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Posts Tagged ‘Nathan’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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Bob Shoudt AKA Notorious BOB

Bob Shoudt AKA Notorious BOB at Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Qualifier, Coney Island. March 23, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

On Saturday in Coney Island, Nathan’s Famous celebrated the reopening of their Boardwalk eatery and Coney Island’s Opening Weekend with the first hot dog eating qualifying round of the season. The winners were Bob Shoudt AKA “Notorious B.O.B.,” who ate 36 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, and Larell Marie AKA The Real Deal, who ate 17. They will return to Coney to compete on July Fourth, when separate men’s and women’s hot dog eating contests are held in front of the original Nathan’s at Surf and Stillwell, which is being rebuilt after Sandy.

Compared to the hugely attended and tightly choreographed July 4th event televised on ESPN, the qualifier had a refreshingly impromptu air. A couple of “Bunettes,” the ladies who flip the cards indicating the number of franks consumed, had to be recruited from the audience, which consisted of a few hundred people. The event was the first-ever hot dog qualifier held in Coney Island, according to contest organizer and emcee extraordinaire George Shea.

Larell Marie AKA The Real Deal

Larell Marie AKA The Real Deal on her 3rd hot dog at Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Qualifier, Coney Island. March 23, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

It was the first qualifier we’ve attended in more than a dozen years. In 2001, we followed Ed “Cookie” Jarvis, Don “Moses” Lerman and “Krazy” Kevin Lipsitz on the hot dog eating circuit, starting with the season’s first qualifier at the Meadowlands, on assignment for a travel magazine. It turned out to be the year that Kobayashi stunned everyone by eating 50 hot dogs and buns on the Fourth of July, doubling the record of the previous year. The article was called “Bet on the Thin Guy.”

After winning yesterday’s qualifier, Shoudt tweeted: “Since 7/4/07 only one man besides myself has won the Nathan’s hotdog eating contest at Coney Island, just sayin’,” He’s referring to current champ and record holder Joey Chestnut, who ate 68 hot dogs and buns in last year’s contest.

If you’re interested in competing in a Nathan’s Famous qualifier, visit Major League Eating to register. Contests are being held in 12 cities, including Savannah, Miami, Las Vegas, St. Paul, Pittsburgh and Boston, before heading back to the New York metro area for qualifiers in Queens and the Meadowlands.

George Shea

George Shea at Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Qualifier, Coney Island. March 23, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

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Nathan's Coney Island

First Food Shipment to Nathan’s in Coney Island since Sandy. March 13, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Last week, ATZ spotted this huge semi parked on Coney Island’s West 12th Street adjacent to Nathan’s Boardwalk restaurant. It was the first food delivery to Nathan’s since Sandy struck nearly five months ago. On Monday, March 18th, you’ll finally be able to get a Nathan’s hot dog again in Coney Island when the Boardwalk location reopens. Everyone in Coney is busy, busy, busy getting ready for Opening Day – March 24th — which is now just 7 days away. The amount of activity far exceeds anything we’ve seen in past years because of the extra added work of recovering and rebuilding from Superstorm Sandy. Even though Palm Sunday, Coney’s traditional opening day, is early this year, the great majority of the rides, games and eateries are ready to open. More photos from the flickr set are here.

 Place to BEach

Zamperla’s New Place to BEach Bar & Grill, Coney Island. March 13, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Under construction since last summer, Place to BEach Bar & Grill — the capital “E” is not a typo– is about to make its debut. The revamped structure’s most distinctive feature is a mini-lighthouse with a weathervane that says “Every Wind Leads to PTB Bar.” Last week was the first time we saw the Boardwalk spot with its shutters open. Workers at the site told ATZ they expect to be able to open for counter service on March 24th.

Located on the former site of Steve’s Grill House and Beer Island, the new addition to Coney’s skyline is adjacent to Scream Zone’s Skycoaster and Go Karts. It is operated by CAI Foods, LLC, the relatively new food division of Zamperla’s Central Amusements International. French food service giant Sodexo, which Luna Park had partnered with since 2010, is now said to be out of the picture in Coney Island. That’s something to cheer about. Word on the street is that PTB’s menu will be Tex-Mex. Neighboring businesses on the Boardwalk including Tom’s Coney Island and Brooklyn Beach Shop are already open daily and the rest plan to open on the weekend of March 23rd.

Zenobio

Scream Zone’s Zenobio Goes for Test Spin. March 13, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Coney’s amusement area Mom & Pops affected by the storm are busy rebuilding too. Bowery eateries Plaza Mexico Dona Zita, Gyro Corner and Bernard’s and Williams Candy on Surf are remodeling. Jimmy Balloons, who operates the popular balloon dart game on the Bowery, is building a new booth on Jones Walk under the Wonder Wheel’s neon sign. The lease on his longtime location across the way was held by Manny Cohen of Coney Island Arcade, who was evicted after 22 years and is moving to Vegas with Target the Coney Island Cat.

Under Construction: Jimmy Balloons New Balloon Dart. March 13, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Other veteran businesses that will not return this season are the 50-year-old McCullough’s Kiddie Park, at Bowery and W 12th Street, which could not come to lease terms with Thor Equities. Cha Cha’s of Surf Avenue announced after Sandy that it was closing forever. Denny’s Ice Cream, which was sold to Coney Island USA, was badly damaged by the storm and will be replaced with a 1940s shooting gallery from Wonder Wheel Park. The New York Aquarium, Coney Island USA, and Nathan’s on Surf Avenue are still rebuilding and expect to reopen by Memorial Day Weekend. The new Steeplechase Plaza with the restored B & B Carousell is slated to open that weekend as well.

Wonder Wheel Car

Wonder Wheel Car Being Rolled Out of Storage. March 13, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The cars of the Wonder Wheel were rolled out of storage last week and put back up on the Wheel on Saturday afternoon. The annual ritual is considered the first sign of spring in Coney Island. The rides at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, Luna Park and Scream Zone, 12th Street Amusements (Update: they’re still working and expect to open on Easter) and the Eldorado Bumper Cars are being tested and inspected and will go for their first official spin of the year on March 24th. The Cyclone opens at 12 noon with the first 100 fans on line riding for free. Construction at Luna Park includes a new pinwheel gate on the Boardwalk and ticket booths and entrance at the Cyclone.

New Zoltar

New Zoltar Under Wraps at Wonder Wheel Park. March 13, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

At Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, the annual Blessing of the Rides ceremony starts at 11 am on the Boardwalk. This year, to celebrate Coney’s comeback from Sandy, rides on the landmark Wonder Wheel are free for everyone on Opening Day. The rebuilt Spook-A-Rama dark ride is expected to make its debut along with a ghost-themed shooting gallery and a brand-new Zoltar. The Coney Island History Project’s free exhibit center under the Wheel will be open, along with its neighbors “Coney Island Always,” a window showcasing a miniature animated amusement park, and “Miss Coney Island” the dancing doll.

Coney Island Beach

Post-Sandy Sand Dunes Bulldozed, Coney Island Beach. March 13, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The temporary sand dunes in Coney Island’s amusement area were bulldozed and we have a beach again. During Sandy recovery, the Army Corps of Engineers established a “temporary storage site,” or TSS, at West 15th Street after moving an estimated 32,000 cubic yards of sand, the equivalent of roughly 12 Olympic-size swimming pools, out of Coney Island neighborhoods. The sand was eventually sifted and moved back to the beach, which officially reopens for swimming on Saturday, May 25. Repairs to Steeplechase Pier and sections of the Boardwalk are also underway.

Boardwalk Repairs

Boardwalk Repairs, Coney Island March 13, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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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.

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Ruby Jacobs Walk

Ruby Jacobs Walk at Coney Island Boardwalk. December 5, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

On Wednesday in Coney Island, we saw waves of sand on the newly sculpted beach adjacent to Ruby Jacobs Walk. Waves of workers in Parks Department jumpsuits walked by after getting off the job around sunset. On the Boardwalk, a holiday banner at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park announced the news that rides on the Wonder Wheel will be free on Coney Island’s opening day — March 24, 2013. That’s only 107 days away!

Deno's Wonder Wheel

Holiday Banner at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, Coney Island Boardwalk. December 5, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

At the original Nathan’s Famous at Surf and Stillwell, a banner says “After 100 Years, No Hurricane Will Get Us Down!” and directs visitors to Nathan’s Bay Ridge location while they are rebuilding. A generator was chugging away on the Bowery side of the store. Nathan’s Boardwalk location, which was expanded last summer and is open seasonally, also had its electrical system knocked out by the storm.

Nathan's Coney Island

Coney Island Post-Sandy: The original Nathan’s at Surf and Stillwell is Closed Till Spring. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

On Mermaid Avenue, a few more Mom and Pop businesses including Chinese and Spanish restaurants have managed to open. We saw a cell phone shop and barber shop under renovation. At Our Lady of Solace Church parking lot, it was the first day of Chase’s new mobile branch. Along with ATM machines, there’s a tent staffed by community bankers. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm, and on Saturdays from 9am till 3pm. The location will be open until December 17 when a trailer will open at the branch, one of the bankers told ATZ. A few blocks away, a sign on the boarded up Chase branch said: “We apologize that this branch is temporarily closed. We are committed to helping our community after Hurricane Sandy. We will re-open as soon as possible.”

Chase Mobile Branch

Chase Mobile Branch, Our Lady of Solace Church Parking Lot. Mermaid Avenue, Coney Island. December 5, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

An aquamarine and pink notice was posted on the Place To Beach Bar, which is under construction on the Boardwalk adjacent to Scream Zone. The Department of Buildings notice says that it had been “Inspected – No Apparent Structural Hazard.” The bar’s mini- lighthouse appeared to have weathered the storm, too.

Inspected

Inspected – No Apparent Structural Hazard. Building on Coney Island Boardwalk. December 5, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

At the front office of the Brooklyn Cyclones at 1904 Surf Avenue, a sign warned “Do Not Enter STOP Testing in Progress. This Building is Closed to ALL During the Testing Process.” A few doors away, a crew was cleaning up Peggy O’Neill’s Bar.

Testing in Progress

This Building is Closed to ALL During the Testing Process. 1904 Surf Avenue, Coney Island. December 5, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Posted on telephone pole on Mermaid Avenue: A flyer for a December 1st presentation on post-Sandy mold clean-up at Our Lady of Solace Church. “How to identify it. How to treat it. How to protect yourself and family and remove mold safely. What mold remediation services are available.”

Nold Clean-Up

Flyer for Mold Clean-Up Presentation. Mermaid Avenue, Coney Island. December 5, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Tom’s Restaurant on the Boardwalk, which is open daily, invites visitors to donate a toy to the Aquarium’s toy drive and receive on ticket to the Bronx Zoo. The event was relocated from the Aquarium, which is closed till June due to storm damage.

Toy Drive

Tom’s on the Boardwalk, Coney Island. December 5, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

On the south side of Surf Avenue, Popeye’s and Island Grocery are open. Popeye’s is a true survivor. The restaurant’s owner had been in business year-round in Coney Island for 27 years when he lost his lease in the now-demolished Henderson Building at the corner of Surf and Stillwell in 2010. He rebuilt his business in the Popper Building last year. On the north side, the franchises in Stillwell Terminal–Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway, usually open 24 hours, remain closed. The Bank of America in the terminal has been cleaned and new walls and ATMs were installed but it’s not yet open. Workers were hauling debris out of the police station.

Surf Avenue

Open for Business: Popeye’s and Island Grocery, Surf Avenue. December 5, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Also on the north side of Surf, The Coney Island Bar and Grill, formerly Bratva Bar, is open from 5pm with live music on Saturday by FRWG–Fried Rice and The White Guys.

Coney Island Bar & Grill

Open for Business: Coney Island Bar & Grill, Surf Avenue at 12th Street. December 5, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

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Oh joy! Oh bliss, wait till you see this! We just happened to come across raw footage shot in 1960s and perhaps 1950s Coney Island from the collection of Anthology Film Archives. The first clip titled “Coney Island – Night – Silent work-print” has atmospheric scenes of a grand carousel, amusement games and Nathan’s packed with people. Based on the signage and prizes–games where you can win teddy bears and table lamps for a quarter–the era is the late 1950s or early ’60s. Frankfurters cost 20 cents and knishes and chow mein are 15 cents.

Do you remember the carousel in the clip? It’s not the B&B Carousell, which is returning to Coney Island next year. Historian Charles Denson tells ATZ it looks like a carousel on the Boardwalk at 16th Street that was operated by the McCullough family. It was called the Steeplechase Carousel. In the film, you can actually see “Steeplechase Carousel” lettered on the back of the ride attendant’s shirt. He’s one of the guys with a cigarette dangling from his lips as he straps kids on the horses. Before you say eeewww, remember this was back in the “good old days,” when it was normal for people, especially James Dean-esque ride boys, to chain-smoke. Other clues to the carousel’s identity are the mesmerizing animated figures on the band organ and a bell inscribed 1943.

In the Nathan’s scene, men in white paper hats flip a dozen hot dogs at once and neatly place each order on a silver pedestal cake stand. Condiments are served in a communal bowl! Besides hot dogs, Nathan’s had roast beef, barbecue, chow mein and “crispy pizza.” Are you ready for lunch yet?

The second Coney Island clip is described as unsplit 8mm, color, silent, Summer 1969, from the Bob Parent Collection. We were excited to find rare footage of what appears to be the Flying Saucer in action at Astroland’s Kiddie Park. It was among the first rides in the park, which was “Born at the Dawn of the Space Age.”

The AFA has a large uncatalogued collection of unedited amateur films from Parent, a famed photographer of jazz musicians who also made 8MM films and wrote a column for the movie magazine Take One. What other gems will be discovered in the collection?

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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

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