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Thread: Coney Island "Renaissance"

  1. #166

    Default Thor's Vision - No. 1 Destination in America

    NY Daily News

    Coney Island is on a roll

    Developers are coming to Coney Island and they're thinking big.
    Thrills! Spills! Amusements like never before! Only problem is -
    they've got to tear down all the gritty little guys in their way.
    Should we let 'em?
    The answer to that question over a century ago was: Yes.
    Steeplechase, Luna Park and Dreamland were all built between 1897 and
    1904 and, according to The Encyclopedia of New York City, "soon
    replaced the concessions of small businessmen who lacked the
    foresight and the capital to undertake commercial development on a
    large scale."

    Most New Yorkers would agree that that extreme makeover was for the
    best. If we miss anything about the Coney Island of yore, it's not
    the corn dog stands, it's Steeplechase itself. That's why even a bona
    fide nostalgia (and corn dog) nut like me is glad the city is
    redeveloping Coney Island. I'm even cautiously psyched about private
    developers like Thor Equities, a company currently snapping up prime
    chunks of Coney with mysterious plans for something huge and new.

    "Thor's vision is to develop Coney Island to its glory days when it
    was the No. 1 destination in America," said company spokesman John
    Marino. He couldn't say more, except to hint that plans probably will
    not include a shopping mall, despite rumors.

    Let's hope he's right. Coney is a place for taking off your clothes,
    not buying new ones. But if it takes some serious money or even
    suburban amenities to ramp up the renaissance, I say: Bring on the
    Body Shop!

    Strolling the boardwalk the other day, it was clear the place is on a
    roll. "I've been coming to here since I was 1," said Tony Braccia,
    55. "When we were kids it was like coming to Disneyland. But in
    the '70s, heroin took over." The place emptied out.

    "Then [Mayor Rudy] Giuliani cleaned the city up," piped in his
    friend, John Amino.

    Crime went down. The beach filled up again. "I was here July 4 two
    years ago, you couldn't even see the water, that's how packed it
    was," said Tony.

    Barry Glass, a retired teacher working at Coney Island Souvenirs,
    sees even more evidence of an upswing: The sand is clean. "Too clean!
    We used to be able to find money, gold jewelry. The best I could do
    last year is I found a MetroCard in the water with $1.50 on it."

    Part of the credit goes to the revamped subway station that looks
    like something out of "The Jetsons." The brand new bathrooms along
    the beach are a huge boon, too. And while I was against the Cyclones
    Stadium, I was wrong: It brought life to Coney. So far, the city's
    redevelopment has shown both sensitivity and vision.

    Dick Zigun, founder of Coney Island USA and as devoted to historic
    Coney as anyone, also is pleased. He likes plans for future upgrades.
    But he worries about what might happen if the developers tear down
    too much of what makes Coney Coney - including his sideshow, which
    was given only a one-year lease renewal.

    If the city continues its wise ways, it will save what needs saving
    and spruce what needs sprucing, even as developers give us enough
    thrills and spills to make Coney Island as exciting as it was a
    hundred years ago.

    Originally published on July 3, 2005

  2. #167


    Marty was in Coney today. Talking about the Parachute Jump at the Coney Island Beauty contest- (Some real hot chicks there). Phase 1 - Parachute Jump lit permanently at the base and top in late August. Phase 2 - A design of lights depicting parachutes in 1 to 2 years.

  3. #168

    Question Coney Island Again...

    Hi! New here. I found this forum on a search trying to find out what ever happened to plans to Disneyfy Coney Island. The thread was really old - 2003, and so I thought I'd go ahead and start a new one. Whatever happened to the rumors of a Disney takeover? Is there going to be one? Etc., etc., etc.....

    Just visited Coney Island yesterday after not having been in more than 19 years. It was really wonderful seeing all the sites, but the place could use some sprucing up.... I'd like to see it retain its unique Brooklyn charm though...


  4. #169


    Gah.... that's what I get... I didn't even see that that thread was stickied.... guess I'll go reading some more!


  5. #170
    Banned Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY


    There's lots of info at WiredNY and you can dig deeper at the Bulletin Board at

  6. #171


    City To Buy Coney Island Carousel For Almost $2 Million

    August 09, 2005

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Tuesday that the city's bid to buy the Coney Island Carousel for $1.8 million has been accepted.

    The city wanted to buy the carousel to keep it from being sold to another city.

    Last week the city increased its offer to more than $1 million, but the president of the auction house hired to oversee the sale said the city's bid was still too low, adding the carousel could be worth up to $3 million.

    The carousel has stood at Coney Island's Surf Avenue since 1932. It was shut down in May after the owners decided to sell it.

  7. #172
    Banned Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY


    This is another INVESTMENT in Coney Island by the city. Things are looking up!

  8. #173
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    West Harlem


    That was odd. I didn't even consider the city purchasing it.

  9. #174


    PR- 351-05
    September 14, 2005


    Mayor Commits Additional $50 Million to Carry Out Implementation, Raising Total Funding Commitment to $83.2 Million

    Public Improvements Will Spur More Than $1 Billion In Private Investment, Creating 2,000 Permanent And 10,000 Construction Jobs In Area Over Next 20 Years

    Video (56k)
    Video (300k)

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today unveiled the strategic plan for Coney Island, which will transform the area into a year-round entertainment destination with seaside attractions and a stronger residential community. The Mayor also announced an additional $50 million to implement the plan after previously pledging $23 million. Combined with the Brooklyn Borough President's $7 million and Congressman Jerrold Nadler's $3.2 million, a total of $83.2 million is now dedicated to making improvements to the area. The Coney Island Strategic Plan calls for enhanced entertainment attractions that take advantage of the area's unique appeal, a new community center for job training and recreational uses, and the increase of affordable housing on vacant City-owned land. Borough President Marty Markowitz, Council Member Domenic M. Recchia Jr., Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Rebuilding Daniel L. Doctoroff, Coney Island Development Corporation (CIDC) Chairman Joshua Sirefman and Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined the Mayor for the announcement on Coney Island's historic boardwalk.

    "Coney Island holds a special place in New York City's history, and the redevelopment plan will celebrate its unique character while ensuring a spectacular future through infrastructure improvements, enhanced public spaces and appropriate development of vacant property," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We will capitalize on key assets such as the beautiful waterfront and KeySpan Park while attracting diverse new businesses that will transform Coney Island into a year-round visitor destination. Our collective commitment of $83.2 million will jumpstart the infrastructure improvements required to attract the kind of private development partners necessary to make these goals a reality. This has been an extraordinary planning effort over the past two years, and I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to bring us to this important milestone."

    "Coney Island has been much imitated but never duplicated," said Borough President Markowitz. "This plan will preserve Coney's famed freakishness and fun-loving spirit, while residents and businesses benefit from their neighborhood's rebirth as a 24/7 tourist and family destination. The whole world knows that Coney Island is the ultimate in American character and funk. Coney Island has been called America's playground and it will be so again."

    "I am thrilled that in collaboration with Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Miller, the Coney Island Development Corporation has produced a brilliant and visionary strategic plan for the future of Coney Island," said Council Member Recchia. "Coney Island has always been New York's playground and I am confident under the guidance of this plan, Coney Island will once again be the playground of the world."

    The $83.2 million public investment will be used to make necessary infrastructure and public environment improvements. These include the creation of new streets and open space, better parking and transportation solutions and site preparation work, along with targeted projects that reflect the character of Coney Island such as improvements to the aquarium, parachute pavilion and the construction of the community center. It is anticipated that these public improvements will lead to more than $1 billion in private investment over the next 10 years, creating about 2,000 permanent jobs and 10,000 construction jobs in the area over the next 20 years. As part of the next phase of the plan, the Department of City Planning will work with CIDC to refine the zoning strategy by setting design guidelines and determining the appropriate square footage for entertainment, retail and hotel space as well as the number of residential units and square footage of new parks and open space, while also ensuring the protection of the existing amusements.

    Mayor Bloomberg, working closely with the City Council and Borough President Markowitz, established the Coney Island Development Corporation in September of 2003 to develop and implement a comprehensive planning process and economic strategy for Coney Island. The 13-member board held dozens of meetings with community constituents including amusement operators, local businesses and residents, and held numerous public outreach meetings to ensure that all facets of the Coney Island community were represented in the planning process.

    The vision for Coney Island in the plan includes:

    - The transformation of Stillwell Avenue into Stillwell Midway, a spectacular public open space connecting existing amusements with new development.

    - A redesigned Steeplechase Plaza incorporating new open space around the iconic Parachute Jump between KeySpan Park and the boardwalk. It will feature the winning design of the Parachute Pavilion Design Competition by the London team of Kevin Carmody, Andrew Groarke, Chris Hardie and Lewis Kinneir.

    - New entertainment uses and retail amenities east of KeySpan Park that will further support the existing amusement attractions.

    - An increase of year-round activity on Surf Avenue including the possible addition of a hotel and spa.

    - The establishment of a multicultural community center that will contribute to making western Coney Island a vibrant residential neighborhood and provide essential job training and community services.

    - The development of affordable housing on City-owned property in the residential area.

    - Improving the public environment and making improvements to both Surf and Mermaid Avenues.

    - Enhanced boardwalk activity with added cultural activities, changing facilities and connections to the beach and boardwalk.

    - Better integration of the New York Aquarium with the adjacent amusement area by building on the aquarium master plan.

    - Improvement of the area's parking and transit infrastructure.

    Design and implementation of the public components of the plan will begin immediately, with the majority of the projects expected to be completed in the next few years. For example, it is anticipated that improvements to the boardwalk will be completed by the end of 2007, while the revamped steeplechase plaza, the redesigned midway and the community center will be built by 2009.

    "This comprehensive plan takes advantage of Coney Island's incredible waterfront location and historic past, while providing a substantial and sustainable basis on which we can build a very promising future," said CIDC Chairman Sirefman, who also serves as Chief of Staff to Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Rebuilding Daniel Doctoroff. "Special thanks go to Borough President Markowitz, Councilmember Recchia, Congressman Nadler, the CIDC board and the many members of the community for their tremendous support, cooperation and input that made this plan possible. I am extremely grateful for the countless hours and the incredible dedication of all the members of the Coney Island Development Corporation."

    The amusements and seaside attractions have been drawing visitors from all over the world for more than a century. According to the Coney Island Chamber of Commerce, an estimated 5.3 million people visit the area via public transportation each season. In recent years, the City has invested $39 million for the construction of the highly successful KeySpan Park baseball stadium, and $18 million toward the restoration of the Riegelmann Boardwalk and construction of new comfort and lifeguard stations. Last month, Mayor Bloomberg announced the City's plan to acquire the historic Bishoff & Brienstein (B&B) Carousell for $1.8 million to make sure this wonderful attraction remains in Coney Island. The 50-horse amusement attraction has been a fixture on Surf Avenue for over 70 years and will be restored and preserved for the enjoyment of future generations. In addition, the Metropolitan Transit Authority completed a $240 million renovation of the Stillwell Avenue subway station, and the New York Aquarium is currently undergoing a $45 million master plan and renovation.

    Copyright 2005 The City of New York

  10. #175

  11. #176
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Jackson Heights


    To those of you who have been following this process closely: Were any of the details of this announcement new or surprising, or was this just a kick-off for plans we already knew about? Any other reactions?

  12. #177
    Banned Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY


    The only thing "new" was the Mayors assertion that the sea and Keyspan park were the assets of Coney Island as opposed to the Amusement Zone.

    Also, the talk of a Stillwell Ave Midway connecting the "Amusement Zone" to new development, cryptically alluding to the fact that "new development" property in the C7 amusement zone west of Stillwell may be rezoned.

    Apparently, Thors plans are published in the coming issue of New York Magazine.

    I think Bloomberg is getting ready to put his fist up the arse of the C.I. loving public.

  13. #178



    Coney plan tops Vegas, mag sez


    The first glimpse of a developer's plans for Coney Island is being revealed by New York magazine - and it makes the Bellagio in Las Vegas look like a monument to minimalism.

    Thor Equities magnate Joe Sitt has dreamed up a garish $1 billion entertainment and retail complex that's part Taj Mahal, part Xanadu.

    If he gets his way, a shimmering double-flanked, 500-room hotel with a waterfall cascading down one side will loom over the Boardwalk. Blimps will land on the roof, a 100-foot slide will anchor an indoor water park, fireworks will explode off a new pier and an enormous carousel will leave visitors dizzy.

    "We want to evoke the same feeling you get when you're in Vegas," he told New York's Greg Sargent. "It's exciting. It's illuminated. It's sexy."

    It's also just a fantasy - for the moment.

    Sitt has snapped up a dozen properties in Coney and is negotiating for more, but he still has to raise cash from investors and get the city to sign off on his plans.

    Joshua Sirefman, chairman of the Coney Island Development Corp., called Sitt's sketch "just a conceptual image."

    "There is a lot of work to be done to understand the scale and the style," he said. "We care a lot that the character of Coney Island is maintained."

    The owners of most Coney Island fixtures - the freak show, Astroland, Ruby's bar, Faber's arcade - support development, as long as they're not displaced or eclipsed.

    But Kenny Kaufman, 33, who owns the batting cages, go-carts and minigolf course near the Boardwalk, was aghast when he saw a drawing of the Thor complex.

    "Unless you're planning on putting a casino here, there's no way that hotel is going to make any money," he said. "This is not something the people of Coney Island want."

    Customer Eric Murooney, 25, of Sheepshead Bay called Sitt's vision "a monstrosity."

    "It would be a shame if you took all this away," he said of the shabbily enchanting landscape around him.

    Still, Donna Vernon, 52, who lives on Mermaid Ave., said she would welcome any change in the neighborhood - even a hotel that charges $300 a night.

    "I'm tired of them saying that they're going to build something up in Coney Island," she said. "Just do it already."

  14. #179
    Banned Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY


    Quote Originally Posted by Daily News
    ...Joshua Sirefman, chairman of the Coney Island Development Corp., called Sitt's sketch "just a conceptual image."...
    All this time and they don't even have the balls to stand behind the project. Watch for a bait and switch.

  15. #180
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Quote Originally Posted by NYguy
    Coney plan tops Vegas, mag sez
    The first glimpse of a developer's plans for Coney Island is being revealed by New York magazine - and it makes the Bellagio in Las Vegas look like a monument to minimalism...Thor Equities magnate Joe Sitt has dreamed up a garish $1 billion entertainment and retail complex that's part Taj Mahal, part Xanadu.
    Any images of this plan?

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