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It’s game over for the Coney Island Arcade.
Bowery Street game man Manny Cohen agreed in court to leave his 22-year spot near W. 12th Street by April 28 after weeks of legal wrangling, joining a carny exodus from the corridor. But landlord Matt Weinberg promised that his booths will still offer honky-tonk fun this summer.
Cohen, who got an eviction notice in January, said he had no problem unplugging his machines from his longtime address because he was sick of dealing with Weinberg and his partner Jeff Persily. A fire destroyed half of Cohen’s operation in 2010, an incident he blamed on his landlords in a lawsuit. Weinberg denied he and Persily were at fault for the blaze.
“All I wanted was 75 days. If they let me stay for free, I wouldn’t stay any longer,” said Cohen, adding that he did not know what he will do after closing up shop.
Weinberg said he already has another tenant lined up to move into Cohen’s spot — and, though he couldn’t say who they were or what kind of operation they would run, he promised they would not be opening a slick national franchise.
“They’re mom-and-pop carnival people. We’re looking to keep the flavor of Coney Island the same,” said Weinberg.
Other evictees from the Weinberg- and Persily-owned block are fishbowl game operator Jeff Brooks, who agreed to leave at the end of March, and Balloon Water Race owner Victoria Glover, who never appeared in tenants court and whom Weinberg said he intends to remove as soon as possible. Brooks said his one-year-old booth wasn’t profitable enough for him to care about leaving.
“You usually make big money with a fishbowl game. I didn’t make big money. It’s an awkward location,” said Brooks, who has worked in the People’s Playground for most of his life.
Glover could not be reached for comment.
Weinberg and Persily are allowing the Wally and Dinah arcade and Bernard Farmanski’s hot dog stand to remain on the block for the time being. Weinberg said he kicked out Cohen and his fellow carnies — none of whom had leases — because they were not paying rent, not paying in a timely manner, and pestering him and Persily with frivolous lawsuits.
“We’re just looking to minimize our torture,” said Weinberg.Reach reporter Will Bredderman at email@example.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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