Advertisements
Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘hot dog’

Coney Island Colorado

Coney Island Colorado Diner, Bailey, CO. Photo © RoadsideArchitecture.com

The historic 1960’s hot-dog shaped Coney Island Boardwalk restaurant in Bailey, Colorado, is up for sale again. Somebody is going to be sorry they didn’t buy it in 2011. The asking price is triple what it was back then, making it perhaps the priciest hot dog ever. According to local news reports, owner Ron Aigner is retiring and has listed the property for $1,495,000.

The diner’s designer Marcus Shannon of Lakewood, Colorado, planned a chain of hot dog diners and filed a patent for the design in 1965. The eatery was originally located on West Colfax in Denver. Since 1970, the Coney Island Boardwalk has been on scenic US Highway 285, first in Aspen Park and then in Bailey, about 30 miles southwest of Denver. The bun is 35 feet long and the hot dog 42 feet. Made of concrete-and-steel, this fine example of novelty architecture weighs a hefty 18 tons.

The building has been hailed as “the best example of roadside architecture in the state” by Thomas J. Noel, a Professor of History and Director of Public History, Preservation & Colorado Studies at the University of Colorado. In reply to ATZ’s email when the hot dog diner first went up for sale, Noel (aka “Dr. Colorado”) wrote: “We Coloradans should rally to save one of our greatest culinary landmarks, a most delicious morsel of pop roadside art. Hot Dog! Don’t let the Coney Island die.”

The first photo in this post was taken by our friend RoadsideNut, a New Yorker who has extensively documented America’s roadside architecture on her website. Check out the Burgers and Hot Dogs page, where the Coney Island in Colorado appears along with Top Dog, Giant Burger and other architectural wonders.

Broker Jim Urban posted a video tour of the Coney Island Boardwalk diner property on YouTube:

Related posts on ATZ…

November 18, 2014: ATZ’s Guide to Coney Island’s Honorary Walks and Places

June 10, 2014: What’s New at Paul’s Daughter: Lobster Rolls, Mama Burger Fundraiser, LEDs

January 28, 2011: Colorado’s Hot Dog-Shaped Coney Island Boardwalk Diner For Sale

January 19, 2010: Nathan Slept Here! Coney Island’s Feltman’s Kitchen Set for Demolition

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Famous Nathan

Poster for Famous Nathan courtesy Film Movement. Photo of Nathan by Barton Silverman/ New York Times/Redux Pictures

Mazel tov! We’re happy to report that “Famous Nathan,” Lloyd Handwerker’s documentary about his grandfather, who founded Coney Island’s Nathan’s Famous nearly a century ago in 1916, is getting a theatrical run this summer. After premiering last year at the Tribeca Film Festival, the doc screened at film fests from Coney Island to Jerusalem. The film opens on July 17 for a one-week engagement at the Cinema Village in Manhattan, including some Q & A’s with the filmmaker, followed by a July 31-August 6 run at Laemmle Music Hall in Beverly Hills. New York-based indie distributor Film Movement will release the Handwerker doc in North America across multiple VOD and digital platforms on August 4th, with a DVD release on September 29th.

Pieced together over a 30-year period, the film was a labor of love for the filmmaker, who was 17 when his grandfather died. It is also a remarkably candid family memoir. As we wrote last year after seeing the film at Tribeca: Nathan Handwerker, the founder of Nathan’s Famous hot dog empire, is a mythic figure in Coney Island history. The story of the young Polish immigrant working at Feltman’s and saving his salary to open a competing restaurant where hot dogs sold for a nickel instead of a dime is the stuff of legend. His grandson Lloyd Handwerker’s documentary “Famous Nathan” humanizes him and at the same time makes us see that he truly was larger than life.

The documentary is told through home movies, archival photos and footage, the filmmaker’s interviews with a colorful cast of characters including family members and former Nathan’s workers, and the voice of Famous Nathan himself. A 16-minute oral history, condensed from nearly four hours taped by Lloyd’s cousin David Sternshein when their grandfather was 82 is central to the narrative. The cadence of Nathan’s voice and his story reverberate in the imagination even after the film is over: “I want to go to America. I was dreaming about it.”

Famous Nathan directed by Lloyd Handwerker, July 17-23 at Cinema Village, 22 East 12th St, New York, NY. Q & A’s with the filmmaker will be held at the 7pm shows every night, plus the 9pm shows on July 17, 18 and 23, and at the 5pm show on Sunday, July 19.

Related posts on ATZ…

April 22, 2014: ATZ Review: ‘Famous Nathan,’ A Documentary by Lloyd Handwerker

April 8, 2014: Photo Album: Classic Chevrolets at Nathan’s Coney Island

March 6, 2014: Tribeca Film Fest to Premiere ‘Famous Nathan’ Doc by Grandson Lloyd Handwerker

March 24, 2013: “Notorious BOB” and Larell Marie Win Nathan’s Hot Dog Qualifier

Read Full Post »

Nathan and Ida Handwerker

Nathan Handwerker and Ida Handwerker at the 50th anniversary of Nathan’s, 1966. Photo By Daniel Farrell. Courtesy of Loquat Films

Nathan Handwerker, the founder of Nathan’s Famous hot dog empire, is a mythic figure in Coney Island history. The story of the young Polish immigrant working at Feltman’s and saving his salary to open a competing restaurant where hot dogs sold for a nickel instead of a dime is the stuff of legend. His grandson Lloyd Handwerker’s documentary Famous Nathan humanizes him and at the same time makes us see that he truly was larger than life. The film premiered on Thursday at the Tribeca Film Festival and will be screened again on April 25 and 26.

The opening scene is a sweet first memory in a remarkably candid family memoir: Lloyd and his sister are children being fed loquats plucked from a tree by their grandfather. The documentary is told through home movies, archival photos and footage, the filmmaker’s interviews with a colorful cast of characters including family members and former Nathan’s workers, and the voice of Famous Nathan himself. A 16-minute oral history, condensed from nearly four hours taped by Lloyd’s cousin David Sternshein when their grandfather was 82 is central to the narrative. The cadence of Nathan’s voice and his story reverberate in the imagination even after the film is over: “I want to go to America. I was dreaming about it.”

Nathan says he could neither read nor write, but that he had common sense. His ingenuity is evident every step of the way, from sleeping with his money in his shoes during the voyage, to calling out customers’ orders one at a time at his first restaurant job since he didn’t know a word of English, to keeping the frankfurters from spoiling by storing them in a barrel between layers of ice. He courted his wife-to-be Ida when she opened a little stand next door to his own. Remember those vintage photos of Nathan’s in which the cars are double and triple parked out front? Well, no one ever got a ticket because the cops on the beat were paid $2 a day and all they could eat.

The other side of this successful immigrant’s story is that Nathan was a workaholic, who was by all accounts highly critical of the store’s managers including his sons Murray and Sol. “If he didn’t say anything, he wasn’t criticizing you,” says one of the former managers, who clearly idolized him nonetheless. When it came time to retire, Ida felt as if she were being punished instead of seeing it as a reward, says Lloyd’s uncle Murray. Nathan asked if he could sweep the street, and turned up at the store in Oceanside in a Cadillac and swept the parking lot, much to the surprise of workers who asked who he was.

At one point in the film, Lloyd asks his father Sol, who is now 88 and the only surviving child of Nathan, if he ever wanted him to go into the family business. Sol says he wanted him to have “a better life, a more interesting life.” Lloyd’s chosen career was cinematography and for the past 30 years he has been piecing together his family’s history.

“My grandfather died when I was 17. I knew him quite well,” the 57-year-old Brooklyn film-maker said in a previous interview with ATZ. His quest appears to have been propelled by the fact that Sol left the family business when Lloyd was 7. Growing up he’d only been to Coney Island a few times and he never worked at Nathan’s. “Why am I here? I guess I’m trying to recreate something of my grandfather,” he says into the camera, as a young man of 30, though he looks much younger, sitting in Nathan’s chair in his office. He has succeeded brilliantly.

Share

Related posts on ATZ…

July 14, 2015: ‘Famous Nathan’ Documentary Gets Theatrical Run, VOD and DVD Release

April 8, 2014: Photo Album: Classic Chevrolets at Nathan’s Coney Island

March 6, 2014: Tribeca Film Fest to Premiere ‘Famous Nathan’ Doc by Grandson Lloyd Handwerker

January 19, 2010: Nathan Slept Here! Coney Island’s Feltman’s Kitchen Set for Demolition

Read Full Post »

Nathan's Surf Avenue

Post-Sandy Reconstruction: Nathan’s Famous on Surf Avenue. March 2, 2013. Photo © Jim McDonnell

The first Nathan’s hot dogs and french fries to be served in Coney Island since Sandy struck more than four months ago are on the horizon. In two weeks, the famous franks will be back on the Boardwalk! Nathan’s Boardwalk location, which expanded last season and suffered less damage from Sandy than the Surf Avenue store, is set to open in mid-March. One source tells ATZ the Nathan’s Boardwalk store will open on March 16, a Saturday, while another says March 18. Either way, we’ll let you know ASAP. UPDATE 1:35pm: ATZ confirmed with Nathan’s Corporate Office that the official opening date of their Boardwalk restaurant will be Monday, March 18th.

Over the weekend, the gut rehab at Nathan’s Famous original location on Surf Avenue continued with workers ripping out the counter and steel shutters, as seen in the above photo by Jim McDonnell. The interior as well as electrical and plumbing were ruined by the flood water and sewage that surged into the store during Superstorm Sandy. Sources tell ATZ the target date for completing the work and reopening Nathan’s main store at Surf and Stillwell Avenues is Memorial Day Weekend.

Ahead of March 24’s Opening Day for Coney Island’s amusement rides, some of Nathan’s neighbors on the Boardwalk such as Brooklyn Beach Shop, Nathan’s Gift Shop, and Ruby’s Bar and Grill have already been open “by chance” and expect to open on the weekend of March 16th. Lola Star Boutique and Paul’s Daughter are set to open on Palm Sunday Weekend. Tom’s Restaurant, which has been serving breakfast and lunch all winter, was exceptionally crowded over the weekend. Coney Island photographer Bruce Handy, who eats there every Sunday said, “Today we got the last table and they were holding people at the door.” Spring is in the wings and the crowds are coming back to Coney!

UPDATE March 7, 2013:

Nathan’s and Major League Eating announced they will hold the first qualifier for the 2013 Nathan’s 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest on Saturday, March 23, at 1 pm, at the Boardwalk restaurant as part of opening-weekend celebrations for Coney Island.

Share

Related posts on ATZ…

March 7, 2013: March Events: Coney Island USA Gala, Dreamland Bell, Tom Thumb, Opening Day

February 27, 2013: Coney Island’s 24-Hour Dunkin Donuts to Reopen in March

February 13, 2013: Thor’s Coney Island: Candy Retailer It’Sugar to Open Surf Ave Store

December 19, 2012: Will Coney Island’s Surf Ave Become a Mecca for Franchises?

Read Full Post »

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

Share

Related posts on ATZ…

March 11, 2012: Photo Album: Under Construction in Coney Island 2012

December 4, 2011: Brass Ring Dept: Coney Island “Carousell” RFP Up for Grabs

November 15, 2011: Coney Island 2012: What’s New on the Boardwalk

October 17, 2011: Popeyes Chicken Returning to Coney Island’s Surf Avenue

Read Full Post »

Coney Island Colorado

Coney Island Colorado Diner, Bailey, CO. Photo © RoadsideArchitecture.com

November 8, 2015: The Coney Island Boardwalk Hot Dog restaurant in Bailey, Colorado, is up for sale again! The asking price is triple what it was in 2011. Scroll down for update…

Hey, wanna buy the Coney Island Boardwalk? The historic hot-dog shaped “Coney Island Boardwalk” diner, in Bailey, Colorado, is being offered for sale by its owner. It’s all yours, including stucco bun and mustard and relish toppings, for just $499K. According to the listing, the bun is 35 feet long and the hot dog 42 feet. Made of concrete-and-steel, this fine example of novelty architecture weighs a hefty 18 tons. But the buyer will have to move the 1960’s eatery from its current location on the South Platte River about 30 miles southwest of Denver.

Inside the Hot Dog

Inside the Hot Dog. Photo © themickeyd/RonMcdonald via flickr

“Truly my dream was to have a beautiful location,” said Ron Aigner, the diner’s owner, in a phone interview with ATZ. “Now I can’t even walk the dog.” Left disabled with a broken back after an altercation with local authorities, Aigner closed the diner and advertised it for sale. Aigner told ATZ he wouldn’t mind if somebody bought the diner and moved it from Colorado to the original Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York! Now that would be an unusual move: New York City has been losing its historic diners since the Moondance was sold to new owners in Wyoming and the Cheyenne went to Alabama.

Once Coloradans find out about the listing, we think they’ll rally to save their Coney Island, which was built in Denver in 1966. Its designer Marcus Shannon of Lakewood, Colorado, planned a chain of hot dog diners and filed a patent for the design in 1965. The eatery was originally located on West Colfax in Denver. Since 1970, the Coney Island Boardwalk has been on scenic US Highway 285, first in Aspen Park and then in Bailey.

The building has been hailed as “the best example of roadside architecture in the state” by Thomas J. Noel, a Professor of History and Director of Public History, Preservation & Colorado Studies at the University of Colorado. In reply to ATZ’s email, Noel (aka “Dr. Colorado”) wrote: “We Coloradans should rally to save one of our greatest culinary landmarks, a most delicious morsel of pop roadside art. Hot Dog! Don’t let the Coney Island die.”

Under the Dog

Under the Dog. Photo © themickeyd/RonMcdonald via flickr

The delightful interior of the hot dog, which was lovingly restored, includes two booths and a diminutive counter with a few stools. “I moved it and renovated it. It does a huge business,” says Aigner, who offered to provide sales figures to prospective buyers. “I put out about 20 to 30 tables for people to sit by the river.” Indeed, restaurant reviewers mention an hour-long wait for a wiener during the busy summer season, though they say it was worth it for the Chicago-style dog. But Aigner says the location was not suited for year-round business: “We’re on the road to Breckinridge. It’s the second busiest highway, but not the ski traffic highway.”

The first photo in this post was taken by our friend RoadsideNut, a New Yorker who has extensively documented America’s roadside architecture on her website. Check out the Burgers and Hot Dogs page, where the Coney Island in Colorado appears along with Top Dog, Giant Burger and other architectural wonders.

UPDATE November 8, 2015:

The Coney Island Boardwalk Hot Dog restaurant in Bailey, Colorado, is up for sale again! According to a local news report, owner Ron Aigner is retiring and has listed the property for $1,495,000. Broker Jim Urban has posted a video tour on YouTube:

UPDATE August 14, 2011:

ATZ is happy to report that the diner reopened for the summer. The person whom we spoke with on the phone was unable to confirm fall/winter hours. Call in advance. A Yelper reports that the elk dogs are terrific. The diner’s address is 10 Old Stagecoach Rd, Bailey, CO 80421. Phone (303) 838-4210.

Before Renovation: The Coney Island Hotdog Stand, seen here in Aspen Park, CO, before it was sold and moved to Bailey, CO in March 2006. August 16, 2005. Photo © mrivorey/Chris Moody via flickr

Share

Related posts on ATZ…

December 4, 2010: Artifact of the Day: Vintage Coffee Cup from Childs Restaurant

November 21, 2010: Goodbye (Or Maybe Not?) to My Coney Island Equivalent of Proust’s Madeleine

October 17, 2010: Coney Island to Get Flying Coaster from Denver’s Elitch Gardens

January 19, 2010: Nathan Slept Here! Coney Island’s Feltman’s Kitchen Set for Demolition

Read Full Post »

Feltman's Kitchen on Astroland - Scheduled for Demolition. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

Feltman's Kitchen on Astroland - Scheduled for Demolition. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

The old Feltman’s kitchen building on the Astroland site is among the structures set to be demolished to make way for new amusements on the City-owned parcel. This humble building is the last remnant of the fabulous block-long restaurant and entertainment empire owned by Charles Feltman, the inventor of the hot dog.

According to Ric Burns’s movie about Coney Island, Nathan Handwerker worked in Feltman’s kitchen and slept on the floor for a year before he went on to found Nathan’s Famous! Since Feltman’s consisted of nine restaurants, a beer garden, a maple garden and much more, we can’t be sure where Handwerker bedded down. But we think the phrases “Nathan Slept Here!” and “The hot dog was invented here!” have tourism potential. Shouldn’t the City be renovating Feltman’s Kitchen as a little museum and hot dog stand instead of tearing it down?

Asbestos abatement has already started according to“Capt Nemo,” who posted photos of the work site on the Coney Island Message Board. A notice lists the owner of the historic property referred to now as “Parcel A” as “NYCEDC, New York City Economic Development Corporation- Coney Island Amusements.” The Amphitheater building (site of Astroland’s Diving Bell), Westside building (Feltman’s kitchen), an electrical shed and a trailer are on the list of locations to be abated.

Tile floor in historic Feltman's kitchen on Astroland property, Jan 31, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Tile floor in historic Feltman's kitchen on Astroland property, Jan 31, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The photos reminded us that last January we took pix of the tiles in the old Feltman’s kitchen for our friend “Coney Islander.” It was the last day of Astroland before the property was to be turned over to Thor Equities. “Coney Islander” wanted a tile as a keepsake, but we couldn’t find a loose one. Our friend said the tiles were not only Coney Island history, but American history too: “The first hot dog might have fallen on that floor!” Of course “the first hot dog” was invented by Charles Feltman in 1867 when he was pushing a pie wagon. But the building is all that remains of Feltman’s in Coney Island. The floor definitely has character. It has a story to tell. We just had to figure out what it was. Sometimes if the full story isn’t known, an apocryphal one fills the vacuum. The floor looks so old it’s easy to imagine the original hot dog falling on it.

One year later, we have the full story. It’s titled “Nathan Slept Here!” In 1915, Nathan Handwerker, a Jewish immigrant from Poland, went to work for Feltman, who was by then the proprietor of a palatial sit-down restaurant at Surf Ave and 10th Street. Handwerker’s job was slicing hot dog rolls and delivering the franks to the guys who toiled at the grilling stations. The young man lived on free hot dogs and slept on the kitchen floor to save his $11 per week salary. At the end of the year, he’d saved $300 and opened a competing stand–5 cents a hot dog instead of 10 cents. That was the beginning of Nathan’s Famous and the downfall of Feltman’s, which went out of business in 1952. The property was sold to the Albert family and became the space-age Astroland Park in the early 1960s. For nearly 50 years, Feltman’s kitchen has survived as a workshop for Astroland’s rides.

Mural on west wall of Feltman's Kitchen Seen from Jones Walk. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Mural on west wall of Feltman's Kitchen Seen from Jones Walk. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Share

Related posts on ATZ…

January 21, 2010: Demolition Alert: Dreamland Artist Club Mural on Feltman’s Bldg

January 11, 2010: Steeplechase Pool, Zip Coaster Sites to Be De-Mapped for Housing

December 18, 2009: Ciao Coney Island! Will Ruby’s, Shoot the Freak, Astrotower & Other Oldies Survive?

October 9, 2009: A Rare Peek Inside Endangered Old Bank of Coney Island

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: