Posts Tagged ‘Stillwell Terminal’

Dunkin Donuts

Rebuilding After Sandy: Mario Tuna, owner of Dunkin Donuts in Stillwell Terminal, Coney Island. February 22, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

On an average weekday in February, nearly 12,000 people swipe their MetroCards at Coney Island’s Stillwell Terminal, the terminus for the D, F, N and Q lines, but there’s no place to stop and get a cup of coffee since Sandy. Unless you count the food truck at the Stillwell Avenue entrance. Four months after flooding and sewage ravaged the terminal during SuperStorm Sandy, the 24-hour Dunkin’ Donuts at Surf and Stillwell remains closed. On Friday we talked with Mario Tuna, the location’s franchisee, who happened to be painting the orange trim when we passed by. “We’re having a grand re-opening around March 15,” he told ATZ. The rehab of the store has been underway since January.


Painting in Progress. February 22, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins first opened in the reconstructed subway terminal in 2009. Due to extensive storm damage, the restaurant had to be completely renovated from the floor up and will get all new equipment. The cost of repairs is the responsibility of the franchisee, Tuna said. After Sandy, the stores that have managed to reopen in Stillwell Terminal are Subway, which is open 24 hours, and the newsstand. Neither of them sell coffee. The Bank of America’s ATMs have also been replaced.

Seasonal shops such as Lola Star Boutique, Brooklyn Beach Shop and two other gift shops in Stillwell Terminal also suffered damage and remain closed. Coney Island Gourmet Shop/Magic Gyro has not been been touched and essentially looks like it did in the days after the storm. McDonald’s on Stillwell and Mermaid Avenues, which was also open 24 hours, remains boarded up and closed but the majority of stores on Mermaid have reopened.

Dunkin Donuts Renovation

Dunkin Donuts Renovation: New floors, walls. January 30, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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Magic Gyro

Magic Gyro at Coney Island Gourmet Food. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Since Coney Island Gourmet Food opened in Stillwell Terminal in November, its Turkish-American owners have kept it stocked with a variety of imported chocolate bars, cookies and bulk nuts, as well as freshly baked bread, teas and grocery items. It struck us as a convenient place to stop by on the way home from work rather than on the way to the beach. A “Magic Gyro” sign on the Stillwell Avenue facade and a corner kitchen were a promise of home-made take-out food to come. The kitchen finally opened for business a few weeks ago and ATZ was delighted to find some vegetarian options, which are scarce in Coney Island’s amusement area.

Magic Gyro

Magic Gyro at Coney Island Gourmet Food. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

In addition to chicken and veal sandwiches and entrees served with rice and salad, the menu offers falafel, hummus, babganoush, haydari (yogurt flavored with garlic, herbs and olive oil) and stuffed vine leaves. The food is very reasonably priced. A salad with pita bread is $2.99-$4.99, red lentil balls are 2 for $1.00, and spinach pie is $2.99. Last season, Coney Cones on the Boardwalk had panini but has taken it off their menu to focus on sweets and we miss it. We were happy to find the item available here for $3.49.

Magic Gyro

Magic Gyro at Coney Island Gourmet Food. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Did we mention that Coney Island Gourmet has the coldest air-conditioning in all of Coney Island? When we stopped by on one of those killer days in August, the cashier was wearing a polar fleece jacket. The cold drinks in the cooler are dazzling to look at and ice cold.

Magic Gyro

Cold drinks at Coney Island Gourmet Food. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

For dessert, try something different: Zefir, a traditional Russian marshmallow-like treat. Manager Umut Ozalp tells ATZ that the shop also has outposts at Brighton Beach, Kings Highway and 86th Street.

Coney Island Gourmet Foods, 2943 Stillwell Avenue (inside Stillwell Terminal), Brooklyn. 718-373-8400.

UPDATE April 5, 2013

Magic Gyro is closed. They have yet to rebuild and re-open after flood damage from Superstorm Sandy in October.


Zefir at Coney Island Gourmet Food. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr


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Lot at 1223 Surf Avenue next to Stillwell Terminal. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

The second new commercial building to be constructed in Coney Island since the rezoning broke ground on the north side of Surf Avenue next door to Stillwell Terminal. “This is a spectacular location for a restaurant or nightclub, broker Joe Vitacco tells ATZ. “We are looking for quality tenants that will add to the growth of Coney Island.” The new building will be across the street from Thor Equities’ new retail-only building on the southeast corner of Surf and Stillwell, on the site of the demolished Henderson Music Hall.

The lot at 1223 Surf Avenue was in the news in December 2010, when we reported that Popeye’s Chicken was offered a lease in the new building for which plans had been filed. Construction was delayed and Popeye’s ended up relocating earlier this year to the Popper Building on the south side of Surf. Says Vitacco, “Finally, after two years of submitting and resubmitting and resubmitting again to the MTA and the Buildings Department, ground was broken for a two story, 15,000 square foot building at 1223 Surf Avenue in Coney Island. The first floor will be 10,000 square feet and the second floor will be 5,000 sq feet with a 2,500 square foot terrace. The second floor will be 22 feet above Surf Avenue with a view of the Atlantic Ocean and Luna Park.”

Plan for Two Story Commercial Building

First Floor: Plan for Two Story Commercial Building 1223 Surf Avenue in Coney Island

The owner of 1223 Surf Avenue, Fox 18 Realty, LLC, purchased the lot from Horace Bullard for $1,344,000 in 2010. The property has been vacant since 2001, when the Giuliani administration repeatedly ticketed and finally got rid of the flea market that had operated on the lot since the 1980s. The headline in the Daily News read “CONEY SMALL BIZ BLITZ STORM OF TICKETS TIED TO DEBUT OF CYCLONES.”

Prior to the flea market, independent rides have come and gone from the lot for as far back as anyone can recall. In the late 1940s and 1950s, the Pinto Brothers, who also manufactured kiddie rides on 8th Street in Coney Island, operated a Whip here and a Crazy Ghost ride nearby. In the 1960s this location was home to McCullough’s Illions carousel, which was moved from Surf and 15th Street, until it was dismantled in 1968. A Sky Rapids water slide, a Jumbo coaster that resembled a Jumbo Jet, and go karts took turns operating there in the 1970s.

Once home to a variety of rides including Bumper cars and the B & B Carousell, the north side of Surf Avenue is now attracting bars, clubs and restaurants. Coney Island Bar & Grill, Tattoo Shot Lounge and the popular Grimaldi’s Pizzeria are the new face of the north side of Surf. At long last, the furniture stores named after amusement parks appear to be on their way out.

Sky Rapids Ride

Sky Rapids Ride at 1223 Surf Avenue, Coney Island January 1, 1979. Photo by Abe Feinstein via Coney Island History Project

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