Childs Restaurants were a NYC-based chain that peaked around the 1920s and 1930s. With a focus on casual, economical dining, the restaurants also innovated in the areas of cleanliness and hygiene, and were the first to introduce the self-service “tray line.”
The Coney Island location, at 2102 Boardwalk, was built in 1924 and is covered in elaborate ornamentation featuring Neptune, sailing ships, and fish. It’s grotesque and amazing. In the middle of winter, this lone building on the edge of an empty beach has a haunting presence.
Today, thanks to a competition sponsored by Tommy Hilfiger and Glamour Magazine, this location is a roller-skating rink; read more about one woman’s dream come true here, and learn more about her Dreamland Roller Rink.
My sister, with typical Coney-centric attitude, disapproves of the roller rink. She says that “Childs sold out.” Well, buildings themselves don’t sell out but, when I heard about this reuse, I smirked at the visions of skinny-jeaned Williamsburg hipsters descending on Coney for a day of ironic rollerskating. The URL of the venue is even plastered on the building [I didn’t have the heart to document that].
On the other hand, if this building became obsolete, and if someone has successfully fulfilled a vision of adaptive reuse, who am I to judge? It’s a crazy, landmarked building that deserves to continue being used and appreciated. So, bring on the hipsters, if you must.