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Posts Tagged ‘Grimaldi’s’

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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Dreamland Bell at Grimaldi's

1885 Bell from Iron Pier at Dreamland Park on Display at Grimaldi’s Coney Island. Mary 12, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Grimaldi’s in Coney Island, which renovated and reopened on April 30 after being flooded by Superstorm Sandy, is now offering a slice of Coney Island history along with their pizza pies. The “Dreamland Bell” that survived the Dreamland Fire of 1911 was put on display yesterday at the pizza restaurant, where it is a powerful symbol of Coney’s comeback from Sandy. The Bell can be seen through the open storefront by pedestrians walking on the north side of Surf Avenue. It is expected to be on display at the popular pizza restaurant for two to three weeks the summer, store owner Joe Silvestri told ATZ. (Fall Update: The Bell is there through September 27, 2013 and will return in April 2014.)

The 1885 bronze bell cast by James Gregory once welcomed steamship passengers arriving at the New Iron Pier to visit Coney Island’s Dreamland Park, which was on the site of the New York Aquarium. After a 20 year quest, Coney Island diver Gene Ritter found the Bell twenty-five feet underwater, about one hundred yards offshore. On September 3, 2009, nearly a century after the fire that destroyed Dreamland and the Pier, the bell was raised from the ocean floor and a day later was put on exhibit at the Coney Island History Project.

Vintage Ad: Iron Steamboat Co. The Only All Water Route to Coney Island.  Photo by Tricia Vita via Coney Island History Project flickr

Vintage Ad: Iron Steamboat Co. “The Only All Water Route” to Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita via Coney Island History Project flickr

“The reason we’re doing it now at Grimaldi’s is because of the devastation of Sandy,” Ritter told ATZ. “We’re trying to help them out.” The fact that the restaurant is decorated with poster-size photos of Coney Island’s historic Dreamland Park and Luna Park “makes it a natural,” Ritter added. Later this week, Charles Denson of the Coney Island History Project will install a plaque with the history of the Dreamland Bell and archival photos.

When the Dreamland Bell made its debut at the History Project on Labor Day Weekend in 2009, joy and optimism about the future of Coney Island was reflected in the faces of many friends and acquaintances who made a special trip to see the Bell and ring it. The discovery of the Bell symbolized and presaged the rebirth of Coney Island because it marked the return of something that was thought to have been irrevocably destroyed. No one expected the return of an artifact lost nearly one hundred years ago in a fire, and certainly not such an important artifact as the Dreamland Bell. It’s fitting that the Bell has been brought back to ring in Coney Island’s comeback from the destruction of Sandy.

Grimaldi’s, 1215 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11224

Gene Ritter Dreamand Bell

Gene Ritter with Russell of Grimaldi’s in front of photo of Dreamland Tower at Grimaldi’s Surf Avenue restaurant. May 12, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

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Grimaldi's Pizza

Grimaldi’s Pizza Take-Out Order, Coney Island. July 14, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Renovations are underway at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, which expects to re-open its Sandy-damaged restaurant on Coney Island’s Surf Avenue in two weeks. “May 1st is my birthday,” Grimaldi’s operator Joe Silvestri told ATZ. “We’ll be open for my birthday.” Their pizza was a favorite of workers in the amusement area. One of our very first takeout pies is pictured above.

The Coney Island outpost of the famed Brooklyn Bridge pizzeria had been open only four months old when Superstorm Sandy struck. The restaurant’s metal gate gave way to Sandy and the interior of the pizzeria was wrecked by the wind and flood waters. The cobwebs in Jim McDonnell’s photo were part of the Halloween decor and look genuinely eerie. We dined at Grimaldi’s just two days before Sandy and can’t wait to welcome them back.

UPDATE April 30, 2013

Grimaldi’s reopened today! The pizzeria is currently hiring a pizza chef, waiters, kitchen help and bartender. They’re expecting their beer and liquor license to come through. Updates soon!

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath in Coney Island

Surf Avenue, Coney Island: Interior of Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. October 30, 2012. Photo © Jim McDonnell

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Grimaldi's Coney Island

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, Coney Island. June 22, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Yesterday, ATZ peeked inside the new Grimaldi’s Pizzeria on Surf Avenue in Coney Island to see what we could see. Workers inside said the restaurant was opening today! Today is of course Mermaid Parade Day and Surf Avenue will be thronged with tens of thousands of mer-people as well as folks watching the parade. We predict a very busy first day in Coney Island for the famed Brooklyn pizzeria.

Under construction for three months, Grimaldi’s is on the less traveled north side of Surf Avenue directly across from the Eldorado Skooters. Its sign is highly visible from the subway as well as the amusement area and should help attract customers. This week, a 3-D Brooklyn Bridge that lights up was hoisted by crane onto the sign’s New York City skyline. Inside the cavernous space, vintage photos of old Coney Island and the City’s rendering of the new Coney Island line the walls. Tables and chairs are set up and ready to welcome customers. Buon appetito, mermaids and mermen!

Grimaldi’s, 1215 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11224

UPDATE April 1, 2013

In reply to numerous queries: No, Grimaldi’s Surf Avenue has not yet opened post-Sandy. It’s expected to re-open by May 1st
https://amusingthezillion.com/2013/04/17/sandy-damaged-grimaldis-pizzeria-in-coney-island-to-reopen-in-2-weeks/

UPDATE December 30, 2012:

Readers have been asking if Grimaldi’s is open year round. It would be open if it hadn’t been for Hurricane Sandy. The last time we dined there was on the eve of the hurricane! Unfortunately, Grimaldi’s is among the many local businesses that remain closed due to flood damage from Sandy and is expected to reopen in the spring. In the meantime you can visit the restaurant’s other locations, including DUMBO, Queens, Manhattan and Hoboken. This post about Grimaldi’s opening on Mermaid Day was #4 on “Amusing the Zillion’s Top 10 Coney Island News Stories of 2012.”

UPDATE June 30, 2012, 12 noon:

Grimaldi’s is open. Buon appetito!

UPDATE June 28, 2012:

After opening on Mermaid Parade Weekend, the new Surf Avenue Grimaldi’s got its first review from Devour NYC, who called it “a great tasting pizza and for $14 for a large pie, it may be the best deal in Coney Island.” The reviewer said there was an hour wait, so we decided to try it today–a Thursday. But Grimaldi’s was closed and our Coney friends were wondering if it was only open on weekends for now. ATZ phoned Joe, Grimaldi’s General Manager, who said they were closed temporarily due to a permitting issue with the City, and expected to reopen on Friday, June 29, or by July 1st. The pizzeria will be open daily from 11:30am or 12 noon. The Coney Island location does not have a phone yet, but we’ll post an update as soon as possible after it reopens.

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