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Games on W 12th St, Coney Island

Wonder Wheel and Games on West 12th St, Coney Island. August 6, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Next door to vitrines housing the famous dancing doll “Miss Coney Island” and the toy amusement park “Coney Island Always,” you’ll find Skin the Wire, Roll-A-Coaster and Feed the Clown. These independently owned and operated games are located on Coney Island’s West 12th Street under the Wonder Wheel. After Labor Day, the games are open weekends and school holidays in September and part of October, weather permitting. ATZ will be posting some of our favorite photos of the summer through September 21st.

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

March 24, 2013: Photo of the Day: Miss Coney Island Meets Miss Coney Island

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

July 21, 2012: Photo of the Day: 6 Balls, Score Under 14 Or Over 28

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Half & Half Cow

Half & Half at Ronnybrook Farm's COW-nival at Chelsea Market, Dec. 10, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Banneresque paintings of a two-headed cow and a weight-lifting cow grabbed our attention as we passed by Chelsea Market’s 10th Avenue entrance on Saturday. “COW-nival…Meet the Cows…Learn about Farming…Color the Giant Cow…Cow Pie Bingo and Cornhole.” The fun and games for kids are sponsored by Ronnybrook Farm Dairy, which sells the yummiest chocolate milk, and Edible Manhattan. At the free event, which continues through Sunday, we met and petted two darling calves–Miss Chelsea, a three-week-old Holstein, and Poppy, a two-and-a-half-month old Jersey. The calves were being minded by a young girl whose family founded Ronnybrook 70 years ago. The scene reminded us of a 4-H Club exhibit at a country fair, but we didn’t see anybody playing bingo.

Ronnybrook Calves

Poppy and Miss Chelsea at Ronnybrook's COW-nival at Chelsea Market, Dec. 10, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Then we learned what cow pie bingo actually is: One or more cows are let loose in a fenced-off area, which has been marked off with numbered squares. Onlookers place bets and the winner is determined by where the cow plops her “pie.” The girl minding Poppy explained that the Ronnybrook calves were too young to play Cow Pie Bingo since they poo only once or twice a day. Cows do it countless times a day, she said. Of course, this greatly increases the odds that the game will have a winner sooner rather than later. Cow Pie Bingo is a popular fundraiser across the country, though probably not coming anytime soon to New York City. Here’s how they play the game at the Carbon County Fair in Rawlins, Wyoming…

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March 9, 2011: Inexhaustible Cows & Bottomless Cups of Chocolate Milk

February 21, 2011: Target the Coney Island Arcade Cat & His Friend Pretty

October 25, 2009: Traveler: Bryant Park’s Beguiling Carousel Is Awhirl for the Holidays

September 3, 2009: Coney Island Baby: Cyclone, the Mini Donkey at the Ringling Circus

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Floss & Apples at San Gennaro. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Floss & Apples at San Gennaro. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Last Friday marked ATZ’s first weekend away from Coney Island and first weekend off since Memorial Day! After winding up the season at the People’s Playground on September 13, we soon began to miss the noise and the crowds. We headed over to the closest carnival—the 82nd Annual Feast of San Gennaro.

Strolling along Mulberry Street from Houston to Canal, we met quite a few Coney Islanders who’d brought their games, sideshows and food stands to Little Italy. In fact, the stand where we finally stopped for calamari because it looked the most appetizing turned out to be owned by the proprietors of Gyro Corner on Coney Island’s Boardwalk. Different menu in Little Italy, thanks to Mama’s sauce.

Carnival Rides on Grand Street. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Carnival Rides on Grand Street. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Hit the Hammer, Ring the Bell. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Monica from Dreamland. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Lucys Fabulous Marquee. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Lucy's Fabulous Marquee. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Lucy’s Palace is famous for their sausage sandwiches, but I was struck by the fabulous hand-painted marquee on their vintage trailer. A lot on Mulberry was filled with game concessionaires from Surf Ave and Dreamland and a trio of single-o’s direct from Coney Island. Kima “The Elephant Woman” made her sideshow debut this summer in Coney at John Strong’s Strangest Show on Earth. A ten-in-one sideshow with some former Coney freaks including Eak the Geek was there early in the week. You just never know who or what will turn up at this 10 day extravaganza in the narrow streets of Little Italy. This is the place where Coney Island’s world famous Shoot the Freak got its start!

Direct from Coney Island! Stephen was the talker at the Elephant Woman's single-o.  Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Direct from Coney Island! Stephen was the talker at one of the single-o's. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Toy Store Amusements Festival Wheel at San Gennaro. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Toy Store Amusements Festival Wheel at San Gennaro. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Toy Store Amusements’ Festival Wheel and three kiddie rides nudged up against the apartment buildings on Grand Street. In the increasingly gentrified streets of New York City, amusement rides at street fairs are becoming a rare sight. As far as carnival games, water race fun and one ball in wins were it.. The iPod Touch was the most hyped prize. The complete Photo Album: Coney Islanders and Carnies at San Gennaro can be viewed on flickr.

Lights at Figli di San Gennaro. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Lights at Figli di San Gennaro. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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When I was the littlest carny kid, my job was picking up darts and replacing busted balloons in Mom’s dart game. My parents paid me 25 cents a night and all the pennies. Pretty soon I was working with my Dad in his Spot Game. Is it any wonder that in Coney Island my camera and I gravitate to the carnival games? Here are some of my midway faves from this season…

Target the Coney Island Cat in Jimmys Balloon Dart on the Bowery. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Target the Coney Island Cat in Jimmy's Balloon Dart on the Bowery. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Target the Cat’s human is Manny Cohen, owner of the Coney Island Arcade. The (now) world famous Coney Island cat’s territory is the Bowery between 12th Street and Jones Walk, especially Jimmy’s Balloon Dart. Last month I wrote about Target and his shy sister Targeretty here.

Boy wins his first prize of the season at Water Race Game on Jones Walk, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Boy wins his first prize of the season at Water Race Game on Jones Walk, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Coney Islands Jimmy Prince plays Skin the Wire on Jones Walk. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Coney Island's Jimmy Prince plays Skin the Wire on Jones Walk. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

After his first day as “Distinguished Historian” at the Coney Island History Project, Jimmy Prince tried his luck at Benny’s Skin the Wire game on Jones Walk. As one of Benny’s agents likes to say, “A very challenging game, like Operation.” Or as Benny likes to say “You’se can do it!” or “Win a Calipoli!” Only one person has ever asked “What’s a Calipoli?” Benny replied, “I have no idea.” You can win a big piece of plush, a Betty Boop doll, a digital camera, or anything else on display. Except Chuckles. The animatronic clown is NOT a prize. But go right ahead and take his photo.

Krazy Kans, Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Krazy Kans, Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Recession Buster: 100 Shots for $2.00 on Coney Island's Opening Day. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Recession Buster: 100 Shots for $2.00 on Coney Island's Opening Day. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Half of the photos in this album were taken on Palm Sunday, opening day of the 2009 season. Only 22 more days left to go!

The next shot was taken on the Fourth of July. My fave photos of Shoot the Freak never show the freak. I remember seeing Shoot the Freak before it ever arrived in Coney Island. The game was originally at the San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy. It wasn’t until the game was brought to Coney Island that it became world famous.

Shoot the Freak on Fourth of July, Coney Island Boardwalk. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Shoot the Freak on Fourth of July, Coney Island Boardwalk. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Spin-N-Win at Eldorado Arcade, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Spin-N-Win at Eldorado Arcade, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Trade Up in Dreamland. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Trade Up in Dreamland. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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Related posts on ATZ…

November 5, 2009: Museum Piece or Obsolete? Old Carnival Games, Stick Joints on eBay

November 3, 2009: Coney Island’s Shoot Out the Star Still Open… Players Wanted!

September 24, 2009: Photo Album: Coney Islanders and Carnies at San Gennaro

June 22, 2009: A Judge’s Photo Album of the 2009 Coney Island Mermaid Parade

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