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After the January 1st Coney Island Polar Bear Club Swim, the Bears and Cubs and everyone else who’d come to celebrate New Year’s Day on the Beach and Boardwalk gathered in and around Ruby’s Bar. Here are a few pix of Coney Island luminaries, friends, strangers and their pets enjoying the occasion and the warmish weather.

Donny Vomit, New Year's Day Swim

Donny Vomit, MC and performer extraordinaire with the Coney Island Circus Sideshow, strides purposefully down the Boardwalk accompanied by burlesque dancer Legs Malone. Donny posted a photo diary of his third annual New Year’s Day Swim on his always engaging blog: “The water was cold but the walk back was the painful part,” he writes. “Feet were too cold to jam into the shoes so my little piggies took a beating on the way back.”

Dianna Carlin & Raja Azar

Coney Island entrepreneur Dianna Carlin aka Lola Staar and Raja Azar of Jollyship the Whiz-Bang were wearing the most adorable matching hats. The top of the Parachute Jump appears to be part of Lola’s hat! Is that freaky or what? Dianna is looking forward to a lease from the City in February 2010 for the Boardwalk spot next to Ruby’s where the Lola Staar Boutique thrived until Thor Equities evicted her in 2008. Lola’s Dreamland Roller Rink in the Childs Building on the Boardwalk at 21st Street will open for its third season in the spring.

New Year's Day dogs in Coney Island

Bow-wow! New Year’s Day doggies all dolled up for a stroll apres the Polar Bear Swim. ATZ arrived too late to see Target the famously friendly Coney Island Arcade Cat take a little walk on the Boardwalk. Among the friends with whom we exchanged New Year’s greetings in front of Ruby’s were Target’s owner, Manny Cohen of Coney Island Arcade; Stan Fox, Coney Island Arcade and the Coney Island History Project; Mark Blumenthal and Ruth Magwood of the Cyclone Roller Coaster; Benny Harrison, Jones Walk game operator; Coney Island photographers and ATZ contributors Bruce Handy and Norman Blake; and photographer Lou Dembrow of the Lower Eastside Girls Club. Happy New Year Everyone! Happy New Year to Coney Island!

Outside Ruby's Bar on New Year's Day

Hanging out at Ruby’s Bar & Grill is both a summertime must and a New Year’s Day tradition. The joint was jumpin, inside and out, with a live band performing on the Boardwalk. Wish we hadn’t just missed the photo op with Ruby’s owner Mike Sarrel after he got back from a good luck dip in the ocean. Here’s to another great season at Coney Island’s oldest bar on the Boardwalk!

Dancing on the Boardwalk

Summer or winter, dancing on the Boardwalk is a Coney Island tradition, too. The contrast between this guy’s wacky costume and the gal’s everyday attire is what caught our eye.

Somebody's Grandma..wish she were mine

When we got to Ruby’s, the first person we noticed was somebody’s wonderful Grandma (wish she were ours) sitting at a table by herself watching their stuff. She was wearing a pair of glittery gold 2010 specs. Do you think she would mind if we adopted her as ATZ’s honorary Grandma of New Year’s Day?

Sneakers Parked at Shoot the Freak

Wet sneakers parked at Shoot the Freak apres swim while their owners party at Ruby’s. Congrats to all the Bears and cheers to all who contributed to Freezin’ for a Reason. More than $27,000 was raised by the Coney Island Polar Bears for Camp Sunshine. There’s still time to send in a check!

Coney Island Polar Bear John D'Aquino

John D’Aquino was part of the dive team that raised the century-old Dreamland Bell from the ocean this summer. John, who swam today with his girlfriend Jamie Segschneider, has been a member of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club for a decade. If you missed the New Year’s Day Plunge, there’s always next weekend. The oldest cold-water bathing club in the U.S. goes for a dip in the Atlantic at 1 pm every Sunday from November through April. See you on the Beach!

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Related posts on ATZ…

December 4, 2009: Photo of the Day: Let It Snow! in Coney Island

October 30, 2009: Nov 1: Coney Island Polar Bear Club’s First Swim of the Season!

June 22, 2009: A Judge’s Photo Album of the 2009 Coney Island Mermaid Parade

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

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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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The view from the reviewing stand. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The view from the reviewing stand. June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Thanks to the generosity of artist Deb Stern, who bought “Big Spender” memberships with Coney Island USA for several friends, we were once again entitled to a fun judgeship at the Mermaid Parade. From our front row seat in the tarp covered reviewing stand, we were able to take lots of photos and partake in the traditional bribing of the judges.

The first bribe of the Mermaid Parade? The Chief Justice pouring rum. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The first bribe of the Mermaid Parade? The Chief Justice pouring rum. June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The rum came compliments of Topsy the Merman and Turvy the Mermaid. Cheers, everybody! Other bribes offered to the judges were beer, vodka, more beer, chocolate cake, beer, lubricants, play money, glow in the dark octopus toy, more beer, more vodka, lemonade, the Book of Mermon, rum balls, and finally more beer. The most unusual bribe was probably the wooden boat with no engines and in need of structural repair. It was offered by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra who said show up with a tugboat and it’s yours. Are there any other interesting bribes we haven’t heard about?

King Neptune Harvey Keitel and Queen Mermaid Daphna Kastner arriving at the reviewing stand. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

King Neptune Harvey Keitel and Queen Mermaid Daphna Kastner arriving at the reviewing stand. June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Actor Harvey Keitel, who grew up in Brighton Beach and went to Lincoln High School, came home to Coney Island as King Neptune! His lovely wife, the actress Daphna Kastner, was Queen Mermaid. It is the custom for the Mermaid Parade’s King and Queen to take their seats on the reviewing stand after touring the parade route in an antique rolling chair from the Coney Island Museum. Once upon a time these wicker chairs were used to transport visitors on the Boardwalk.

The Mayor of Coney sez put picnic basket bribe right here! Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The Mayor of Coney Dick Zigun sez put picnic basket bribe right here! June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Bambi the Mermaid and her friend (pictured above) assisted with the receiving of the bribes. The picnic basket, reportedly one of the best bribes of the day, was from the Sexcamaids dancing troupe. When Dick opened the picnic basket, we beheld a beautifully designed menu. Then a Sexcamaid poured us cups of lemonade from an ice cold pitcher. Classy!

The Book of Mermon at the Mermaid Parade. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

"The Book of Mermon" at the Mermaid Parade. June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Good news from the Church of Lobster Day Shells courtesy of the Mermon marching group. My fellow judge was presented with the book. I was busy elsewhere taking photos when it happened, so I’m not sure if it was a bribe or proselytizing.

It was a Great Parade! A huge thank you to Everyone at CIUSA, and to King Neptune and Queen Mermaid, Emcees Kay Sera & Chris, Paraders, and to the Deity who made it stop raining soon after the parade reached the reviewing stand and for the duration of the parade! Here are some of my favorite pix from my 2009 Mermaid Parade set on flickr. I’m still processing and uploading the images. I took more than 100 photos! More to come…

Roller skating mermaid. June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Roller skating mermaid. June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Mother & daughter mermaids (# 67). June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Mother & daughter mermaids (# 67). June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Mrs. Chief Justice & Associate Chief Justice for Little Mermaids. June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Mrs. Chief Justice & Associate Chief Justice for Little Mermaids. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Pirate Boy. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Pirate Boy. June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Day of the Dead Mermaids. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Day of the Dead Mermaids. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

A Coney Island Mermaids Hug. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

A Coney Island Mermaid's Hug. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Related posts on ATZ…

June 16, 2011: Last Chance to See Mermaid Parade Before It Turns 30!

January 2, 2010: Photo Album: Coney Island Boardwalk, New Year’s Day 2010

July 6, 2009: Q & A with Zoltar: Coney Island Mermaid Parade’s Best Fortunetelling Float!

June 19, 2009: Q & A with Coney Island Mermaid Parade Three-Time “Best Mermaid” Kate Dale

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