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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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