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Target the Cat

Target the Cat, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Last week ATZ dropped by to visit Coney Island Arcade & Game operator Manny Cohen and his world-famous cat. Even during the off-season, Target the Coney Island Cat can be seen making his rounds on the Bowery. We found him sitting on the hood of Manny’s car.

Pretty and Target

Pretty and Target, Coney Island Arcade Cats. February 11, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Last May, Target’s shy sister Targette aka Targeretty died in the terrible fire that destroyed the Coney Island Arcade. For weeks, Target kept searching for her in the ruins of the building and crying. A few months ago, Manny took in another cat to keep Target company. Pretty is a calico who roamed the amusement area. She’s not shy like Targette, but she is skittish. No one has been able to pet her yet, though we’re going to keep trying. In these photos, Pretty reminds us of our calicos Lola and Nadja, who are in cat heaven.

Pretty the Cat

Pretty the Cat, Coney Island. February 11, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

When the games are open for business, the gregarious Target is most likely to be found sitting on the counter of the Balloon Dart helping out Jimmy. Over the past couple of years, we’ve taken enough pix of our favorite Coney Island cat to make a flickr set called Target the World Famous Coney Island Arcade Cat. His photo has also been featured in a New York Times slide show about Coney Island and magazines all over the world.

Target

Target the Coney Island Cat. February 11, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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January 26, 2011: Photo of the Day: Henderson Music Hall Cats Now Homeless

September 6, 2010: Cutie & Patootie: Coney Island Kittens Up for Adoption!

May 6, 2010: R.I.P. Targette, the Coney Island Arcade Cat’s Shy Sister

January 27, 2010: I Love NYC Pets Month Preview: Coney Island Cat Rescue

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Targette, the Sister of Target the Coney Island Arcade Cat.  Photo © Charles Denson

Targette, the Sister of Target the Coney Island Arcade Cat. Photo © Charles Denson

In our post about yesterday’s devastating fire at the Coney Island Arcade Building, we wondered about the fate of the cats who lived there.

Charles Denson just wrote with the good news that Target escaped the fire when the firemen cut the gates, and the sad news that his sister Targette (aka Targeretty) died in the fire. The firemen found her in the office where she probably died of smoke inhalation. Here’s Charlie’s portrait of her.

We’d been taking pix of Target the Coney Island Cat since 2007, but had never glimpsed his shy sister until this year. Targeretty would hide out in the office of the Coney Island Arcade while the gregarious Target made his rounds of the arcade and games and rides on the Bowery. Target will miss his little sister.

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March 27, 2010: Target the Coney Island Arcade Cat Is On Twitter!

July 21, 2009: Target the Coney Island Arcade Cat Introduces His Sister Targeretty

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Firefighters sawing into Coney Island Arcade thru the shutters to access fire.  Photo © Adam Richman via twitpic

Firefighters sawing into Coney Island Arcade thru the shutters to access fire. Photo © Adam Richman via twitpic

On the Coney Island Message Board and twitter, witnesses who live in the neighborhood began reporting a two-alarm fire at the Coney Island Arcade Building at West 12th Street and Bowery last night at 8:15 pm. The anonymous contributor who sent us the photo below said there were 7 fire trucks. The cause of the fire is unknown, but the FDNY scanner transcript reads: “20:42 hours – Duration 37 minutes. FieldCom: Transmit a 10-41 code 2 (Suspicious Fire, Vacant Structure), heavy volume of fire on arrival.”

The Coney Island Arcade and adjoining games are operated by Manny Cohen, who was attending an amusement expo in China. We’re greatly concerned about the damage to the building and his arcade business. One observer of the fire speculated: “The building structure is destroyed. They will need to build a new building there.”

We’re also concerned about the fate of the Coney Island Arcade’s beloved cats, Target and Targeretty, who live in the arcade. We frequently take photos of Target the Cat. Has anyone seen him or his sister? People on the scene informed the firefighters about the cats. We’re told that one of the cats was seen escaping from the building. (UPDATE: We just learned the sad news that Target’s sister Targette aka Targeretty died in the fire.)

On the Coney Island USA Message Board, the poster Coney Island Kid wrote: “I noticed the fire engines at approx. 8:15PM. looking toward W 12th St, I saw flames coming from the roof of the arcade at W 12th and the Bowery. Earlier today I saw workmen on the roof of that building applying a new layer of tar paper. The fire, from what I could see started inside, not on the roof.”

Coney Island Arcade, May 2, 2010. Photo © Jim McDonnell. Jimvid via smugmug

Photo taken a few days before the fire: Coney Island Arcade. May 2, 2010. Photo © Jim McDonnell. Jimvid via smugmug

On twitter, Adam Richman (mfbucket) reported “Firefighters sawing into coney island arcade thru the shutters to access” and “Smoke so thick u can’t see to the corner.” Photographer Bruce Handy told us by phone that the FDNY used a circular saw or acetylene torch to cut through the metal shutters. “The fire was stubborn because it was between the roof and the ceiling,” he said. “The firefighters had to cut open the roof to get at the fire.”

The firefighters also cut through the windows of the former Bank of Coney Island, which is next door to the arcade. But people on the scene said the arcade building was the only building damaged by the fire thanks to the fine work and fast response time of FDNY 161 and 153! The Coney Island Arcade Building is owned by Jeff Persily. Thor Equities owns the Bank of Coney Island Building, which is under threat of demolition.


Photo by Coney Island Photo Diary via flickr

Related posts on ATZ…

April 29, 2011: Burned Coney Arcade Building Finally Being Demolished

April 13, 2011: Coney Island Arcade Debuts Cobra, Braves Loss of Arcade

May 7, 2010: Photo Album: Coney Island Arcade Fire’s Awful Aftermath

May 6, 2010: R.I.P. Targette, the Coney Island Arcade Cat’s Shy Sister

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