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Posts Tagged ‘Shoot out the Star’

Mangels Shooting Gallery

Mangels Shooting Gallery from Wonder Wheel Park Being Restored by Coney Island USA on Surf Ave. May 12, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Welcome back William F. Mangels and hooray for ScareFactory! Two more shooting galleries are debuting in Coney Island this season as replacements for establishments damaged by flooding from Superstorm Sandy. On Sunday, the circa 1940s Mangels shooting gallery seen above, which hasn’t been used in decades and was hidden behind the Scarface Shooting Gallery under Deno’s Wonder Wheel, was being restored by Coney Island USA in view of passersby. On loan from Wonder Wheel Park’s Vourderis family, the gallery has been installed in the Surf Avenue storefront formerly occupied by Denny’s Ice Cream, which was also destroyed by Sandy. CIUSA’s Dick Zigun told ATZ that the refurbished shooting gallery is expected to open sometime in July.

Mangels Shooting Gallery

1970s Photo of Shooting Gallery Under the Wonder Wheel Made by W.F. Mangels Co., Coney Island. Photograph © 1975 by Charles Denson

The shooting gallery has cast-iron targets in the shape of soldiers, paratroopers and torpedo boats. It was manufactured in Coney Island by William F. Mangels, the inventor of such early 20th century thrill rides as the Whip and the Tickler, and the builder of the mechanism for the B & B Carousell. We haven’t seen one of these old-time galleries in operation anywhere for many seasons. What’s more, intact Mangels shooting galleries are exceptionally rare since most were long ago sold for scrap metal or broken up by antique dealers. Earlier this month a Mangels cast-iron gallery with over 150 targets from the Elli Buk Collection sold at auction for $60,000 after competitive bidding.

Meanwhile, at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, a haunted parlor-themed shooting gallery with animated targets made by ScareFactory has replaced the flood-damaged Scarface gallery and is already a hit with customers. Players have 45 seconds or 18 shots to shoot the light beam targets that when hit reveal ghosts and ghouls dropping from the ceiling or popping out of the furnishings in the fortuneteller’s parlor. It’s fun to watch as well as play. When we first tried it and hit one of the portraits on the wall, it swung out and an air cannon went off, evoking surprise and laughter from the crowd.

In 2010, ATZ wrote a requiem for the Henderson Building’s Shoot out the Star, which had operated for more than 20 years and was one of Coney’s few year-round amusement businesses. The same year, the famed paintball game Shoot the Freak was bulldozed on the Boardwalk. This season, new versions of the games by different operators are making a comeback on Coney Island’s Bowery. A talker will call you in to “Shoot the Clown,” instead of the Freak. The game is located near the corner of West 12th Street and replaces a Derby Racer destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. You can Shoot out the Star in a trailer across the way.

Shoot the Clown

Shoot the Clown on Coney Island’s Bowery. March 31, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

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Related posts on ATZ…

April 2, 2013: Shoot the Freak Reborn in Coney Island as Shoot the Clown

February 28, 2013: Coney Island Shooting Gallery from 1940s Makes Comeback

October 28, 2010: Photo Album: Requiem for Coney Island’s Shoot Out the Star

February 25, 2010: Happy Belated Birthday to Coney Island’s William F Mangels

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Out the Star

Out the Star. October 15, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Somebody swiped “The Star” from the Shoot Out the Star sign on Thor Equities-owned Henderson Building, exposing an earlier version of the signage. We’re glad they did. At least it won’t be destroyed with the rest of the building.

Following the fortunes of Shoot Out the Star on Coney Island’s Stillwell Avenue is one of our longtime obsessions. One year ago this week, the game was open for business. After cutting up jackpots with the operator and helping him call people in to play, ATZ posted “Coney Island’s Shoot Out the Star Still Open… Players Wanted!” Coney’s rides and the rest of the games were closed by Columbus Day as usual, but the shooting gallery was open almost every day. CB, who ran the game for Slim, kept it open year round. We’re told that Shoot Out the Star was in operation at the Henderson for about 20 years.

Shoot out the Star--Players Wanted! Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

One year ago: Shoot out the Star--Players Wanted! October 30, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

On the day of my visit, CB wasn’t looking any further ahead than the next couple of days. In fact, the operator was locked out a few weeks later by Thor and never opened again. When spring came, CB found a hole around the corner on the Bowery. Shoot Out the Star remained shuttered for the 2010 season though it was “liberated” on Memorial Day Weekend by a couple of guys. We snapped a few photos, careful not to capture their faces. As far as we know, these are the last images of Shoot Out the Star in operation. It was the shooting gallery’s last hurrah. Along with Faber’s Fascination, Shoot Out the Star was among a handful of year-round amusement destinations in Coney Island. Now both are gone.

Shoot Out the Star. May 29, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Last Hurrah: Shoot Out the Star. May 29, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

As ATZ reported previously, the City issued a demolition permit for the former Henderson Music Hall, which has undergone asbestos abatement and is now surrounded by demolition scaffolding. The Shoot Out the Star sign above the awning is still intact, awaiting its fate. In May, NY1 did an interview with Joe Sitt in which he claimed the buildings were “horrible rundown relics.” According to the reporter “Sitt said he’ll re-use the vintage signs in a more modern setting.” After seeing the Fascination sign on the Henderson cannibalized by a tenant and the Surf Hotel sign offered to a bystander, we’re skeptical about ever seeing this historic signage again.

The Star. May 29, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Last Hurrah: The Star. May 29, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Shoot out the Star’s iconic signage is the work of Dreamland Artist Club founder Steve Powers, who also painted the Cyclone roller coaster seats, the Coney Island Museum steps, and the Bump Your Ass Off sign for the Eldorado. In 2003, Powers teamed up with Creative Time, the non-profit public art agency, to bring artists to Coney Island to create new signage for the stands along Jones Walk and the Bowery. The first year’s funding was $80,000. When the murals and signage debuted in June 2004, Powers told the Times: “A large percentage of them will be up forever.”

Last month, when we realized the Henderson signage was endangered, we urged Powers and Creative Time to come out to Coney and rescue their work! Don’t the signs actually belong to Creative Time? Haven’t heard back. We hope “The Star” found a good home.

Lettering on Thor Equities banner Dwarfs Shoot out the Star.  Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Lettering on Thor Equities banner Dwarfs Shoot out the Star. January 1, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Related posts on ATZ…

September 29, 2010: Saved or Not? Signs from Coney Island’s Henderson Building

September 9, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Faber’s Fascination Goes Dark After 50 Years

November 3, 2009: Coney Island’s Shoot Out the Star Still Open… Players Wanted!

August 16, 2009: Coney Island Carnival Games: My Photo Album

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Saved? Surf Hotel's Vintage Signage. September 24, 2010.  Photo © Anonymouse-deux via Amusing the Zillion

Saved? Surf Hotel's Original Hand-Painted Glass Signage. September 24, 2010. Photo © Anonymouse-deux via Amusing the Zillion

In an interview with NY1 in May, Thor Equities CEO Joe Sitt talked about his redevelopment plans for Coney Island and the Surf Avenue buildings he plans to raze: “Every one of these buildings is just horrible, rundown relics with nothing exciting about them. I hate to say it, but the great buildings of Coney Island disappeared 80 years ago,” said Sitt.

What caught our eye in this four-month-old news story was not Sitt’s mischaracterization of the historic properties (please take a look at what the Henderson Building and Stillwell looked like before Sitt bought and blighted them), but what the real estate speculator had to say about the now endangered signs. According to NY1, “Sitt says he’ll re-use the vintage signs in a more modern setting.”

Faber's Fascination Sign Stripped of its Letters. Photo © Anonymouse-deux via Amusing the Zillion

The Morning After Faber's Fascination Sign Was Stripped of its Letters. Photo © Anonymouse-deux via Amusing the Zillion

Really? We hate to say it, but if Sitt is planning to re-use any signs, he’d better hurry up and save some. It’s already too late for Faber’s. As ATZ reported earlier this month, the light bulbs and letters of the fabulous 60-year-old Faber’s Fascination and Sportland signs were removed by the arcade’s most recent operator and offered for sale. The cannibalized metal signs remain on the facade because they couldn’t be removed before the tenant had to vacate the property. You can see the Faber’s Fascination sign lit up for the last time and the letters being removed in this video by historian Charles Denson.

Last Night at Faber's Fascination. Henderson Building, Coney Island. Sept. 6, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Last Night at Faber's Fascination. Henderson Building, Coney Island. Sept. 6, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

It’s too bad Joe Sitt didn’t recognize that Faber’s signage was a valuable piece of Americana worth saving and re-purposing. In a similar situation, another New York City real estate developer, the Durst Organization, did a much better job. Durst saved the Peep-O-Rama sign from the last peep show in Times Square when they demolished the building it occupied to make way for the Bank of America Tower. Vanishing New York recently featured the story of the neon sign’s restoration and return to Times Square, where the sign lights up the visitors center. Reading the story made us think of the Faber’s sign and wish it could have enjoyed a similar fate. As we noted in a comment on the VNY post: The reference to the Times reporter asking if a case could be made for preserving Peep-O-Rama or its facade for Times Square posterity, and not receiving a reply from Landmarks, the NYHS or the Mayor’s office is telling. There seems to be very little official appreciation for signage. Basically they leave it up to the building owners to do as they please.

Lettering from Faber's Fascination. Photo © Anonymouse-deux via Amusing the Zillion

Lettering from Faber's Fascination. Photo © Anonymouse-deux via Amusing the Zillion

In last week’s “Demolition in Progress! Coney Island’s Surf Hotel in Henderson Building,” ATZ wrote: “We’re told that the original Surf Hotel sign pictured above was removed, though its fate remains unknown. Was it saved, scavenged or thrown out with the windows?” Since then ATZ has received messages and comments that the “Sign is Saved!” as in saved from demolition.

On Friday morning a tipster wrote: “I am here at the building now. I saw the Surf Hotel sign inside a door on the east side of the building resting on the floor leaning against the wall. They are back working on the west side on a ladder cleaning up under the vacant windows. One of the workers was showing me how heavy the sign is and asked it I wanted to take it. The supervisor said we should call the owner about the sign.”

No one has been working in the Henderson Building this week. Is the sign still there or has it walked away? ATZ calls upon Joe Sitt to donate the Henderson signage to the Coney Island Museum or the Coney Island History Project, where these historic artifacts can be viewed by the public.

On the Henderson Building: The original frame that held the Surf Hotel sign. September 24, 2010.  Photo © Anonymouse-deux via Amusing the Zillion

On the Henderson Building: The original frame that held the Surf Hotel sign. September 24, 2010. Photo © Anonymouse-deux via Amusing the Zillion

On the Stillwell side of the Henderson Building: Shoot out the Star’s iconic signage is endangered. It’s the work of Dreamland Artist Club founder Steve Powers, who also painted the Cyclone roller coaster seats, the Coney Island Museum steps, and the Bump Your Ass Off sign for the Eldorado. In 2003, Powers teamed up with Creative Time, the non-profit public art agency, to bring artists to Coney Island to create new signage for the stands along Jones Walk and the Bowery. The first year’s funding was $80,000. When the murals and signage debuted in June 2004, Powers told the Times: “A large percentage of them will be up forever.” Thor Equities has already removed the game signage on the Bowery side of the Henderson. We suggest that Powers and Creative Time come out to Coney and rescue their work! Don’t the signs actually belong to Creative Time? Last spring, a Dreamland Artist Club mural estimated to be worth $250,000 was destroyed when Feltman’s kitchen building was demolished by the City to make way for Luna Park.

Henderson Building: Thor Equities banner dwarfs shuttered Shoot out the Star. Photo © Tricia Vita//me-myself-i via flickr

Henderson Building: Thor Equities banner dwarfs shuttered Shoot out the Star. Photo © Tricia Vita//me-myself-i via flickr

Related posts on ATZ…

September 23, 2010: Demolition in Progress! Coney Island’s Surf Hotel in Henderson Building

September 9, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Faber’s Fascination Goes Dark After 50 Years

February 25, 2010: Happy Belated Birthday to Coney Island’s William F Mangels

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

November 16, 2009: Rare & Vintage: Coney Island Sideshow Banner by Dan Casola

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Shoot out the Star--Players Wanted! Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Shoot out the Star--Players Wanted! October 30, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Following the fortunes of Shoot out the Star on Stillwell Ave is one of my Coney Island obsessions. On Friday afternoon, the day before Halloween, I wasn’t surprised to see the metal gate rolled up and the shooting gallery open for business. CB, who runs the game for Slim, has been known to stay open long after Coney’s rides and most other games close around Columbus Day. On Friday he wasn’t looking any farther ahead than the next couple of days. We spent a good half hour cutting up jackpots about Coney Island present and future. Every time someone walked by, we’d stop talking and CB would call them in to play. “Shoot out the Star! $2.00 for 100 shots!”

Located in the Henderson Building on Stillwell across the street from Nathan’s, Shoot out the Star has a prime location. In the summer, people pour out of the subway terminal on the way to the beach and Boardwalk and many stop to play. At this time of year the stream of people has slowed to a trickle of tourists with cameras and Nathan’s coffee cups in hand. When nobody but nobody would stop to Shoot out the Star, ATZ chimed in: “This is the last game open in all of Coney Island! This is your very last chance to play!” We should add—last chance till Palm Sunday 2010, when Coney Island’s rides and attractions, including the Cyclone and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, reopen and the crowds return.

Coney ISland's Shoot out the Star, July 2008. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Coney Island's Shoot out the Star, July 2008. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Shoot out the Star’s iconic signage is the work of Dreamland Artists Club founder Steve Powers, who also did the Cyclone seats and the Bump Your Ass Off signs on the Eldorado Bumper Cars and the delightfully quirky stairway at the Coney Island Museum. Last December, Thor Equities put up a huge “Space for Lease” banner on the Henderson Building that dwarfed Shoot out the Star. The banners went up on Thor’s properties throughout Coney Island days before Christmas, prompting the NY Post to call Sitt “the Grinch Who Stole Coney Island.” News quickly spread that Thor CEO Joe Sitt was asking triple the rent for the 2009 season. Thor’s henchmen accompanied the uniformed security guards who cut off the locks and put up no trespassing signs. They told the shooting gallery operator and the souvenir stand guy next door, who were still open, that they were “trespassing” and threw them out. Commenters on the Coney Island USA message board referred to it as “Eviction, Sitt Style.”

New Year's Day 2009: No Trespassing Signs on Shoot Out the Star. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

New Year's Day 2009: No Trespassing Signs on Shoot Out the Star. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Shoot out the Star managed to reopen this summer, but its future is precarious. The Thor Equities-owned Henderson Building occupies a lot that has been rezoned for a high rise hotel. The “Space for Lease” banner still looms over Stillwell, a symbol of Thor’s power over Coney Island. Over the summer, I had the opportunity to work a game a few blocks east on Jones Walk, which I like to call the midway of midways. Unlike the ever-changing traveling midways of my carny childhood, “the Walk” is a permanent part of the landscape, street sign and all. As someone who learned to call the people in working my parents’ games and later went on the road on my own, I have a deep attachment to the business. I worry about the future of independently operated games in the newly rezoned Coney Island.

Lettering on Thor Equities banner Dwarfs Shoot out the Star.  Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Lettering on Thor Equities banner Dwarfs Shoot out the Star. January 1, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

When talk turns to acreage for rides and amusements, I doubt anyone gives a thought to the water race games and the shooting galleries except the owners and operators of those games. Will midway games get squeezed out by retail, restaurants and hotels, with an token arcade thrown in to say hey, we got hundreds of games?

The City recently closed on the property on the east side of Jones Walk in a deal that was first announced in October 2008. The Economic Development Corporation’s original press release says, “Under the terms of the purchase agreement, the Ward family, the oldest, continuous landowner in Coney Island, has agreed to have NYCEDC acquire roughly one acre of land for $11 million.” Now the City is the new landlord of the game booths on the east side of the midway of midways. Will the operators, many of whom have been part of Coney Island for decades, be grandfathered in? Or will the have to jump through the hoops of the City’s bureaucracy to remain in the new Coney Island?

100 Shots $2.00. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

100 Shots $2.00. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Shoot out the Star, Stillwell at the Bowery, Coney Island
If you come to Coney Island for a Nathan’s hot dog, a stroll along the Boardwalk or to see the Parachute Jump–Brooklyn’s Eiffel Tower, please support independent amusements by playing the only game you’re likely to find open this time of year: Shoot out the Star

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