Shoot the Freak

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Summer 2009
Location: Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York

Shoot the Freak's paintball game was held in an empty, garbage-strewn lot between boardwalk businesses. It appealed to those with a taste for the strange, and a mild violent streak. The namesake "freak" was well-protected but played the part of a taunting, damaged target to perfection.

In the summer of 2009, staffers weren't sure how worried they needed to be with Astroland's closure. Many of the boys who worked there expected this bizarre summer job to last until they were ready to leave it, and a few had been there since the beginning. The boys who worked at the boardwalk game were sweet, enthusiastic, and good at their jobs.

Shoot the Freak and owner Anthony Berlingieri's other business Beer Island are part of the Coney Island 8, fighting to hold on to their leases. However, Shoot the Freak's lot was razed before the eviction was final. While the other businesses in the group will operate in 2011 as negotiations continue, Shoot the Freak's future is uncertain.