Fascinating — Demolished Coney arcade to rise again

Fascinating — Demolished Coney arcade to rise again
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

The legendary Faber’s Fascination arcade will reopen in a Surf Avenue building owned by the same “developer” who tore down its original Coney Island home.

The arcade’s iconic marquee first lit up Henderson’s Music Hall at Stillwell and Surf avenues more than 50 years ago, but property owner Thor Equities demolished the dilapidated building late last year to make way for indoor attractions that have yet to be built.

But Faber’s owner Carlo Muraco will bring his gaming haven to a vacant building on W. 12th Street that’s owned by Thor.

Old-school Coney enthusiasts were delighted to hear about the ironic move.

“This is great news!” said Dick Zigun, founder of Coney Island USA, which operates the sideshow and the Mermaid Parade.

Muraco is sub-letting the first floor of the building from Joya Funding Group, which is leasing the space from owner Thor Equities. Thor did not confirm the return of Faber’s, but a rep from Joya, who declined to give his name, told us that “Faber’s is definitely opening.”

Muraco, who also owns Beer Island on Stillwell Avenue and co-owned the bulldozed Shoot the Freak attraction, has big plans for the revamped Faber’s: he’ll install recent game crazes like Dance Dance Revolution near vintage games such as Mission Command. Muraco will also book interactive entertainers, such as celebrity look-alikes.

“You can get your dance on and still experience games from the original Faber’s,” Muraco said.

As for the marquee, Muraco couldn’t salvage the original “Faber’s Fascination” display, but will hang another glowing sign out front that reads “Faber’s Game World.”

“This looks a lot like the old sign,” Muraco said.

The return of Faber’s is a boon to Muraco, who has not been able to find a space to reopen Shoot the Freak. The paintball booth was razed by another developer — Central Amusement — to become an entrance to the Scream Zone amusement park.

Faber’s, opened in the 1960s by amusement entrepreneur Nat Faber, is a relic of Coney Island history. He named his business after the popular Fascination game, which dates back in the 1920s and is similar to Skee Ball. The Faber family operated the arcade until the 1970s, when it began changing hands before Muraco purchased it once and for all 20 years ago.

Thor did not only demolish the Henderson Building, but also the Coney Island Bank building on W. 12th Street and Surf Avenue and the Shore Hotel on Surf Avenue and Henderson’s Walk.

The company, owned by Joe Sitt, has not produced one brick-and-mortar structure in Coney Island since acquiring 12-1/2 acres in 2005. Thor later sold seven of those acres to the city, abandoning its alleged quest to create a Coney Xanadu with indoor rides and retail. Now the company appears to be focusing on retail as the city pursues the amusement parks and other attractions.