Two entrepreneurs are trying to accomplish the ultimate feat of pinball wizardry—turning New York City into a Mecca for the game it once banned.
Steve Epstein, 65 years old, and Steve Zahler, 44, are the proprietors of Modern Pinball, which opened in late October in the Kips Bay neighborhood of Manhattan. Aficionados call Modern Pinball a rarity, because it isn’t an arcade with a vast selection of games. It is all pinball, all the time.
Mr. Epstein and Mr. Zahler’s arcade—they invested a low-six-figure sum—is representative of the game’s resurgence in the city. Kristopher Medina, the founder of the thriving Pinball New York City league, said the boom is being driven by today’s hipster-minded generation and their penchant for claiming yesteryear’s pastimes as their own.
“Even though it’s more than 100 years old, pinball is new,” said Mr. Medina, who has seen his league’s ranks grow from 25 players in 2011—its first year—to a current pool of 225. The league plays at bars throughout the city and draws a mix of artists, lawyers and “Wall Street types,” he added.
All us Arcade Punks dream of opening our own arcades, imagine a hobby you get paid for! So we look upon all these places with respect and to learn a thing or two, this place does it RIGHT, it is wristband not credit operated and is on top of the latest tech including colour marquees and scrollers (DMDs), something hardcore pinball fans *could* get confused about, but we LOVE it.
The boom is taking place in a city where pinball was once verboten. In 1942, then-Mayor Fiorello La Guardia forbade the game, arguing it was connected to the mob. He wrote in a Supreme Court affidavit at the time that pinball had become “a racket” that robbed the “pockets of schoolchildren in the form of nickels and dimes given them as lunch money.” The ban lasted until 1976, when an amusement trade association successfully made its case to the New York City Council that pinball was a legitimate game of skill.
Whilst we dont live anywhere near New York City, we do intend to check this place out whilst completing our bucket lists – let us know if you have checked this place out in the comments below.