Posts Tagged ‘storm damage’

Ruby's Bar

Post-Sandy: Ruby’s Bar Same As It Ever Was. Coney Island Boardwalk. November 17, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita

Cleanup and recovery efforts, including the replacement of waterlogged sheetrock and restoration of damaged electrical systems, continue at flood-devastated businesses throughout Coney Island. More than three weeks after the storm, relatively few stores have managed to reopen for business. During the peak of Hurricane Sandy, Surf Avenue as well as Mermaid and Neptune Avenues and adjacent streets were submerged in five feet of water that came from the bay, the creek and overflowing sewers with the rising tide.

surf and stillwell

High Water Mark on Thor Equities Property, Shuttered Nathan’s. November 17, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita

Today, the good news was that Key Food, the only supermarket in Coney’s West End, opened for the first time since Hurricane Sandy with temporary generators providing power, according to a press release by the Alliance for Coney Island. Day by day, more stores will reopen and this post, which focuses on the businesses in and around the amusement area, will quickly (we hope) become out-of-date. Today’s other piece of good news was the Mayor’s announcement of a $5.5 million grant program to supplement $15 million in emergency loans offered to the City’s small businesses impacted by Sandy.

Tom's Coney Island

SBA Rep At Tom’s Coney Island: Informational Meeting for Assistance to Merchants Affected by the Storm. November 5, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita

On the Boardwalk, Ruby’s Bar, Lola Star Boutique and Brooklyn Beach Shop opened for Small Business Saturday, though their building has no power. A few days ago they found out the distribution panel in the basement was destroyed and requires an electrician to repair and certify it before Con Edison will flick the switch. The situation is the same for many throughout Coney Island. No one on the Boardwalk is complaining about the delay because they say many people have it a lot worse. But the business owners would like locals and tourists to know their shops are now open on weekends. “We close at sundown, when we can’t see anything,” said Maya Haddad of Brooklyn Beach Shop. “Thanks to the Square app, we’re able to process credit cards in my cell.”

Lola Star Boutique

Coney Island Forever T’s at Lola Star Boutique on the Boardwalk. November 17, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita

Next door, Ruby’s Bar powered their jukebox and refrigerator by running extension cords to Tom’s Restaurant, which has electric and is open daily till at least 5pm. At Lola Star Boutique, where “Coney Island Forever” T-shirts were being sold to raise funds for Coney Island’s rebuilding efforts, extension cords replaced the gas-powered generator of last weekend. “In the true spirit of the spunky Coney Island business owner, my shop will be open for holiday shopping although we still don’t have electricity,” Lola Star owner Dianna Carlin wrote in her online diary. “There’s no better place on Earth to celebrate Small Business Saturday than Coney Island.”

Paul's Daughter

Paul’s Daughter, Coney Island Boardwalk. November 17, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita

Paul’s Daughter, undamaged except for the Burger Girl statue toppling over and losing her Burger to Sandy, was open through Sunday but is now closed for the season. Closed due to damage from the flooding are the Coney Island amusement area’s three nonprofit attractions: New York Aquarium, Coney Island USA and the Coney Island History Project. All are busy cleaning up and raising funds to rebuild and reopen in the spring. As we reported yesterday, the Aquarium’s annual holiday toy drive has been relocated to Tom’s Restaurant on the Boardwalk, which has also become the de facto gathering spot for meetings on local business recovery.

Williams Candy Coney Island

Coney Island After Sandy: Williams Candy On Surf Ave Reopened on Nov 12. November 17, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita

The contrast between the Boardwalk stores, which escaped flood damage, and the rest of Coney Island could not be more stark. On Surf Avenue in the amusement area, one of the first shops to reopen was Williams Candy, which is open daily year-round. Their scrumptious and photogenic marshmallow treats and candy apples were on display as usual in the window. But the scene had a surreal air because everything else on the block was shuttered or being cleaned up. Next door, the original Nathan’s remains closed due to damage to electrical and plumbing. A manager said it is not expected to open until April. But you can still get a hamburger at Tom’s and a hot dog at Ruby’s!

Cha Cha's Coney Island

Coney Island After Sandy: Cleanup at Cha Cha’s Surf Avenue, November 17, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita

Across the street, Cha Cha’s, which had already been emptied of wrecked furnishings, was being mopped by a man who shooed us away. In Stillwell Terminal, the newstand has reopened but Dunkin Donuts, Magic Gyro, Subway, and Bank of America remain closed. Also shuttered are the Stillwell Terminal outposts of Lola Star Boutique and Coney Island Beach Shop. The Beach Shop’s main store behind Nathan’s remains closed for cleanup as well. Pizza on the Run on both Stillwell Avenue and Mermaid Avenue, as well as Alex Deli Mexican Food on Mermaid have reopened. McDonald’s at Stillwell and Mermaid, which was open 24 hours, is closed and boarded up, and is not expected to reopen for two to three months.

McDonald's in Coney Island

Coney Island After Sandy: McDonald’s on Mermaid Avenue Is Closed and Boarded Up. November 17, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita

On the south side of Surf Avenue, Popeye’s Chicken managed to reopen last week. The fast food restaurant relocated to the Popper Building in April and is on the same block as the devastated Eldorado Auto Skooters (“Coney Island’s Eldorado Wins Lease But Bumper Cars Soaked by Sandy,” ATZ, Nov. 13, 2012), Denny’s Ice Cream (“Coney Island Post-Sandy: Mini-Golf or Roller Rink to Replace Denny’s?,” ATZ, Nov 20, 2012) and Coney Island USA’s Freak Bar. Island Grocery remains shuttered. On the north side of Surf, the Karaoke bar has reopened along with the furniture stores. Grimaldi’s Pizzeria is rebuilding and expects to open by the end of the month. Totonno’s on Neptune Avenue is also rebuilding, though no reopening date has been announced. Wildwood Chicken along with Domino’s Pizza and the deli in the plaza on Neptune Avenue at West 12th are open. Today, Coney Island Gyro on Neptune Avenue announced they would be reopening on November 26: “Opening back up to feed the hungry public on Monday…can’t wait to see everybody’s face!!”


Coney Island After Sandy: Dumpster Pulling Up in Front of Gargiulo’s Restaurant, W 15th Street. November 17, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita

When we passed by Gargiulo’s century-old Italian restaurant and catering hall on Saturday, a dumpster was being parked out front. Cars destroyed by Sandy were being towed in and out of the restaurant’s parking lot for insurance agents to inspect. More good news today: Gargiulo’s announced via twitter that they would reopen on December 1st…


Coney Island’s amusement rides including Luna Park and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park are closed for the winter and will reopen as usual on Palm Sunday, which is March 24, 2013. See comments section below for updates by readers. We will also post updates on stores and businesses here as time and space allow:

November 25, 2012:  Footprints Cafe, home of Rasta Pasta and one of our longtime fave dining spots in Coney, tweeted that they’ll reopen on December 31st. The first New Year’s Eve celebration that we know of on Surf Avenue! Update January 7, 2013: Reopening has been delayed for a couple of weeks.

December 1, 2012: Remas Gourmet deli and Hot Food in the old Terminal Hotel building at the corner of Stillwell and Mermaid Avenues has reopened. Also….

December 18, 2012: In “Restoring Our Church of Pizza: The Rebuilding and Repairing of Totonno’s After Hurricane Sandy,” food blog Serious Eats reports that Totonno’s Pizzeria hopes to re-open by mid-January. Check out the photos and in-depth story on the family’s efforts by Chris Crowley here.

December 20, 2012: Peggy O’Neill’s on Surf Avenue reopened today. On New Year’s Day, their annual party after the Polar Bear Swim starts at 1pm with entertainment by Cardone and Adam RealMan from 3pm.

December 30, 2012: On New Year’s Eve, good news from Cha Cha’s of Coney Island…

January 7, 2013: Subway Sandwich Shop in Stillwell Terminal has reopened.

February 6, 2013: Cha Cha’s on Surf Avenue in Coney Island “Officially Closed”

February 15, 2013: Williams Candy Moves Next Door During Post-Sandy Renovation

February 27, 2013: Dunkin Donuts in Stillwell Terminal to reopen in March.

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

March 4, 2013: Nathan’s on Coney Island Boardwalk to Open Mid-March, Surf Ave by May

March 5, 2013: Coney Island’s Mermaid Avenue Four Months After Sandy


Related posts on ATZ…

March 17, 2013: Photo Album: Coney Island Getting Ready for Opening Day

December 10, 2012: Coney Island Nonprofits Begin to Raise Funds After Sandy

December 7, 2012: Photo Album: Signs of the Times in Post-Sandy Coney Island

November 9, 2012: Update on Coney Island’s Amusement Area After Sandy

Read Full Post »


Power-Washed Spook-A-Rama Cars and Murals Drying Out at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. Coney Island. November 5, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Coney Island’s oldest dark ride, which dates back to the 1950s and is part of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, was severely damaged due to flooding during Superstorm Sandy. Spook-A-Rama’s electrical, interior props and the floor inside the ride were destroyed but park owners Dennis and Steve Vourderis have vowed to rebuild the attraction. At last week’s IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando, they contracted with Scarefactory, Inc. to come in and lay out new props, according to Dennis Vourderis. The giant skeleton on Spook-A-Rama’s roof is a product of the design and fabrication studio, which specializes in creating haunted attractions and everything that goes into them.

Spook-A-Rama Skeleton

Giant Skeleton from Spook-A-Rama’s Roof Recuperating After Superstorm Sandy. November 17, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Sadly, some of the destroyed props original to Spook-A-Rama and other historic Coney Island dark rides cannot be replaced. If it’s possible to save them, the old props will be put on static display (February 2013 Update: some of the rescued props will get new electronics!) The good news is that the legendary Cyclops, which came out of retirement two years ago to be inducted into the Coney Island History Project’s Hall of Fame, was unharmed. Another old-timer at the Wonder Wheel, the 1920’s fortunetelling machine Grandma’s Predictions, suffered water damage, but is being restored by an expert in antique arcade machines. Grandma’s “boyfriend” Zoltar was not so lucky –the popular machine which debuted at the park in 2011 will be replaced by a brand-new one.


Zoltar Destroyed by Sandy, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. Coney Island. November 5, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Also destroyed in the flood waters and being replaced is the Scarface-themed shooting gallery next to Spook-A-Rama. The new shooting gallery will be themed with some of the same spooky characters that visitors will see inside the refurbished dark ride. While the Wonder Wheel side of the park and the area beneath the kiddie park were inundated with 5 to 7 feet of flood waters, the 92-year-old landmark Wonder Wheel and the rides and games in Deno’s Kiddie Park on the Boardwalk escaped serious damage though a lot of work remains to be done. The park will re-open with its 25th Annual Blessing of the Rides Ceremony on Palm Sunday, which is Coney Island’s opening day and falls on March 24, 2013. (Update: On opening day, rides on the Wonder Wheel will be free of charge for one and all.)

Spook-A-Rama's Cyclops

Spook-A-Rama’s Cyclops Survived the Super Storm. Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. Coney Island. November 17, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr


Related posts on ATZ…

November 20, 2012: Coney Island Post-Sandy: Mini-Golf or Roller Rink to Replace Denny’s?

November 13, 2012: Coney Island’s Eldorado Wins Lease But Bumper Cars Soaked by Sandy

November 9, 2012: Update on Coney Island’s Amusement Area After Sandy

October 30, 2012: Photo Album: Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath in Coney Island

Read Full Post »

Coney Island Post-Dandy

Coney Island Post-Sandy: Interior Demolition of Storm-Ravaged Denny’s Ice Cream, Surf Avenue. November 17, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

One of the first casualties of Sandy in Coney Island’s amusement area could be replaced with mini-golf or a roller rink. Which do you prefer? Over the weekend, while storm-ravaged Denny’s Ice Cream on Surf Avenue was being gutted by volunteers, Coney Island USA founder Dick Zigun asked his followers on twitter: “Miniature Golf or Roller Rink to replace Denny’s Ice Cream? Opinions so far polling 50/50 & no one supports Paint Ball or Spin Art…hmm…”

Last week, word on the street was that the beloved ice cream shop established in 1978 and now owned by CIUSA would become a paintball game emporium a la Shoot the Freak. Replacing the ruined ice cream machines would be too costly for the arts organization, whose Freak Bar and theater next door was also damaged by the storm.

Dick’s new proposals signaled the start of a social media battle between #TeamRollerRink and #TeamMiniGolf. Just so you know, ATZ has added “Artist-Designed Mini-Golf Enthusiast” to our resume. We see the attraction as a quirky new successor to the mini-golf that used to be part of Batting Range and Go Kart City on Stillwell Avenue. There’s no reason it can’t also be a Black Light Mini-Golf with freaky interactive holes and a booth selling Denny’s signature banana pistachio soft serve and other fave snacks. #TeamMiniGolf had this to say….

The nonprofit arts organization bought Dennis Corines’ ice cream shop and building next door to Coney Island USA’s headquarters last March for $1.3 million. At the time, Zigun told ATZ: “Since we own an ice cream parlor and have no money to renovate, Denny’s might or might not continue next year. Even once we renovate the building will maintain a 500-square-foot storefront taking up most of Surf Avenue frontage that will always serve light food to street plus lobby inside.”

“Some day we can transfer air rights from the landmark Childs Building, match the two-story front of Childs then do a setback with an additional five to seven story tower on top of the base,” Zigun noted. The renderings that he showed last year at a Coney Island presentation at the AIA included a whimsical homage to the Elephant Hotel, which in the meantime would make a dandy hole for Mini Golf. Unless of course #TeamRollerRink wins this one…


Related posts on ATZ…

November 21, 2012: Coney Island Post-Sandy: Flooded Spook-A-Rama to Get New Stunts

November 13, 2012: Coney Island’s Eldorado Wins Lease But Bumper Cars Soaked by Sandy

November 9, 2012: Update on Coney Island’s Amusement Area After Sandy

October 30, 2012: Photo Album: Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath in Coney Island

Read Full Post »

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