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CONEY ISLAND is CON_Y ISLAND! Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

CONEY ISLAND is CON_Y ISLAND! March 11, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

How many MTA employees does it take to change a light bulb? How many months or years does it take them to get the job done? Or did alphabet lights get slashed from the MTA’s budget?

Last night we took this photo of the entrance to the MTA’s Stillwell Terminal, the largest above-ground subway station in the world and the gateway to Coney Island. It would be a postcard perfect shot except for the fact that the “E” in CONEY ISLAND is burned out and has been burned out since last summer. We con you not: the photo below of CON_Y ISLAND was taken in July 2009.

When we phoned the MTA’s customer service line in June, the rep dutifully took down the info. But he just didn’t get it: “You can still read it,” he said of the burned out “E.” Personally we think it ruins an iconic photo op. We called up a friend who has a job at the MTA and asked him to pass the word along to the correct department. He wouldn’t and couldn’t. Told us it was against protocol.

Dear MTA Chairman Jay Walder, please send a crew over to fix the “E” and replace the other burned out bulbs asap before Coney Island’s opening day! That will be March 28th, just 16 days away. And while they’re here, get them to straighten out the “L” in ISLAND, which looks like somebody gave it a whack. Millions of visitors will arrive and depart via Stillwell Station this year. We want the new Coney Island to put her best face forward. Burned out lights say who the hell cares.

UPDATE March 17, 2010:

Yesterday we received a message that the “E” in CONEY had finally been fixed and was two-third’s lit! And the crooked “L” in ISLAND had been straightened out, too! Yay and hooray! We’re almost tempted to say the repair of the Stillwell Terminal’s signature sign after months of neglect presages the rebirth of Coney Island. See “Photo of the Day: The “E” is Relit in Coney Island Sign at Stillwell”

Welcome to Con-y island! All Aboard! Coney Island, NY. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Welcome to Con-y island! All Aboard! Coney Island, NY. July 25, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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Related posts on ATZ…

March 17, 2010: Photo of the Day: The “E” is Relit in Coney Island Sign at Stillwell

March 8, 2010: March 23: Rescuing Coney Island’s Shore Theater from 35 Years of Neglect

February 11, 2010:Photo of the Day: NYCEDC Signs Herald New Coney Island Amusement Park

January 26, 2010: Scoop: Zamperla’s $24M Coney Island Park to be Named Luna Park!

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Newly Opened Gift Shop in Coney Islands Stillwell Terminal. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Newly Opened Gift Shop in Coney Island's Stillwell Terminal. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Just in time for the expected Mermaid Parade, Friday Night Fireworks and Coney Island Boom A Ring crowds, a gift shop and a newsstand have opened in the Stillwell Terminal. The new shops join Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins and Bank of America in the reconstructed subway station, which opened in 2005. The gift shop proprietors also operate a souvenir stand on Stillwell Avenue and have a storeroom full of stock for the upcoming weekend.

Newly opened Newsstand at Stillwell Terminal in Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Newly opened Newsstand at Stillwell Terminal in Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Yet to open in the station are a Subway sandwich shop, the Lola Staar Boutique, and a branch of the Coney Island Beach Shop, whose main store is behind Nathan’s. The Coney Island Rumor Mill is sayin’ construction delays are due to leakage in the terminal when it rains as well as the fact that some tenants had to revise their architectural plans or change architects to comply with the MTA’s stringent review process.

Still Under Construction at Stillwell Terminal: The Subway in the subway station. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Still Under Construction at Stillwell Terminal: The Subway in the subway station. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The Brooklyn Paper reported last week that “MTA bureaucrats had trapped the Lola Staar boutique in their own black hole” for six months. An MTA spokesman told the paper that the department overseeing the plans was backlogged. On the day the article was published, the transit authority finally reviewed the architect’s plans and asked for changes. Stay tuned!

Lola Staar owner Dianna Carlin had hoped to open in the Stillwell Terminal this summer after being evicted from her Boardwalk store by Thor Equities. Instead Carlin has set up her boutique in the Dreamland Roller Rink on the Boardwalk at 21st Street. This weekend a selection of “vintage, rare Lola Staar tees from the glittering Boardwalk vaults” will be on sale for only $10. The Lola Staar Shop is open to the public on Fridays from 7-11 pm, Saturdays from 1 pm to 12 am, and Sundays from 1-7 pm.

Visit the Coney Island Fun Guide for links to Coney Island’s shops and restaurants, including some that are open year round.

Lola Staar Ts at new boutique in the Dreamland Roller Rink. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Lola Staar T's at new boutique in the Dreamland Roller Rink. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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