Stanley Fox

Retired Coney Island arcade operator recalls his family's 30-plus years in the business

Stan Fox's family operated arcades in Coney Island from 1949 through 1981, including Playland Arcade. Born in 1944, Stan recalls his earliest memories of living in a railroad flat on Mermaid Avenue, watching the trolley cars go by, and playing in the penny arcades when most games cost a penny. When he turned 16, he became a manager of one of his brother's arcades. "Back in the 1950s, my brother had three arcades on the Boardwalk and there were a total of 12 penny arcades on the Boardwalk," he says. "And in 1981, the last year that I was on the Boardwalk running my arcade, I was the last one standing."

Among Stan's memories are Coney Island's close-knit community of family owned amusement businesses and game operators, getting drafted during the Vietnam War, and rough times for Coney Island starting in 1968, after the Martin Luther King assassination riots. "It's made an amazing turnaround and I'm glad I'm here to see it," he says of the Coney Island amusement area of today.