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Posts Tagged ‘signage’

Astrolands Bright and Shining Gate On Surf Avenue, September 7, 2008. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita

Astroland's Bright and Shining Gate On Surf Avenue, September 7, 2008. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita

One of the eight-foot by seven-and-a-half-foot lighted stars from Astroland’s Surf Avenue gate is in the National Air and Space Museum among other space-age icons, but the second one could be yours for Christmas. Along with pieces of Dante’s Inferno dark ride, the Bonanza shooting gallery, and a variety of signage, the star is among the last vestiges of the Coney Island amusement park being offered for sale. Mark Blumenthal, Astroland’s longtime operations manager, has overseen the sale of the rides since the park closed and was dismantled at the end of 2008. If you’re interested in acquiring an Astro artifact, you can email Blumenthal at astrolandmark[at]aol[dot]com.

Dante's Inferno demon

Dante’s Inferno demon on crane, Astroland Park in Coney Island- Photo © Tricia Vita. December 26, 2008.

“We’d like to sell the ride as a whole,” Blumenthal said of Dante’s, which consists of the giant demon’s head and torso from the façade, props, track and cars in storage trailers. “But if someone has a home for the pieces, we’d entertain the idea of selling them.” Dante’s Inferno was made by the Italian manufacturer Soli and brought to Astroland in 1971, according to a tribute on Laff in the Dark’s website. More than a dozen stunts created by Lou Nasti’s Brooklyn-based Mechanical Displays in the 1990s are also for sale.

At the Brooklyn Museum, the Cyclops head from Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park’s Spook-A-Rama dark ride, which is going into its 66th year of operation in Coney, is on display as part of the exhibit Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland. Can Dante’s demon make a similar transition from the amusement park midway to the art world? Or what about bringing it home to Coney and exercising a little creative reuse?

Also being offered for sale is the old-timey Bonanza shooting gallery, where you could shoot the piano player. You may recall it was located on the Surf Avenue side of the park next to Gregory & Paul’s. Manufactured by Taylor Engineering, Bonanza shooting galleries first debuted in 1958 and this one was brought to Coney Island by Gregory in the mid-’70s.

“It was redone a couple of years before we closed,” says Blumenthal. “It’s the old technology,” referring to the fact that vintage Bonanza galleries used photocell sensors activated by a bright light source, usually from the rifles. That’s why there were multiple signs saying “No Photography” and why we have no photos. You can catch a glimpse of it in the following video. Refurbished galleries such as “The World’s Largest Bonanza Gallery.” currently on the fair circuit, use an infrared beam of light instead of flashing light.

As we noted in a post in 2013, Astroland’s rides have found homes in Costa Rica, South America, Australia, New Jersey and Brooklyn. Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park brought back the Barbieri Bumper Cars and Scrambler, and together with the Coney Island History Project, the 1960’s Astroland Rocket, which once perched on Gregory & Paul’s rooftop as an advertisement.

Signage from Astroland’s Surf and Boardwalk entrances to the park, as well as the arcade are also for sale.”I miss it, but a lot of us miss it,” Blumenthal says of Astroland. “Now it’s part of history.”

Astroland arcade sign

Astroland arcade sign. Photo © Tricia Vita. July 25, 2008

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June 4, 2014: Astroland Rocket Finds New Home Beside the Wonder Wheel

July 17, 2013: Astroland Rides Find Homes in Brooklyn, Costa Rica and Australia

March 16, 2012: Rest in Peace: Jerry Albert, Co-Founder of Coney Island’s Astroland Park

December 16, 2010: Blast from the Past: LFO’s Summer Girls Music Video

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Coney Island Signage

Coney Island Signage in Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. Photo © Tricia Vita

Now that Coney’s amusement parks are closed for the season and temps are in the 40s, we’re starting to see depressing comments on social media:

Went to an abandoned Coney Island to help a friend out on a shoot

Coney Island (amusement park) looks like a ghost town

Missing the summer and the rides on the “Wheel”…

Don’t remind me

Me too

Hey, Coney’s Opening Day is only 140 days away! Palm Sunday is early next year, on March 29th.

Also, check out our post from last fall “Coney Island Always: Visiting the Big CI Year-Round” for things to do until then.

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November 7, 2014: Photo Album: Deno’s Carousel Horses Put to Bed for Winter

November 3, 2014: Summertime Has Gone Away, Polar Bears Are Here to Stay

January 2, 2014: Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge’s Best Dressed of 2014

December 23, 2013: Coney’s Parachute Jump & Wonder Wheel Lit for Christmas

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Full Moon in Coney Island

Full Moon in Coney Island, March 26, 2013. Photo © Bruce Handy

March 26th’s full moon peers over the top of the landmark Cyclone roller coaster and the Wonder Wheel’s “Thrills!” sign in this exquisite capture by Coney Island photographer Bruce Handy. The American flags are the cherry on top!

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April 16, 2013: Photo of the Day: Coney Island Sunset by Bruce Handy

January 26, 2013: Winter’s First Snow in Coney Island by Bruce Handy

August 31, 2012: Photo of the Day: Electric Eden Revisited By Bruce Handy

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

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View from DNALSI YENOC

April 22, 2013: View from DNALSI YENOC, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

This week, the framework for a large sign was erected on the roof of Thor Equities new building at Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island. Will it be a billboard for a business or another one of Thor Equities “Space for Lease” teasers? As a photographer friend says: “That’s how you can tell a Thor property in Coney Island…the ‘For Lease’ sign!”

The building is the first sight you see when exiting Stillwell Terminal and we’ve taken many photos from this vantage point. There’s even a flickr group called DNALSI YENOC — Coney Island spelled backwards– showing how this view has changed over the past few years. Watch this space to see yet one more. In the meantime, here’s a look back at the signage, dating back to 2007, on Joe Sitt’s properties in Coney Island.

DNALSI YENOC: View of Surf Ave from Stillwell Terminal

April 8, 2012: DNALSI YENOC: View of Thor’s New Building on Surf Ave from Stillwell Terminal. Photo © Tricia Vita

The photo above shows the same view one year ago, when Thor’s building was completed and then immediately covered with plywood and a signature banner trumpeting “Retail Space Available.” The building remained vacant but now has at least three tenants for the 2013 season that ATZ was able to confirm: Maritza’s Souvenir Shop, a longtime tenant of the historic Henderson Building which was demo’d to make way for the generic-looking new building, is back in her old spot for the summer. It’Sugar, a Miami-based candy retailer, has the corner store and is expected to open May 3. Wampum, a lifestyle clothing brand and skateboard shop with two other locations in Bridgehampton and Nolita, is slated to open in Coney on May 24.

May 28, 2012: Coney Island ‘Funny Face’ Mural on Thor Equities Building at Surf and Stillwell. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

On Memorial Day Weekend 2012, the plywood on the Surf Avenue side of Thor’s vacant building came alive with this Funny Face mural. On Stillwell, the plywood remained dotted with signs touting “CONEY ISLAND – The RETAIL RIDE of a LIFETIME – for leasing contact…” As we wrote previously: “Ain’t it just like Joe Sitt to tout retail when Coney Island, the birthplace of the amusement industry, is expecting its best season yet because of the success of Luna Park on land purchased by the City from Thor?”

View of Henderson Building and Shore Hotel

July 12, 2009: View of Henderson Building and Shore Hotel, Demolished in 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita

Now we’re time-traveling back to July 2009, a few weeks before the City Council passed the rezoning that allows high-rise hotels on Joe Sitt’s property on the south side side of Surf, including this lot! The original caption on the photo was “View of Endangered Historic Buildings Owned by Thor Equities” and called people to a rally to “Save Coney Island.” Sadly, the Henderson Building and the Shore Hotel, seen above, were demolished in December 2010.

During the 2009 season, Thor’s banners touted “Festival by the Sea. A Uniquely Entertaining and Amusing Flea Market in Coney Island. Head Straight on Stillwell for Tons of Fun.” It was not.

Closed due to threat of bad weather on a sunny day.

May 15, 2009: Thor Equities flea market ‘Closed due to threat of bad weather’ on a sunny day. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

One of the most eye-catching signs at the flea market was “Closed due to threat of bad weather” posted on a sunny day in May due to a tent malfunction. You can’t make this stuff up. It was soon replaced by one that read “Pardon our Appearance while we adjust our tents.” Translation: The City’s DOB was requiring that the tents and structures be able to withstand hurricane force winds before issuing a C of O.

Shore Hotel Nature's Paradise by the Sea

April 26, 2009: Shore Hotel Nature’s Paradise by the Sea. Photo © Tricia Vita

Plastered with Thor’s ubiquitous “Space for Lease” signs but never leased, Coney Island’s Shore Hotel was boarded up with plywood painted in festive colors. A much smaller sign on a fence said “ATTENTION The Shore Hotel has closed down.”

The Shore Hotel was built circa 1903 and demolished by Thor Equities on December 10, 2010. It took only a couple of days for the demo men to take down the century-old wood frame building. There was nothing left of “Nature’s Paradise by the Sea” but a pile of sticks to be hauled away.

The Shore Hotel has closed down.

September 3, 2007: ATTENTION The Shore Hotel has closed down. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

One signage-related highlight of 2008 was Joe Sitt being called “The Grinch Who Stole Coney Island” by the New York Post after cutting locks and hanging for lease banners on his Boardwalk and Stillwell properties on Christmas Eve. A section of the gigantic banner on the Henderson Building is seen in the photo below. R.I.P Shoot Out the Star. So far, Thor’s new building at Surf and Stillwell has no tenants with amusement games or arcades.

Thor Equities phone number dwarfs Shoot out the Star

January 1, 2009: Thor Equities phone number dwarfs Shoot out the Star, Coney Island.

Also in 2008, Thor’s “Future of Coney Island” banners were recycled by tenants as decorative backdrops for their games. In January 2009, the slogan was tarnished when Thor’s Future of Coney Island website URL was taken over by a Belgian porn entrepreneur. “Who ever would have thunk the Future of Coney Island would turn out to be Biker Chicks in Heat and Lust on the Beach? Our suggestion: Somebody reopen the Shore Hotel right away with free 24/7 Belgian porn,” wrote Gowanus Lounge’s Bob Guskind.

Thor Equities Space for Lease

August 8, 2008: Thor Equities Space for Lease and ‘Future of Coney’ banners as backdrop for basketball joint on Surf Ave. Photo © Tricia Vita

Thor regained control of the URL but later gave it up. Yes, that’s right, Joe Sitt no longer owns “The FutureofConeyIsland.com”! If you type in the URL, you’re redirected to its new owner, real estate site LivingThere.com (“A Better Way to Find a Home”). Wanna buy an “exquisitely spacious 2 bedroom/1 bath coop in Trump Village Section 3 on a high floor offers spectacular views of the ocean from every room and balcony”?

The Future of Coney Island  Construction Banner

July 5, 2008: Thor Equities, The Future of Coney Island Construction Banner. Photo © Tricia Vita

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April 19, 2013: Thor’s Coney Island: Evicted Souvenir Shop Returns to Its Spot

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?

March 3, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: What Stillwell Looked Like Before Joe Sitt

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Playland Arcade

Remaining Playland Letters Saved by the Coney Island History Project. February 14, 2013. Photo © Coney Island History Project

The demolition of Coney Island’s Playland Arcade got underway in October, but was interrupted by Sandy. The job was finished today. It’s gone!

Charles Denson of the Coney Island History Project managed to save the remaining letters on the facade– L, N and D– and several of the whimsical yet deteriorating murals. “Our previous efforts at preservation were hampered by trespassers, vandals, black mold, the untimely death of Playland’s caretaker, Andy Badalamenti, as well as Superstorm Sandy,” according to a photo album on the History Project’s Facebook page. The artifacts will be exhibited this season.

An arcade existed in the Playland building from the 1930s until 1981, operated by four sets of brothers over a fifty year period. In 1981 the arcade machines were auctioned and the business closed, leaving Playland vacant for the past thirty years.

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October 23, 2012: Playland Arcade Demolition Under Way in Coney Island

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Ruby's Bar

First Glimpse of Ruby’s New Sign, Coney Island Boardwalk. June 13, 2012. Via AmusingtheZillion.com

Today the new signs for Ruby’s Bar — “A Coney Island Tradition since 1934”–went up on the facade of the beloved Boardwalk bar. A reader sent us this photo of five men installing the ruby red sign that spells RUBY’S. Cheers!

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May 29, 2012: Photo Album: Coney Island Lights & Signs of the Times

May 22, 2012: Photo Album: Welcome Back, Paul’s Daughter & Ruby’s Bar!

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Steve ESPO Powers

New signage for ‘Miss Coney Island’ and games on Coney Island’s 12th St by Steve ‘ESPO’ Powers. Photo via twitter

Over Memorial Day, we saw artist Steve Powers in Coney Island and mentioned how much of the signage for his Dreamland Artist Club project had been painted over or demolished due to redevelopment. The most recent loss was the signage on Jones Walk, where the works created by Dreamland artists in 2004 were stolen or scrapped when the game operators moved out after losing their leases. The sole surviving “coin” from Toland Grinnell’s Dime Toss sign was donated to the Coney Island History Project, which is next door to some of the relocated games.

Powers told ATZ he was going to create new signs for Miss Coney Island, Skin the Wire and other games that moved to West 12th Street from the Walk. Today the artist unveiled the supercool signs shown above via twitter. “Watch Her Dance Till the End of Love” is for the automaton “Miss Coney Island.” The dancing doll did an exclusive interview with ATZ last month about the big move and the marvelous makeover that has fans saying she looks 30 years younger. “Miss Coney Island” and the miniature animated rides of “Coney Island Always” are next door to Skin the Wire and other whimsical games located on 12th Street just off the Boardwalk. The new signs will be installed next week.

Skin the Wire on West 12th Street is one of the booths getting new signs by Steve Powers. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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