Chinatown Fair Arcade Should Reopen in May!
We’re still on cloud nine after learning last month that Chinatown Fair Arcade is being resurrected from the ashes at 8 Mott Street. To be honest, it’s been a rough year without the gamer paradise directly in our collective backyard. Thanks to enterprising tipster @real_danimal, we now have some exclusive information about what to expect, including the alleged elimination of tokens and the possible return of the Tic-Tac-Toe chicken!
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Enough rambling. Here’s the intel:
I was walking around the neighborhood last week & was surprised to see construction on the space. All the old games were taken out. Some of them were piled up in the back, with a few pieces of the old wall panels. The red stained glass lamps were still hanging from the ceiling but I got the distinct feeling they were the next to go. The walls (cinderblock – I’d never noticed before) were painted with stair-step pattern in pastels (mint green, melon, maybe lavender? It sort of like a mid-80s fashion palette).
There were a couple of construction workers outside so I asked them what they were putting there — and was super surprised to hear it was going to stay an arcade. After I’d been talking to one of the guys for about 10 minutes I learned that he wasn’t just a worker on the place, he was the actual owner. The old owner retired and sold it to him. This dude (I think his name was Pete…possibly Paul? definitely started with a “P”) lives in New Jersey but grew up in the neighborhood (around the block on Mulberry). He already owns 2 or 3 other arcades – one in Clifton, NJ…the others elsewhere in NJ.
He said he wanted to “clean up the element” of the place and make it more “family-friendly” (P’s actual words). He said the new place would have a mix of old and new games and made it sound like there’d be a decent selection of older games; I went there for Centipede and PacMan, myself. I asked about DDR (always loved watching kids on those), & he told me they couldn’t get new Dance Dance Revolution games, but that they’d be getting similar dance games made by another company.
He was talking about “the old neighborhood” (guessing he was early 40s-ish), and pointing out what businesses used to be in the different storefronts up and down Mott. He pointed out that the arcade used to be across the street from its current location, and that’s when I mentioned the chicken. He said “we’re looking for a chicken now” (where does one seek such a chicken? I didn’t ask but have wondered several times since) and that he knew “PETA would be all over it,” but that the publicity would ultimately draw people to the new arcade. He also said there wouldn’t be any more tokens & that the new place would be using a swipe-card system. Most of the new games were supposed to arrive last Friday, I think, and he says the new place will open sometime in May.