Coney Island Quandary: Applebee’s or Shoot The Freak?

The Wall Street Journal: “It’s a quandary faced by the few original mom-and-pop concessions operating in a Coney Island now dominated by the likes of IHOP, Applebee’s and the squeaky-clean Luna Park. Is it better to evolve, or capitalize on nostalgia?”

“Corn-dog mecca Paul’s Daughter used to be the craziest looking joint on the boardwalk, with a riot of screaming signs and a display of fried food that was even more dizzying. It was with great reluctance that the family acquiesced to the landlord and modernized … Some of the old signs hang on the stand’s back wall, including one for corn-on-the-cob, which is confusing because corn is no longer served. Now it’s craft beer and $17 lobster rolls.”

“Among the outfits evicted from the boardwalk were Beer Island and Shoot the Freak, a wonderfully horrid ‘game’ that had players shooting paintballs at a live human target scrambling around a dusty pit … Carlo Muraco, who owned both ventures, now manages Margarita Island, a tiki bar tucked into one of the area’s more obscure alleys. The place is just five years old, but with its delightfully garish décor and Zoltar Fortune Teller Machine, it looks like it has been there forever.” He comments: “Coney Island is gritty. People come down here to let loose. It’s more of an adult park than a kiddie park in some of these areas.”

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