Game on! Coney Island Arcade owner battles eviction in court

A Coney Island landlord is trying to pull the plug on a Bowery Street arcade that he claims fell behind on rent, but the man behind the video games says he is a good tenant — and has scans of his cashed checks to prove it.

Bowery Street booth owner Matt Weinberg wants to evict the half-dozen carnies who occupy his property near W. 12th Street because they don’t pay their rent in full or on time and are responsible for other unspecified “shenanigans,” but Coney Island Arcade owner Manny Cohen says that’s a bunch of malarkey.

“It’s all b——-,” said Cohen, who showed us canceled checks indicating he paid $15,000 to Weinberg and his partner Jeff Persily in three installments in 2012, in what he claims has always been the policy with his landlords in his 22 years in business.

Cohen, who does not have a lease, says the landlord is simply trying to squeeze him out to make room for a new, big-name tenant in an attempt to cash in on the People’s Playgound’s transition into a more polished — and less honky-tonk — amusement destination.

Weinberg claims that Cohen’s rent is significantly higher than $15,000, though he would not give the exact figure. He also denied that he was looking to rent to a high-end tenant.

“The time has come for us and Mr. Manny Cohen to part ways,” said Weinberg. “We’re looking for better tenants who will pay the rent, pay it on time, and not give us grief.”

The vibe at the booths won’t change a bit under new tenants, Weinberg said, and Coney revelers will still be in store for great fun and prizes.

“You will see better mom-and-pop operators with booths where you can fill up a water balloon or win a goldfish,” said Weinberg, adding that the new tenants would not have leases either.

The fight will head to court on Feb. 11.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.

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