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Beer Island, Shoot the Freak, Two NYC Landmarks Gone

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Summertime in New York City is gone. Not just because the heat has finally given way to a crisp-as-a-granny-smith-apple-in-autumn chill, but because a number of beloved New York City summer institutions are gone for good.

Among other notable establishments, Beer Island and Shoot the Freak will not reopen on Coney Island next summer, The New York Times reports. In addition, the current owner of the world-famous Cyclone rollercoaster is also calling it quits.

For those of us who have sipped on a flat Coors light on the sort of rocky sand pit that was Beer Island, the place needs no introduction. And for those who’ve never had that distinct pleasure, you already know the kind of place we’re talking about.

No, Beer Island wasn’t an island (maybe it used to be a parking lot?). And no, the beer was usually pretty mediocre (but cheap!). But where else in the city could you sit around a rickety plastic table with friends, bask in the heat, and watch as plastic palm trees swayed in the ocean breeze?


And with it, another dearly-loved Coney Island institution: Shoot the Freak. Without getting too graphic, Shoot the Freak was pretty much a miniature shooting range where customers could plunk down five bucks and actually fire a paintball gun at a real, living human being who tried (always in vain) to get away.

It was horrific. Disgusting. Barbarian to the core.

And now, it’s gone.

Both institutions were victims of a brutal real-estate market. The Times reports that Central Amusement International, a subsidiary of the Italian company Zamperla, will likely take over operation of the Cyclone. The company recently won a 10-year lease from the city to open its new amusement park on Coney Island, on which it says it’s invested $15 million.

Plenty of money to build a new Beer Island and find a new freak to shoot, if you ask me.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.