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Subway Sun

Vintage subway ad for One The Only Coney Island! Photo © Bruce Handy. All Rights Reserved

“FABULOUS! FAMOUS! THRILLING!…THE ONE THE ONLY Coney Island!” This vintage Subway Sun ad featuring a couple of happy Parachute Jump riders advised subway riders to take the BMT or IND “D” to Coney Island. The poster has made a comeback in one of the vintage buses that the MTA is running for the holidays. Coney Island photographer Bruce Handy spotted it and other retro ads in 1950s-and 1960s-era buses running the M42 crosstown route through today, December 23rd.

The Subway Sun series was the work of cartoonist Amelia Opdyke Jones aka “Oppy” and dates from the 1940s through the 1960s. Check out Bruce’s flickr slide show to see the vintage buses and ads for NATO, Clark Bars (“You’ll like it a whale of a lot!”), Maidenform Bras, Rockaways’ Playland and “Special Fireworks Shows” in Coney Island on September 9 and 16th! The mid-September dates coincided with the Mardi Gras parades produced by the Coney Island Chamber of Commerce from 1903 through 1954.

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March 22, 2011: Rare & Vintage: Souvenir of Frank Bostock’s Coney Island

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

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

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Stillwell Terminal Store

Last Store for Rent in Stillwell Terminal. November 14, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Coney Island’s Stillwell Terminal, which was reconstructed from 2001 to 2005, is about to be fully leased. The last chance to rent the last vacant store in one of the world’s largest above-ground subway terminals is coming up on Friday. Proposals should be submitted to the MTA by 3pm on December 2nd. For a copy of the RFP, contact the MTA Real Estate Department.

The suggested use for the approximately 625 square foot space is retail or food. The suggested annual rent is $45,000 with a 3% – 5% annual increase over the term of the ten-year lease. That works out to be $72 per square foot, but the potential tenant may offer more or less. The tenant is responsible for building the entire interior, installing utilities and other improvements according to strict specifications set by the MTA.

Not permitted: “Video games and arcades are not allowed. Stores selling t-shirts, beach-related accessories or Asian-themed dry goods are not allowed. Any selling of ice cream, donuts, submarine sandwiches, or grocery-type items is not allowed. ATMs or typical newsstand- type items are not allowed. Store is required to be open year-round (not just in summer months).”

Arcade games are apparently banned by the MTA and the restricted items are already sold by current tenants.Stillwell Terminal shops are occupied by Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins, Subway, Bank of America and a newsstand. Lola Star Boutique, Coney Island Beach Shop and Coney Island Gift Shop have the T-shirt and beach gear market covered. Gourmet Food, which sells imported chocolate, cookies and nuts, as well grocery items, opened this month.

The RFP also contains an interesting statistic: The annual average weekday station customer count –paid entry at station only, not exiting– is 12,240. Summer passenger count increases significantly. For Saturdays in June, July and August in 2009, average paid entry was 22,411.

Gourmet Shop

Newly Opened Gourmet Food Shop, Stillwell Terminal. November 14, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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

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

March 17, 2010: Photo of the Day: The “E” is Relit in Coney Island Sign at Stillwell

June 17, 2009: Coney Island’s Stillwell Terminal: New, Stay Tuned & Still Under Construction

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Reliefs

Deborah Masters' Coney Island Reliefs on Ocean Parkway Viaduct. October 2, 2009. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

See Queen Mermaid, sideshow performers, sunbathers and Cyclone riders in cast concrete on the gateway to Coney Island! On Saturday, April 30th, MTA Arts for Transit is hosting an event from 2 to 5 pm to celebrate the completion of Deborah Masters’ Coney Island Reliefs at Ocean Parkway Viaduct. The station is on the Q line at Ocean Parkway and Brighton Beach Avenue. Masters was awarded the commission in 1992 and the piece was completed in 1994, but the viaduct needed repair before the concrete panels could be hung on its facade. The reliefs were in storage for 15 years!

Coney Island photographer Bruce Handy’s series of photos of the Ocean Parkway sculptures were taken when the installation began in 2009. “They look much nicer now with painted borders and the screw holes filled in,” says Bruce who plans to take a new series of photos this weekend.

UPDATE April 30…Here’s a link to Bruce Handy’s flickr slide show of the finished installation. Just beautiful!

Reliefs

Deborah Masters' Coney Island Reliefs on Ocean Parkway Viaduct. September 25, 2009. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

According to the MTA’s Arts for Transit page on the work…

Sculptor Deborah Masters created the Coney Island Reliefs in cast concrete. The 1260 sq. ft. of relief panels fit within existing recesses in the viaduct. Tinted a terracotta color to harmonize with the sandstone color of the Ocean Parkway viaduct, a massive structure that carries the subway across six lanes of traffic and an Olmstead parkway, the reliefs portray scenes from the history and legends of Coney Island, including Neptune, a mermaid, beach, boardwalk, and amusement park scenes. The designs are based upon photographs, drawings, and interviews by the artist with local residents and visitors to the famed amusement park.

Deborah Masters' Coney Island Reliefs on Ocean Parkway Viaduct. October 2, 2009. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

The original commission was for the inside of the subway station, but when the artist looked at the Viaduct surface, she noticed indentations she felt sure were intended for reliefs. She felt that the Olmsted Parkway, the widest old road to the beach, and the Art Deco Viaduct decorated with red, green, blue, yellow, and orange deco tiles from 1915 was intended by Frederick Law Olmsted, the founder of landscape architecture, to be the “Gateway to Coney Island”. She proposed adding 1650 sq. ft. of reliefs about Coney Island to the viaduct.

Reliefs

Deborah Masters' Coney Island Reliefs on Ocean Parkway Viaduct. October 2, 2009. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

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April 15, 2011: Photo Album: Whimsical Murals Blossom in Coney Island

October 26, 2010: Studio Visit: Philomena Marano of the Coney Island Hysterical Society

October 26, 2010: Studio Visit: Richard Eagan of the Coney Island Hysterical Society

December 2, 2009: Dec 12-13: Open Studio with Coney Island Artist & Banner Painter Marie Roberts

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Mermaid Parade 2009: Metrocard Chrysler Building Mermaid. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Mermaid Parade 2009: Metrocard Chrysler Building Mermaid. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

If you’re coming to Coney Island to see the Mermaid Parade, we recommend taking the subway ( F, Q to West 8th Street; D, F, N, Q to Stillwell Ave) as this Metrocard Chrysler Building Mermaid did last year. Or take your submarine….

Mermaid Parade 2009: Yellow Submarine Merman. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Mermaid Parade 2009: Yellow Submarine Merman. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

If you want to avoid traffic jams, leave your car at home! Although parking is available at MCU Park, New York Aquarium and private lots, Mermaid Day is one of Coney’s busiest days of the season. If you must come by car and want to avoid traffic jams, we recommend parking a few subway stops away and then hopping on the train. Bicycling is also the way to go!

Mermaid Parade 2009: Rabbi Abraham Abraham & Bob Stewart of the Coney Island Ice Breakers.  Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Mermaid Parade 2009: Rabbi Abraham Abraham & Bob Stewart of the Coney Island Ice Breakers. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

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Lighted Sign at Coney Island's Stillwell Terminal. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

The E Is Fixed: Lighted Sign at Coney Island's Stillwell Terminal. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

Yesterday we received a message that the “E” in CONEY had finally been fixed and was two-third’s lit! And the crooked “L” in ISLAND had been straightened out, too! Yay and hooray! We’re almost tempted to say the repair of the Stillwell Terminal’s signature sign after months of neglect presages the rebirth of Coney Island.

One thing for sure, somebody at the MTA must read blogs. Last week ATZ posted “Will MTA Ever Fix Burned out “E” in Coney Island Sign at Stillwell?” The light had been out for several months and complaints to the MTA that the darkened E ruined an iconic photo op at the showplace station went nowhere. Thanks to curbed for reblogging our plea that the light be fixed in time for the opening day of Coney’s comeback season.

This morning on the way to work photographer and Coney Island resident Bruce Handy took these historic first photos of the relit E. “The people waiting for the bus must have thought I was crazy taking photos at 5:30 in the morning. But you never know, later today the E could be fully lit. I wanted to capture the 2/3 look.” Actually he found “BIG E is 4/5 Lit.”

We’re looking forward to taking a picture perfect shot of the front of the station sometime soon. Burned out bulbs on building have yet to be replaced. Maybe tomorrow?

BIG E is 4/5 Lit. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

Iconic Photo Op: BIG E is 4/5 Lit. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

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March 12, 2010:Will MTA Ever Fix Burned out “E” in Coney Island Sign at Stillwell?

February 26, 2010: Photo of the Day: Snow Mermaid on Coney Island Beach

December 20, 2009: Coney Island Photo of the Day: First Snow on the Cyclone

June 2, 2009: Coney Island is Alive and Kicking in 2009 Photo of the Day: Dusk on the Boardwalk

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CONEY ISLAND is CON_Y ISLAND! Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

CONEY ISLAND is CON_Y ISLAND! March 11, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

How many MTA employees does it take to change a light bulb? How many months or years does it take them to get the job done? Or did alphabet lights get slashed from the MTA’s budget?

Last night we took this photo of the entrance to the MTA’s Stillwell Terminal, the largest above-ground subway station in the world and the gateway to Coney Island. It would be a postcard perfect shot except for the fact that the “E” in CONEY ISLAND is burned out and has been burned out since last summer. We con you not: the photo below of CON_Y ISLAND was taken in July 2009.

When we phoned the MTA’s customer service line in June, the rep dutifully took down the info. But he just didn’t get it: “You can still read it,” he said of the burned out “E.” Personally we think it ruins an iconic photo op. We called up a friend who has a job at the MTA and asked him to pass the word along to the correct department. He wouldn’t and couldn’t. Told us it was against protocol.

Dear MTA Chairman Jay Walder, please send a crew over to fix the “E” and replace the other burned out bulbs asap before Coney Island’s opening day! That will be March 28th, just 16 days away. And while they’re here, get them to straighten out the “L” in ISLAND, which looks like somebody gave it a whack. Millions of visitors will arrive and depart via Stillwell Station this year. We want the new Coney Island to put her best face forward. Burned out lights say who the hell cares.

UPDATE March 17, 2010:

Yesterday we received a message that the “E” in CONEY had finally been fixed and was two-third’s lit! And the crooked “L” in ISLAND had been straightened out, too! Yay and hooray! We’re almost tempted to say the repair of the Stillwell Terminal’s signature sign after months of neglect presages the rebirth of Coney Island. See “Photo of the Day: The “E” is Relit in Coney Island Sign at Stillwell”

Welcome to Con-y island! All Aboard! Coney Island, NY. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Welcome to Con-y island! All Aboard! Coney Island, NY. July 25, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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March 17, 2010: Photo of the Day: The “E” is Relit in Coney Island Sign at Stillwell

March 8, 2010: March 23: Rescuing Coney Island’s Shore Theater from 35 Years of Neglect

February 11, 2010:Photo of the Day: NYCEDC Signs Herald New Coney Island Amusement Park

January 26, 2010: Scoop: Zamperla’s $24M Coney Island Park to be Named Luna Park!

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Welcome to Con-y island! All Aboard! Coney Island, NY. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Welcome to Con-y island! All Aboard! Coney Island, NY. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The “E” in the CONEY ISLAND sign on Stillwell terminal has been burned out for months, ruining an iconic photo op for summer visitors. Unless of course the MTA’s official name of the place is now CON-Y ISLAND in honor of the con job of a rezoning plan that passed yesterday in the City Council?

I first noticed the burned out “E” on June 5 and contacted the MTA. “Please get someone to fix it asap, if they’re not already on it. Makes it hard to take a good photo.” The guy on the MTA’s customer service line dutifully took my complaint but didn’t get my point. “You can still read the sign,” he said.

I’m going to forward this pic to elected officials to see if they can give the notoriously slow state-run MTA a nudge. Probably not. That’s why Bloomberg would like to take over the MTA if re-elected. An interviewer doing a telephone survey of voters for the Bloomberg campaign threw out that piece of info when he called to get my opinion on possible campaign proposals.

Oh, and guys, when you get around to fixing the sign, the “L” in ISLAND needs maintenance too. Somebody knocked it out of kilter.

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