach Shop, Scream Zone, Tom’s Coney Island, Parachute Jump. Photo © Tricia Vita

DINING AND SHOPPING

Paul’s Daughter, established as Gregory and Paul’s in 1962, is open daily through the end of October. Paul Georgoulakos, 84, the Boardwalk’s oldest operator, can frequently be found at the clam bar of his family’s eatery, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. Located at West 10th Street near the Aquarium, the store offers counter service, a clam bar, and an al fresco bar with beer on tap. We recommend the raw clams, fried calamari, and french fries.

Some of the small businesses are making a valiant effort to stretch the season. Lola Star Boutique owner Dianna Carlin says she intends to keep her gift shop open, weather permitting, every day for as long as she can. “I’m really gearing up for holiday shopping and getting tons of fabulous new merch, so hopefully we’ll be open daily at least through Christmas!”

Lola Star Boutique

Lola Star Boutique owner Dianna Carlin with one of her T-Shirt Designs. Photo © Tricia Vita

Ruby’s Bar and Grill is open daily through Halloween, co-owner Michael Sarrel tells ATZ. It’ll be weekends only–most weekends anyway–from November 1st through January 1st, which is a big day on the Boardwalk due to the Polar Bear Plunge. After New Year’s Day, Ruby’s will close till mid-March. Drop by Ruby’s Facebook page anytime to check seasonal hours and whether or not they’re open when you plan to go.

Brooklyn Beach Shop, which offers private label T-shirts, hoodies, blankets and beach gear, is open daily through the end of October. Weekend hours are planned for the rest of the year, depending on the weather and the crowds.

At Tom’s Coney Island, breakfast including their delicious pancakes, is served all day. The restaurant has become a local favorite for brunch and lunch since Superstorm Sandy, when it was one of the few places able to open after the storm. A variety of omelettes, sandwiches, wraps, hamburgers and vegie burgers are also on the menu. “We will be staying open through the winter from 8-5, seven days a week,” owner Jimmy Kokotas tells ATZ. “We are currently open 8-7 till daylight savings begins.” The Boardwalk outpost of the popular Prospect Heights diner celebrates its first anniversary later this month.

Wrap at Tom's Restaurant

Grilled Chicken with Greek Salad: Our Fave Wrap at Tom’s, Coney Island Boardwalk. Photo © Tricia Vita

Founded in 1916, Nathan’s Famous original location on Surf Avenue at Stillwell is a year-round tourist destination. People say their world-famous hot dogs taste better here than at any of the locations of the franchise. Throughout the year, the Surf Avenue store is open daily 8am till 1am, and until 2am on Friday and Saturday. The Nathan’s at the corner of West 12th on the Boardwalk is open seasonally.

Williams Candy is one of our favorite places in Coney Island. The 75-year-old Mom-and-Pop shop is next door to Nathan’s Famous and is open year round. Hours are 9 am till 7 pm during the off season. The shop stays open late when Coney is in full swing. Williams also has a delicious looking website where you can order marshmallow sticks, candy apples and other treats online.

Williams Candy

Williams Candy, next to Nathan’s dining area on Surf Avenue, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita

On Stillwell Avenue directly behind Nathan’s is Coney Island Beach Shop, which has been selling T-shirts and beach gear at this location in Coney Island since 2002. Year-round hours are 10:30am-4pm.

Across the street from Nathan’s, in Thor Equities new retail building, the pop-up shop Wampum packed it in after Labor Day, but the rest of the stores are open daily through October 30, according to store personnel. With the exception of candy mega chain It’Sugar, which will be open year round, the rest of the stores will close for the winter. The Brooklyn Nets Shop, Brooklyn Rock, Maritza’s Souvenirs and Rainbow Shop (discount clothing) have seasonal leases through October and most hope to return next season, sources told ATZ. UPDATE: Brooklyn Rock, Maritza’s and Rainbow shop were replaced by Surf & Stillwell and a souvenir shop, also seasonal, and the NY metro area’s first Wahlburger’s, which will be open year round.

If you prefer Italian food, there are a trio of Coney Island restaurants open year round. The Surf Avenue outpost of DUMBO’s Grimaldi’s Pizzeria currently offers a slice of Coney Island history along with their pizza pies. The “Dreamland Bell” that survived the Dreamland Fire of 1911 is on display as a symbol of Coney’s comeback from Sandy. It can be seen through the storefront window by pedestrians walking on the north side of Surf. The Bell is there through September 27th. A short walk from the amusement district are two of the neighborhood’s longtime favorites– Totonno’s Pizzeria on Neptune Avenue since 1924 and Gargiulo’s, in business since 1907 on West 15th Street.

Coney Island Beach Shop

Warriors T-Shirts at Coney Island Beach Shop behind Nathan’s on Stillwell Avenue. Photo © Tricia Vita

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Nathan's Sign

Mockup of Sign for Nathan's Gift Shop on the Boardwalk. © Maya Haddad/Nathan's Coney Island Gift Shop. All Rights Reserved

Nathan’s Famous has been in business in Coney Island since 1916, when Nathan and Ida Handwerker made a success out of selling a frankfurter in a bun for a nickel. This season, the world-renowned eatery will have its first-ever brick-and-mortar gift shop thanks to a licensing agreement with Maya Haddad and her father Haim, the entrepreneurial co-owners of Coney Island Beach Shop and the soon-to-debut Brooklyn Beach Shop.

Set to open on March 31 April 5, Nathan’s Coney Island Gift Shop is a separate 500-square-foot space inside Nathan’s newly relocated Boardwalk outpost currently under construction at West 12th Street. “We’re manufacturing our own apparel,” Maya told ATZ. “We have 18 different graphic designs printed on T-shirts, sweatshirts and baseball caps. There’s also custom socks that make your feet look like hot dogs!” The hang tags are even shaped like one of Nathan’s Famous neon signs.

Nathan's Coney Island

Nathan's Graphics for T-Shirts © Maya Haddad/Nathan's Coney Island Gift Shop. All Rights Reserved

“The cool thing is we made it all private label,” says Maya, a graduate of Baruch College with a degree in business who left her job as a buyer at Macy’s to help grow her family’s business. Haim Haddad has owned his own store in Coney Island since 1996, operating Mermaid Horizons at Mermaid and Stillwell Avenues until the construction of Stillwell Terminal disrupted foot traffic and put him out of business. In 2002, he opened Coney Island Beach Shop on Stillwell Avenue behind Nathan’s. Last year, the Haddads opened the second Coney Island Beach Shop inside Stillwell Terminal. A large Boardwalk store called Brooklyn Beach Shop is slated to open this season next to Scream Zone’s entrance.

The opportunity to open Nathan’s Coney Island Gift Shop presented itself when the restaurant got the new location on the Boardwalk. “We had a great relationship with them for a decade and they always wanted to offer Nathan’s merchandise,” explains Maya. “We were going to do a licensing agreement with them anyway.”

Nathan’s already has an online store selling apparel and merchandise like tote bags and golf balls printed with the Nathan’s Famous logo. Some of these items will be available in the brick-and-mortar shop. At the same time, the items offered for sale in the Boardwalk store will be sold online.

“We met with the president of Nathan’s and the marketing manager to utilize resources like old photos they’ve collected over the years,” says Maya. “One of them is being used on a T-shirt. The others are for postcards and magnets.” The souvenir items, which are currently being manufactured in the U.S., will take longer to arrive in the shop.

The gift shop interior is painted “American Cheese” yellow, a color that’s two shades lighter than Nathan’s iconic yellow, says Maya. “We’re putting up a flat screen TV that’s going to have images of Nathan’s and Coney Island.” She’s also looking forward to displaying a prized souvenir T-shirt that was autographed by the championship eaters in last year’s hot dog eating contest. Says Maya, “I can’t wait till the Fourth of July!” After the grand opening, Nathan’s Famous Coney Island Gift Shop will be open daily.

nathans

Nathan's rendering for their new store on the Boardwalk shows the Gift Shop on the left. The location is the former Gyro Corner Clam Bar at W 12th St. Photo via AmusingtheZillion.com

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Oldest Building

HBO's 'Bored to Death'Moved the Susquehanna Hat Co. on Bagel Street into Coney Island's Oldest Building for Film Shoot. June 6, 2011. Photo © Charles Denson/ConeyIsland History Project

If you’ve ever seen Abbott & Costello’s Bagel Street routine about the Susquehanna Hat Company, you’ll do a double take when you pass by Surf Avenue and Jones Walk in Coney Island. The Jones Walk sign now says Bagel Street and The Susquehanna Hat Company–“Coney Island’s Greatest Hat Supplier”–occupies Coney Island’s oldest building, Thor Equities’ long-vacant Grashorn Building. The signage on the shop makes it look like it’s been there forever. But it’s a set for the HBO series “Bored to Death,” which is filming in Coney Island this week.

If the T-shirts and souvenirs in the window and inside the store look familiar, that’s because the props manager bought everything locally at Coney Island Beach Shop located behind Nathan’s. If you see anything you like at the Susquehanna Hat Company, you can buy it at the Beach Shop, which still has plenty of merchandise in their store as well as online.

The last time ATZ wrote about Coney Island’s oldest building, it had been rescued by Will Smith and “Men in Black 3,” who were filming in Coney Island in May. The MIB3 production crew fixed up the gutted interior of the building located at Surf and Jones Walk to use as their location headquarters. Now the spiffed up building and its interior are actually part of the story.

“Bored to Death” is an HBO comedy series featuring a Brooklyn writer who moonlights as a private detective. In this episode he is sent to investigate something funny that’s going on at the Susquehanna Hat Company. More than that we cannot say! Though it will be interesting to see how the script plays off the Abbott & Costello skit from “In Society” (1944). Will it solve the mystery of why everybody they meet flies into a rage upon hearing the name of the Susquehanna Hat Company?

Thanks very much to Charles Denson of the Coney Island History Project, who has been photographing the Grashorn building for decades, and we hope many more decades, for sending us these on location photos.

Susquehanna Hat Co. on Bagel Street Has Moved into the Grashorn Building, Coney Island's Oldest for Film Shoot. June 6, 2011. Photo © Charles Denson/ConeyIsland History Project

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Newly Opened Gift Shop in Coney Islands Stillwell Terminal. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Newly Opened Gift Shop in Coney Island's Stillwell Terminal. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Just in time for the expected Mermaid Parade, Friday Night Fireworks and Coney Island Boom A Ring crowds, a gift shop and a newsstand have opened in the Stillwell Terminal. The new shops join Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins and Bank of America in the reconstructed subway station, which opened in 2005. The gift shop proprietors also operate a souvenir stand on Stillwell Avenue and have a storeroom full of stock for the upcoming weekend.

Newly opened Newsstand at Stillwell Terminal in Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Newly opened Newsstand at Stillwell Terminal in Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Yet to open in the station are a Subway sandwich shop, the Lola Staar Boutique, and a branch of the Coney Island Beach Shop, whose main store is behind Nathan’s. The Coney Island Rumor Mill is sayin’ construction delays are due to leakage in the terminal when it rains as well as the fact that some tenants had to revise their architectural plans or change architects to comply with the MTA’s stringent review process.

Still Under Construction at Stillwell Terminal: The Subway in the subway station. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Still Under Construction at Stillwell Terminal: The Subway in the subway station. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The Brooklyn Paper reported last week that “MTA bureaucrats had trapped the Lola Staar boutique in their own black hole” for six months. An MTA spokesman told the paper that the department overseeing the plans was backlogged. On the day the article was published, the transit authority finally reviewed the architect’s plans and asked for changes. Stay tuned!

Lola Staar owner Dianna Carlin had hoped to open in the Stillwell Terminal this summer after being evicted from her Boardwalk store by Thor Equities. Instead Carlin has set up her boutique in the Dreamland Roller Rink on the Boardwalk at 21st Street. This weekend a selection of “vintage, rare Lola Staar tees from the glittering Boardwalk vaults” will be on sale for only $10. The Lola Staar Shop is open to the public on Fridays from 7-11 pm, Saturdays from 1 pm to 12 am, and Sundays from 1-7 pm.

Visit the Coney Island Fun Guide for links to Coney Island’s shops and restaurants, including some that are open year round.

Lola Staar Ts at new boutique in the Dreamland Roller Rink. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Lola Staar T's at new boutique in the Dreamland Roller Rink. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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