The Invisible Web

Your Trip Into the Chapel Perilous

Remembering the Chinatown Fair…

Posted by invizweb on March 5, 2011

(C) NYC the Blog

Chinatown Fair,a local institution in New York City and Chinatown landmark closed on Saturday late night. This video game arcade was also known as Tic Tac Toe x Chicken, due to the previous attraction of playing a game of Tic Tac Toe against a live chicken in a machine, all for the price of $1 (in the late 80s at least). [Video after the jump]

The Fair was one of the last independent video arcades in Manhattan. It was also probably one of the only few that focused on Fighting and Bemani (dance/rhythm) games. I remember when I went to wait on line to play Street Fighter II: Champion Edition in the early 90s, and being coerced to give my spot on the line with threats by local rudos and promises of ice cream by sharply dressed men.  Lines abound would be also for King of Fighter 97 and Tekken 2.   My favorite memories however, would be the hours my younger brother and I would spend $10s on quarters to play the two Konami Beat’em up games The Simpsons  Arcade Game (where Bart, Lisa, Homer, and Marge race to save Maggie from Montgomery Burns and Wayland Smithers who kidnap her due to a ruby accidentally in her possession – this is of course before she learned how to use firearms), and X-Men in the mid 90s.

In 2010, Kotaku did a story on Chinatown Fair being a safe space for LGBT youth. “Teens feel safe to be openly gay here,” said then 17-year old Gabriel Cortez.

My condolences to the staff at the Chinatown Fair.



The story of the Chicken and his Tic Tac Toe game.

The Chinatown Fair Arcade Archival Project.

One Response to “Remembering the Chinatown Fair…”

  1. Oh man, around ’95 I was working for an online zine (!), and was asked to go take photos with this clunky early-model digital camera of the chicken and write a story about it. Well, I got really baked, put on headphones and walked down to Chinatown Fair. I “played it cool” by walking around looking at stuff, played a few games, then whipped out the camera and headed straight for the chicken. I swear that I barely got one photo snapped (blurry) when about 15 tough Chinese guys appeared, surrounded me and started pushing me around and asking what I was doing. They did not at all like me taking photos of the chicken!! I was pushed outside on the curb where they continued to keep me surrounded while yelling at me in Chinese. I was scared shitless! lol! Thankfully, nothing really happened. I convinced them that I had no idea what I was doing (which was sort of true in the clouded state I was in) and they were pleased to see me scared and let me go. I told my editor that I needed a new assignment!

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