Thursday, August 19, 2010

Coney Island subway gets its 'Star'

By Michele De Meglio

Lola Star is transforming the Stillwell Avenue subway station in Coney Island into a sparkly pink paradise.

After four years of negotiations with the MTA, Dianna Carlin finally opened her boutique inside the station’s Surf Avenue entrance.

“It took about a year to sign a lease and three years working with architects,” Carlin said. “I had no idea it would be so complicated or take so long, but the store is here and it’s spectacular.”

Carlin’s Lola Star shop on the Boardwalk, between 12th Street and Stillwell Avenue, focuses on Coney Island-themed T-shirts and beach-friendly gear, but the new subway store is all about funky fashion. The awesome accessories, many of which are designed by Carlin herself, include quirky plastic tote bags ($12), skull earrings ($35) and wallets featuring drawings of enchanting cartoon ladies ($36).

The shop itself has plenty of pizazz thanks to a black chandelier and a black-and-white checkerboard floor.

“It’s how I always wanted my store to look,” Carlin said. “It was really good to fulfill my vision.”

The subway store is here to stay thanks to a 10-year lease, but the Boardwalk boutique’s future isn’t as clear. Central Amusement International, the operator of Luna Park, recently asked Carlin and other Boardwalk merchants to explain why they should keep their spots on the Boardwalk next year.

Carlin says she’ll make a strong argument — and remain on the Boardwalk for years.

“My fantasy is to be an old lady with pink hair selling T-shirts,” Carlin said.

Lola Star Boutique [Surf and Stillwell avenues in Coney Island, (800) 362-5116]. For info, visit


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