The New Coney Island - Brooklyn's Times Square by the Sea

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

And its working......

Brooklyn Paper excerpt -

“The latest shuttering of businesses on the Boardwalk is yet another sign that it’s necessary for the city’s plan to revitalize Coney Island to succeed so that we can bring certainty to the area and give Coney Island a chance to grow and thrive,” said Janel Patterson, a spokeswoman for the Economic Development Corporation.

http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/32/1/32_1_mm_boardwalk.html



Lola Starr off the boardwalk

This is basically a business strategy where Thor is forcing the city to rezone, and none of the newspapers are really picking up on it.

NY Post excerpt -
Dianna Carlin, the popular boardwalk boutique owner who has been a vocal opponent of developer Joe Sitt's plans to build condos in the amusement district, was told he won't renew her lease.

She told The Post a Sitt employee called, "breaking the news and to wish a happy new year" in the same breath. Carlin plans to move Lola Staar Souvenir Boutique, which has been at the boardwalk since 2000, to the Stillwell Avenue subway terminal.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/12312008/news/regionalnews/brooklyn/coney_grinch_boots_boutique_146649.htm

Friday, December 26, 2008

Dyker Heights $6.5 million Banquet Hall finally opens

Brooklyn Eagle Excerpt-

Dyker Beach Golf Course’s New $6.5M Banquet Hall Finally Opens
by Harold Egeln (
edit@brooklyneagle.net), published online 12-18-2008

‘A Brooklyn Wow Experience’ for Golfers, Wedding Parties, Diners
By Harold Egeln Brooklyn Daily Eagle

DYKER HEIGHTS — Dyker Beach Golf Course’s new clubhouse banquet and catering hall with more room and venues and its Grill Room dining space are places for all seasons and all reasons, from weddings and parties to social, corporate and public events, and golf tournaments.

“It’s an amazing facility for the community, making for a Brooklyn ‘wow’ experience for many public events,” said Matthew Silver, regional director of catering for NYC Events at American Golf Corporation. He led a tour of the larger renovated clubhouse at the entrance to the sprawling, world-renowned championship urban golf course at 86th Street and Seventh Avenue.

More here

http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=27&id=25326

Will Deno's be the only property left standing going into rezoning?

Remember folks, ULURP is supposed to start 1st quarter 09. Will most of Coney's core area be vacant by then? It's very possible this could be the developer's strategy to get Coney rezoned.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mill Basin sale for $1.3 million

Part of a new development

From Brownstoner

3. MILL BASIN $1,300,000 68 Bell Point Drive This home appears to be part of a planned community called the Bay Front Estates at Mill Basin. Interestingly, Google Maps does not recognize the address on this one. According to StreetEasy, it's a 4,313-sf, 4-bed house. Entered into contract on 11/3/08; closed on 12/15/08; deed recorded on 12/18/08.

http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2008/12/last_weeks_bigg_42.php

Aviator Sports not expanding to 2 more hangars

I was told this week that Aviator has no plans to move into other hangars at Floyd Bennett contradicting what was reported in the Eagle this past summer. I was hoping for expansion.

But we do have bowling (Gil Hodges Lanes in Mill Basin) and indoor swimming (Brooklyn Sports Club in Starrett and The Paerdegat in Canarsie) nearby. I was just hoping Aviator could turn into Brooklyn's Chelsea Piers. Oh Well.

Starrett City Sale down to a single bidder

NY Times Excerpt -

Effort to Sell Starrett City Is Down to Single Bidder
By
CHARLES V. BAGLI
Published: December 19, 2008

And then there was one.

The owners of Starrett City, the sprawling low- and moderate-income housing complex on Jamaica Bay in Brooklyn, are negotiating with the finalist in the bidding to buy the property: a group that includes the Christian Cultural Center, the Cogsville Group, the Clarett Group and the nonprofit Housing Partnership Development Corporation.

It does not mean that a deal will be struck in what has become a closely watched two-year effort to sell the 5,881 apartments in 46 towers at Starrett City, the nation’s largest federally subsidized housing development.

More here

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/20/nyregion/20starrett.html?ref=nyregion

2009 Forced Rezone

It's finally going to happen. Thanks Joe Sitt for making this rezoning happen for Coney. Brooklyn has been waiting for a redeveloped Coney Island for decades!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Boo Hoo Hoo Cry Cry Cry Waaaaa!

I am reading all these blogs crying that Coney businesses are shutting down. This place is deserted 9 months a year and the city hasn't rezoned it since promising development 6 freakin years ago! Cry that Coney is still in the same miserable shape since the 70s and deserted all winter. Cry that the current Coney hasn't worked for decades and that its a ghost town most of the year with no jobs or business at all most of our lives.

Nimbyism is hurting Coney and hurting Coney badly. It has no prayer at all with out year round change. Things are going to change and soon. Thank G-D! The web is full of Nimby blogs with no foresight at all. And mostly no caring about the residents of Brooklyn. It's unfortunate.

Thor forcing the city's hand........continued

Good for him. This zoning talk has gone on for 6 years almost. Things will start to move now.

NY Post excerpt - CONEY ISLAND 'FOR RENT'

Stefan Friedman, Sitt's spokesman, said the boardwalk would be "open and active" with amusements next summer if Sitt still owns the land.

Lynn Kelly, who heads the city's Coney Island Development Corp., said Sitt's behavior shows why the mayor's planned rezoning is needed, "so that the boardwalk businesses and all of Coney Island have a chance to thrive."

Sources say both the city and Sitt remain apart in sale negotiations. As the Post reported, Sitt wants $200 million to $250 million for his land; about double what he paid accumulating it over the past few years. The city, however, wants to pay well below $200 million.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/12242008/news/regionalnews/brooklyn/coney_island_for_rent_145728.htm

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Is Thor forcing the city's hand on zoning?

While MAS and CI CLEAR are voicing their opinions on Coney, we may very well be entering a period where rezoning is finally coming to fruition. Thor owns most of the prime land and the leases. The CIDC was established in 2003 and the city still has not completed rezoning entering 2009. The Planning commission has a summer/fall 2009 goal for completing rezoning listed on its website.

Will Thor have the land sit vacant until the city finally rezones? What is holding up the rezoning process for this many years and is Thor going to force the city's hand now with vacancies??? 2009 will be an interesting year.

Coney Island CLEAR mission statement

From their website

Coney Island CLEAR’S Mission Statement

November 12, 2008 by coneyislandclear
We are a watchdog group monitoring redevelopment and taking direct action to ensure redevelopment benefits present and future residents of Coney Island. This alliance advocates for Coney Island redevelopment to be the best- quality construction, but also a vehicle of career development for construction and post-construction workers.

Goals:
Thirty percent of new Coney Island jobs employ residents of the 11224 zip code. These jobs should be career advancing opportunities with the appropriate skill training programs and offering compensation equaling the area standard wage and benefit package.
Establish guidelines which will hold developers, contractors and employers responsible to community and regulatory agencies.
* * * *

The benefits of redevelopment should be localized to the Coney Island community through:
The creation of long-term, family-sustaining careers for Coney Island residents that pay area standard wages and the implementation of necessary skill training programs.

Responsible contractors and developers have a track record of successfully performing the services at issue, complying with applicable public laws, and committed to a local hiring policy.
For more information or to join this cause,contact CI CLEAR at
ConeyIslandCLEAR@gmail.com

http://coneyislandclear.wordpress.com/2008/11/12/coney-island-clears-mission-statement/

Municipal Art Society Full Court Press for Coney

Probably more unrealistic plans with no developer

Brooklyn Eagle Excerpt

The MAS is “putting on a full court press” to ensure Coney Island’s future, according to Barwick. This effort includes a 2009 exhibition of all the plans and ideas the organization has received, several major public programs and discussions about them, and an ambitious agenda in Coney Island for summer 2009.

More here

http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=5&id=25413

Monday, December 22, 2008

Video - Brian Gotlieb speaks about the importance of Coney Community Benefits Agreement

http://coneyislandclear.wordpress.com/2008/12/21/the-importance-of-a-community-benefits-agreement-for-coney-island/

Obviously the most important part of Coney Development. Will the CIDC listen to the real Coney community or will they just listen to the amusement community???

Saturday, December 20, 2008

While we wait for years for the new Coney bowling alley

Here are a couple of really nice and related south Brooklyn bowling alleys to check out this winter-

In Mill Basin - the old favorite Gil Hodges lanes right next door to the new Golds Gym

http://gilhodgeslanes.com/

In Bensonhurst another huge old favorite - Maple Lanes

http://bowlmaple.com/

Listen to Brooklyn Aces games online

It's been a great start for the new minor league hockey team in Brooklyn this year. We have gone to 3 games at Aviator already. You can now catch some live games on audio here

http://www.iymsportsradio.com/

And even listen to some replays here

http://www.iymsportsradio.com/archives.asp

Astroland putting rides in storage. Not selling them yet

The Bay News article is not online yet, but its says Albert is storing the rides with the hope that there will be a miracle and they will get a new lease next year. No word from the city or Thor. Astroland must clear the land by Jan 31 09. Charles Denson said land will be cleared.

It will be interesting to see if ULURP starts right after Astroland is vacated. One has to wonder if the city will pay a couple hundred mil for the land in this horrendous economy.

Cherry Hill Market at Lundy's gets the Green Light

Bay News excerpt -

Lundy’s landlord Steve Pappas is hailing the Department of Building’s November 17 decision to lift a stop work order on his Cherry Hill tenants this week - while opponents say that the new tenants still won’t be able to proceed with their original plans.

In October, Cherry Hill Market’s efforts to open up a new upscale food outlet at 1901 Emmons Avenue were stymied when the DOB hit them with a stop work order after determining that the retail food component of the operation violated Sheepshead Bay zoning regulations.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission also put a halt to work being done on the sidewalk outside the building which the city found to be questionable.

“This fella is doing a tremendous job,” Pappas said. “He’s doing a store in Sheepshead Bay that resembles a store you would see on Park Avenue using the most expensive marbles and granites. People in the neighborhood can’t wait to see this store open.”

More here

http://www.yournabe.com/articles/2008/12/19/brooklyn/doc494ab24d01cd2756069784.txt

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Brooklyn Paper Editorial - Another Coney Dream

They are on target again.

An excerpt from the article

But the central element of the Society’s vision has a fundamental flaw: the notion that the city can, and should, find a benevolent landlord to fly in and save Coney Island. By extending a sweetheart deal to this operator, their argument goes, the operator would have the public interest at the center of its business plan. Yeah, and we’ve got a bridge to sell you.

More here

http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/31/50/31_50_editorial.html



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Daily News - Youth movement fires Brooklyn boro gentrification

Youth movement fires Brooklyn boro gentrification
BY ERIN DURKIN, JEFF WILKINS AND JOTHAM SEDERSTROM DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

Tuesday, December 16th 2008, 4:00 AM

The borough’s high school and college graduation rates made a big leap since 2000 — and so did its wealth and number of people employed, according to new U.S. Census Bureau numbers released last week.

Those were three trends revealed in figures, compiled from 2005 through 2007, that proved what many had already known: Brooklyn was experiencing a renaissance.

“It’s not a surprise because it’s been visible on the streets,” said Brooklyn College sociology professor Jerry Krase. “You saw bodegas replaced by organic stores and coffee shops by juice bars, and you could tell. Those were educated, high-earning people moving in.”

The number of 25-year-olds holding at least a high school diploma soared 17%, to 1.2 million, while those with at least a bachelor’s degree rose by 30%, to 438,568 people, according to the statistics.

Brooklyn College professor David Bloomfield suggested rapid gentrification played a role. “It may reflect higher-educated adults coming in to the borough from elsewhere,” said Bloomfield. “It can be higher-educated adults from the Caribbean, from Asia and elsewhere. The result is more highly educated citizens.”

In that same period, Brooklyn public high schools’ four-year graduation rate — including GEDs — jumped dramatically to 59.8% in 2007, up from 46.6% in 2000, city Education Department data show.

More here
http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/brooklyn/2008/12/16/2008-12-16_youth_movement_fires_brooklyn_boro_gentr.html

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Is the city waiting for the end of Astroland to start rezoning?

New details on the timeline from the City Planning website -

The Department of City Planning certifies the ULURP applications as complete and refers the applications to the Community Board and Borough President.
First quarter of 2009


ULURP Completion
Summer/Fall 2009


http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/coney_island/coneyisland4.shtml

Interesting that we are now looking at the first quarter for the start of rezoning. Astroland's lease ends January 31 2009. Coincidence? Maybe.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Starbucks in Sheepshead approved

Brooklyn View excerpt -

Starbucks in Sheepshead Gets Drive Thru Approved
By brooklynviewnews
By Fred Friedman

In a subdued 30 minutes, Community Board 15 approved five modifications in zoning rules at Tuesday night’s meeting that took place at Kingsborough Community College.

The first approval was for the proposed Starbucks opening up on Nostrand Avenue and Gravesend Neck Road. Ronald Mandel, the lawyer for Starbucks, requested permission to build a driveway, which would accomidate five cars in a parking lot adjacent to the store.

More here

http://sheepsheadbayjournal.wordpress.com/2008/11/21/starbucks-in-sheepshead-gets-drive-thru-approved/

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Brooklyn Paper - City budgets $200 mil for Coney Purchases

Excerpt -

City opens checkbook for Coney
By Mike McLaughlin
The Brooklyn Paper

The city has budgeted $200 million in taxpayer money to buy privately held land and make other improvements in Coney Island as part of its turnaround plan for down-on-its-luck neighborhood.

The bulk of the money will be spent on land purchases — and The Brooklyn Paper has learned that those buys will go far beyond the nine acres that the city has slated for an amusement park and cut into 18 acres of property beyond the core theme park zone so the city will have land on which it can develop hotels, restaurants and indoor amusements like a water park, bowling alley or arcade.

“The city is interested in acquiring land from any of the property owners in the 18 acres,” said Libby Langsdorf, a spokeswoman for the Coney Island Development Corporation. Until now, she added, “It has been the city’s interest to consolidate the land in the mapped parkland.”

More here

http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/31/47/31_47_mm_coney.html

One has to wonder who will build all the hotels, restaurants, retail and indoor and outdoor amusements. It sure won't be the city. My guess is the city has someone like Taconic ( who owns Coney North and Coney West already) in mind to develop a good portion of Coney East as well. Would the city buy all this property without any developer lined up???

Monday, November 24, 2008

More on the Amphitheater from the Post

Excerpt

CONEY'S $64 MIL ROCK IN THE PARK

By RICH CALDER

Jones Beach and the PNC Bank Arts Center could soon be facing stiff competition from Coney Island in attracting A-list acts, but the cost to taxpayers will be steep - $64 million.

City officials confirmed that the price tag for a planned 5,000-seat amphitheater at Asser Levy Park near the fabled boardwalk has jumped $24 million since Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz announced a $40 million plan to build it nearly two years ago.

The Beep says he's putting his money where his mouth is, using $54 million of his office's capital improvement funds. The mayor's office would kick in $10 million.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/11242008/news/regionalnews/coneys_64_mil_rock_in_the_park_140498.htm

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Retractable Roof Amphitheater for Coney

Bay News excerpt -

Imagine Liza Minnelli belting out “New York, New York” underneath a giant potato chip.Strange, but that’s how some are describing the roof of the new $64 million Coney Island Center slated to rise at Asser Levy Park in Coney Island.

The fabric or polymer roof, resembling a giant potato chip or saddle, could have the ability to expand and retract depending on the weather.

Local officials are presently studying the effectiveness of similar structures already in use in places like Germany and China.

Jon Benguiat, Borough Hall’s Director of Planning and Development, recently talked about the feasibility of building an amphitheater with a retractable roof at a Municipal Art Society forum on Coney Island.


More here

http://www.yournabe.com/articles/2008/11/21/coney_island/bay_news/news/bay_news_newsrazingther11202008.txt

Is Taconic eyeing Coney East?

Somebody has to ask that question. If the city buys Coney East from Thor, does Taconic then make its move on Coney East, since they own all of Coney North and West already? Logically, the city can't build the hotels, restaurants, retail, and indoor and outdoor amusements on its own.

Is Taconic going to own most, if not all of Coney? Nobody has really addressed this possibility yet.

Brooklyn View Editorial on Year Round Coney

A Far-Out Coney Island

The Municipal Art Society of New York has been working with the city’s economic advisors and other planning advocacy groups to try to develop plans that will help it reclaim its stature as a world-class entertainment destination. Some of the plans presented at a Nov. 17 meeting looked like they were something out of a Sci-Fi movie.

We applaud these plans, but consider them an exercise in art and futility.
As a local paper, we are grounded in the realities of Coney Island, ranging from the lack of job opportunities and no pulse during the colder months in the city. One needs to take a stroll along Mermaid Avenue to see the ghost town the area becomes in the winter. Realistically, improved rides and flashing lights will not put paychecks into residents’ pockets.

If the city wants to do justice for the south Brooklyn enclave, it should consider year-round attractions—we would love to see casinos and hotels. Coney Island is a 45-minute train ride to Midtown—close, but not that close.

We need a Coney Island that is finally someplace you wouldn’t mind finding yourself in November or July.

http://brooklynoped.wordpress.com/2008/11/21/a-far-out-coney-island/

Good to see newspapers like the Brooklyn View and Brooklyn Paper standing up to the reality of Coney development needs.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Astroland moving to Australia?

This was in the Daily News and on NY1 today

Excerpt From NY1

Astroland's owner Carol Albert says she is in talks with an amusement resort in Australia that wants to move the entire park from Coney Island to Queensland on Australia's Gold Coast.

The famous park shut its doors in September after 46 years.

http://www.ny1.com/content/top_stories/89371/astroland-may-move-down-under/Default.aspx

My guess is this is Albert's way of trying to put pressure on the city to buy Thor's land in order to keep Astroland in Coney.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Brooklyn Paper Editorial - More Coney Baloney

Excerpt

More Coney baloney
The Brooklyn Paper

Why is the Bloomberg Administration going into the amusement park business?

We have asked this question repeatedly as we watched — with anything but amusement — the mayor block Coney Island’s main landowner in his efforts to spend $2 billion to turn the faded ocean-front paradise into a glitzy, Vegas-style Xanadu.

We’ve expressed concern that the mayor was allowing his personal animosity for developer Joe Sitt to hinder the redevelopment of Coney Island, but that concern now turns to horror as the actual cost of Bloomberg’s pettiness becomes clearer.

This week, the city moved to buy the landowner’s Coney holdings at a cost of hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars.

The Bloomberg Administration wants the land in order to realize its own vision for the future of Coney Island — a plan that includes many of the same elements (new rides, new attractions, a hotel) that Sitt himself proposed.

But in a time when subway lines are being slashed, a fare hike is pending and the state is planning to raise funds with dubious East River bridge tolls, we ask again: why would the city spend close to $200 million to buy Sitt’s land when Sitt’s basic plan for Coney Island is so similar to what the city says it wants?

More here
http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/31/46/31_46_editorial.html

Brooklyn Paper - Deal in the works

Excecerpts

No baloney! Coney deal in the works
By Mike McLaughlin
The Brooklyn Paper

The city is moving forward with a controversial plan to spend hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars to buy out Coney Island’s principal landowner and end a years-long standoff to control the amusement area’s destiny.

Joe Sitt’s company, Thor Equities, gobbled up 10-1/2 acres of land since 2005 in the hopes of developing a Vegas-style resort of hotels, rides and shopping — but Sitt’s plan, which would require a rezoning, was blocked by the Bloomberg Administration in favor of a city-owned theme park along the Boardwalk.

The city, of course, couldn’t realize that vision without first buying Sitt’s land. And now, it appears that the developer will welcome an offer.

“We are having positive discussions with the city,” said Thor’s spokesman Stefan Friedman in a statement.

The two camps were at loggerheads over who would control Coney’s destiny, with the city interested in acquiring five acres from Sitt that fell within the area targeted for the city-owned theme park.

But now, the city is willing to buy the Thor holdings that fell within the area designed for private developers to build hotels, restaurants, arcades and other attractions that the city says would make Coney Island a tourist magnet throughout the year.

These additional acres will cost the city tens of millions extra than it had intended to pay to launch its grand plan.

http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/31/46/31_46_mm_coney.html

Again , if the city sticks to its rezoning plans for year round with a 9 acre piece of parkland this deal would be fine. If the city nixes the hotels, restaurants, entertainment retail, and indoor development for an entire outdoor amusement complex larger than the 9 acres designated, then CONEY IS IN BIG BIG TROUBLE. Then nobody will develop it into a year round destination and the Coney redevelopment plan will have failed miserably.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Interesting that the CIDC is still saying Parkland 9 acres

Brooklyn Eagle Excerpt -

As part of a comprehensive rezoning plan for Coney Island, the city has proposed mapping nine acres as parkland to permanently preserve Coney’s historic amusement core. This area is planned as the centerpiece of the 60-acre comprehensive redevelopment effort by the city of New York to expand Coney Island’s fabled amusement area and create significant growth opportunities for the surrounding neighborhood.

“In anticipation of the rezoning, we are actively engaging with the amusement industry so that we can develop a thoughtful interim plan for the amusement district and then work toward an RFP that will appeal to world-class amusement operators,” said CIDC President Lynn Kelly.

http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=31&id=24592

Will Sitt sell all his land or just his parkland piece? Is he going to give up on that other prime property designated for hotels, retail, restaurants and year round entertainment? Only time will tell. The answer to that question may very well reveal whether Coney will stay a winter ghost town for decades. If the city decides to switch and go all outdoor amusement and expand more than 9 acres, Coney's future is quite obviously in big big trouble.

Daily News - The Puck Stops Here

The puck stops here! Aces' historic home opener at Floyd Bennett is breakaway fun

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/brooklyn/2008/11/18/2008-11-18_the_puck_stops_here_aces_historic_home_o-2.html

NY Times - Living in Marine Park

Excerpt -

MARINE PARK, a neighborhood of 21,500 people in southeast Brooklyn, shares its name and a boundary with the borough’s largest park, a 798-acre mass that stretches to the marshes of Jamaica Bay.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/16/realestate/16livi.html?_r=1

Monday, November 17, 2008

A big question remains

Will Thor sell all the land or just the parkland piece? Another bigger question will be who will develop the area year round? No answers....................yet.

Crains/ AP

Excerpt -

A spokesman for Robert Lieber, deputy mayor for economic development, confirmed that talks are in progress between the city and Thor Equities for purchase of the acreage, which includes the 3.1-acre Astroland amusement park that closed in September after its longtime owner broke off negotiations with Thor for a year's extension on its lease.

The New York Post reported on Monday that Bloomberg wanted to have Astroland back in business by next summer, and the city might have to pay upward of $200 million for the property. Such a price could double Thor's initial investment.

“I'm not sure where those dollar values are from, but, yes, we're talking to Thor Equities about its land in the amusement district,” Mr. Lieber’s spokesman said.

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081117/FREE/811179916/1050/toc

Big News on Today's NY Post on Sitt's Land

Excerpt -

ASTROLAND HOPE
CITY EYES CONEY LAND BUY


By RICH CALDER

Posted: 4:45 amNovember 17, 2008

The Bloomberg administration is in serious negotiations to buy 10.5 acres of real estate in Coney Island that once appeared unobtainable - a move that would save both Astroland Park and the mayor's plans to revive the slumping seaside amusement district, The Post has learned.

Developer Joe Sitt is ready to give up his controversial plan to build a $1.5 billion Vegas-style entertainment complex, which the mayor wants no part of, and instead sell all of the beachfront land he's purchased to the city.

"God willing, we will get this done soon," said Councilman Domenic Recchia Jr., who convinced both Sitt's company, Thor Equities, and the city to go to the bargaining table and is helping broker the deal.

While a price is still being negotiated, it is expected that the city would have to shell out $200 million to $250 million for the land, sources close to the negotiations said.

Recchia said the mayor wants the deal done quickly so the city can finally get going on Bloomberg's 47-acre rezoning plan for Coney Island, which includes building a nine-acre amusement park.

More here

http://www.nypost.com/seven/11172008/news/regionalnews/astroland_hope_139140.htm

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Joe Sitt continues fighting for Coney

He is not giving in, as he obviously shouldn't. Coney has been a winter ghost town all our lives.

NY Post excerpt -

Expect fewer rides but more thrifty retail on the Coney Island boardwalk next summer.

The fabled seaside is losing Astroland Park, but it's gaining it's very own "Flea by the Sea."

That's the quirky name of a massive outdoor flea market developer Joe Sitt is planning to operate April through December along vacant Stillwell Avenue land he owns off the boardwalk.

Sitt is also planning other interim uses next summer along the remaining 10 acres of land he owns in Coney Island, including the Astroland site. This includes new rides, games, food stands and live entertainment, said Sitt spokesman Stefan Friedman.

The announcement shows Sitt isn't planning to buckle anytime soon in an ongoing two-year-old game of chicken over Coney Island's future with the Bloomberg administration.

More here

http://www.nypost.com/seven/11162008/news/regionalnews/fleaing_coney_138970.htm

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Brooklyn View - Starbucks coming to Sheepshead Bay

Excerpt-

Iced Lattes To Be Served in Sheepshead Bay

Other than the hidden Starbucks in Brighton Beach, which many residents in Sheepshead Bay are unfamiliar with, there are no places here where a person can order, say, a tall soy pumpkin spice latte, no whip. But come January, that will change.

A Starbucks is set to open on the corner of Gravesend Neck Road and Nostrand Avenue, right next to Brennan and Carr, the famous restaurant. The company was in touch with Community Board 15 two weeks ago about plans to move in, and requested a special permit to allow for a drive through.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Theresa Scavo, who likes coffee and “doesn’t like lattes or anything like that.” She said it is going to help the economy in the area and revitalize businesses.


http://sheepsheadbayjournal.wordpress.com/2008/11/14/starbucks-to-navigate-sheepshead/

This week's Bay News - The Boardwalk

There is an article about how the city is testing 3 types of synthetic planks to fix the boardwalk. One plank is even concrete made to look like wood. I will post the article link when it's online. Good to read the city is taking steps to fix that awfully hazardous boardwalk.

Crains - Starrett City Sale on Hold

Excerpt -

The sale of Starrett City has been delayed because the owner of the sprawling Brooklyn complex and federal housing officials have been unable to agree on the fair market value of future rents. Starrett City Associates had initially expected to select a winning bid by early September, but the owner feels rents set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development are too low, preventing it from gaining fair value for the property.

Starrett City Associates had initially expected to select a winning bid by early September, but the owner feels rents set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development are too low, preventing it from gaining fair value for the property.

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081111/FREE/811119969/1059/toc

Brooklyn Eagle - Marty Markowitz on Coney Island

Excerpt -

Major Projects

Considering the financial crisis, Marty sees major construction phases extended but completed eventually. Brooklyn Bridge Park and Atlantic Yards offer more jobs and thereby help the economy, he said. In Coney Island, Marty sees a continued need for amusement. It should be family entertainment for Brooklynites and Coney Island should become a year round presence. While he approves of the city plan which has started activity there, he feels that developer Joe Sitt should be brought in to the operation.

To achieve this future, Marty sees amusements encircled by a hotel, a convention center, live theater, movie theaters and restaurants but none of the retail operations found in malls such as telephone and shoe stores. The borough president’s office has submitted what Marty calls the “first down payment” for a new Coney Island. This is the idea of an open amphitheater with landscaping at Asser Levy Park, capable of holding 5,000 people.

http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=10&id=24529

Friday, November 14, 2008

NY Post - Barclays supports Nets arena

Pat also pointed me to this article -

BANK: WE WON'T BAIL OUT ON NETS ARENA

By RICH CALDER
Last updated: 11:27 am November 14, 2008 Posted: 4:50 am November 14, 2008


Despite the slumping economy, a British bank is standing by Brooklyn's planned Nets arena.

Barclays bank vowed yesterday not to exercise an out clause and kill its record $400 million naming-rights deal for the venue, the centerpiece of developer Bruce Ratner's $4 billion Atlantic Yards project.

More here

http://www.nypost.com/seven/11142008/news/regionalnews/bank__we_wont_bail_out_on_nets_arena_138647.htm




NY Times - Brooklyn Aces

Just got back from the Aces game and my Cyclones bud Pat told me about this article at the game

Watch Out for That Stick, Er, Fist: Professional Ice Hockey Bursts Into Brooklyn

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/10/nyregion/10aces.html?ref=hockey

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Brooklyn Aces opening night in Aviator Arena

From Aces Over Brooklyn -

Excerpt -

With 1,609 fans packed inside the Aviator Arena screaming their heads off for their undefeated Brooklyn Aces, things originally looked pretty grim for the New Jersey Rockhoppers.


http://www.acesoverbrooklyn.com/2008/11/09/niedert-stellar-as-aces-powerplay-stalls-in-3-2-loss/

They have some pics of the game on the site. Professional Hockey arrives in Brooklyn!

Crains NY Business - Sheepshead Bay Booming

Excerpt -

Sheepshead Bay a lively enclave
Growing population key to district's success


Neighborhoods far removed from Manhattan are usually regarded as being outside the economic action. But despite a location near the end of the B and Q subway lines, Sheepshead Bay is a top choice for service businesses looking for a booming environment.

The streets of this south Brooklyn enclave are bustling with businesses that include immigrant-owned grocery stores to high-end sushi spots and boutiques.

“I should be speaking five languages,” says Ianthe Kallas-Bortz, manager of Waldorf Realty Co., whose 25 commercial properties are almost 100% occupied. Her father, Kyrie Kallas, opened the business in the early 1960s.

Small service businesses need a swelling population to thrive. Immigrants from Russia, Turkey, Greece and the Middle East have flooded into Sheepshead Bay in the past decade. The area added 11,042 jobs between 1997 and 2007—a 53% increase that dwarfed the city's overall 9.2% rise over the period, according to the Center for an Urban Future.

National chains and franchises are investing, too. Dunkin' Donuts and UPS have set up shop, and such banks as J.P. Morgan Chase and Citi have opened branches. Last November, Acadia Realty Trust, based in White Plains, bought a $20 million, two-acre site that it plans to convert to a mixed-use project with more than 300,000 feet of retail space.

More here

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081109/SMALLBIZ/311094161/1145/TOC

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Brooklyn Paper - Coney Amphitheater

Excerpt -

Coney is ‘Jonesing’ for concerts
By Mike McLaughlin
The Brooklyn Paper

It’s the ultimate battle of the band-shells: Coney Island may someday have an outdoor summer concert venue to rival the seaside theaters at Jones Beach and the PNC Bank Arts Center in New Jersey.

Borough President Markowitz’s long-sought dream of building a modern ampitheater in Asser Levy Park is finally becoming a reality as the city gears up to begin construction next year on the $64-million stage set to open in 2012.


“New York City’s first covered, outdoor performance space will make our borough a natural stop on the summer concert circuit for entertainers,” Markowitz said in an e-mail to The Brooklyn Paper.

“It’s awe-inspiring design will make it a cherished landmark at the gateway to the revitalized Coney Island.”

More here
http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/31/44/31_44_mm_asser.html

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bay News - Sheepshead IMAX Open For Business!

Excerpt -

IMAX movies come to S’head Bay UA
By Gary BuisoMonday, November 3, 2008 5:41 PM EST

Brooklyn’s first IMAX theater opened last week in Sheepshead Bay, giving borough moviegoers an immersive cinematic experience that previously was only available in Manhattan.

As first reported in this paper, The United Artists Sheepshead Bay has been in the process of converting one of its 14 existing auditoriums into an IMAX theater, known for a massive screen, superior sound quality and high-end digital effects.

http://www.yournabe.com/articles/2008/11/03/sheepshead_bay/bay_news/news/bay_news_newsimaxmovies10302008.txt

Exciting News!


Bloomberg signs term limits bill

Welcome back to office Bloomberg, Markowitz and Recchia in 2010!

And welcome to the Brooklyn era of Coney Island and Atlantic Yards development!!!! Yes!!!

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5g6tLAwzamJXfkuGxfu7K13lDjE0wD947NK201

Marty's dreams come true for Brooklyn! It's gonna happen!

Arena Digest - Cleveland fans closely watching development of Brooklyn arena

11/03/2008 1:50 PM - Outside of the borough of Brooklyn, the area where fans are most closely watching the development of a new Nets arena live in Cleveland. Why Cleveland? Because the Nets seem to be following a game plan that calls for revenues from a new arena being used to bring LeBron James to the marketing capital of the world.

Which, of course, scares the heck out of Cavs fans, who endured many rebuilding years in order to be in a position to complete -- and this year's Cavs team could be one of the best ever. But lose James, and you lose the best player in the game.

http://www.arenadigest.com/rss/index.html?article_id=250

Brooklyn Paper - Cyclone: Joy Ride or Death Ride

Excerpt -

“He came out and had a look of pain on his face and was holding his neck. I asked him what was wrong, and he said something happened, and he had lost the feeling in his fingers,” Linda Walker, his girlfriend, told The New York Post then.

Shirasawa was taken to the hospital and operated on, but died

More here

http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/31/44/31_44_mm_cylone.html

ConeyRocks has hit Bloglines!

You can now read ConeyRocks blog through your Bloglines feeds. They just picked us up today! Cool!


http://www.bloglines.com/

Sunday, November 2, 2008

NY-13 Blog on Domenic Recchia

During the term limits debate

Excerpt -

Recchia just praised the Council for getting work going on redevelopment of Coney Island. "But if I can't be on Council, how will I know that the work will get done?"

http://ny13.blogspot.com/2008/10/term-limits.html

Thank goodness for Domenic. Without him I don't think Coney would have ever had a chance for redevelopment. The guys fights like hell for Coney.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Re: Burden's letter to the Brooklyn Paper

I hope she and everybody else in the City Planning Commission reads the mission statement of the CIDC -

MISSION STATEMENT

Coney Island Development Corporation works to make Coney Island a year-round, world-class recreational oceanfront destination through business development, job creation, new housing and unique cultural events.
Goals

Develop year-round businesses to strengthen the Coney Island economy and encourage the development and retention of existing businesses

Improve neighborhood conditions and quality of life, parks and other community facilities

Facilitate the development of vacant and underutilized properties

Encourage the development of new housing to create a stable consumer base in the neighborhood

http://www.thecidc.org/About/Overview.html

This is certainly not just about amusements. First and foremost Coney is a Brooklyn neighborhood in desperate need of year-round economic activity.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Brownstoner - Sheepshead Bay: Fifth Most Luxurious Neighborhood

Excerpt -

Our friends at Property Shark have done some sales numbers crunching for the year-to-date, to see where in Brooklyn the million dollar sales were happening.

More here

http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2008/10/million_dollar_1.php

Daily News - Brooklyn Aces

Excerpt -

Although the Aces won't have to compete for audiences with the borough's beloved Brooklyn Cyclones baseball team because their seasons don't overlap, the stakes to win the hearts of Brooklyn sports fans are still high.
Firriolo is confident his deck of Aces will make the borough proud.

"The Cyclones are a great model in a minor league. Our goal is to have the same presence," he said.

For tickets and team information, check out www.brooklynaces.com.

More here

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/brooklyn/2008/10/30/2008-10-30_brooklyn_aces_hungry_for_success_in_ephl.html

Thanks to the Brooklyn Paper

For emailing me all the updates. Thanks for reading ConeyRocks! You guys are great!

Brooklyn Paper Mailbag - Burden Letter

City plan not Coney baloney: The Brooklyn Paper mailbag
The Brooklyn Paper

To the editor,


Your Oct. 18 editorial (“Bloomberg’s Coney baloney”) regarding the city’s recent purchase of property in Coney Island’s amusement district misunderstands the city’s strategy for preserving the open amusements that are Coney’s defining feature.

The city’s number one goal, as part of a comprehensive plan to revitalize Coney Island, is to ensure that its iconic rides, arcades, food stands and other outdoor amusements are open and accessible in perpetuity.

While the city does propose to “map” the nine-acre open amusement area as parkland, it is not true that “virtually anything can be built” in mapped parkland. In fact, designation of property as “mapped parkland” permanently prohibits hotels, condos, convention centers and other similar commercial uses.

State legislation that will be sought by the administration will allow for a long-term lease of mapped parkland for amusement-related uses only, to promote the vitality of Coney Island’s amusement area while ensuring that incompatible uses can never be developed there.

Mapping the open amusement area as “parkland” is the best way to ensure that Coney Island’s amusements are protected irrespective of economic pressures — something existing zoning has failed to do.

The state legislation will be subject to public scrutiny. Under the zoning proposal that will be considered early next year, open amusements in the “mapped parkland” will become the centerpiece of a 27-acre year-round amusement district with — on the privately owned parcels — open and enclosed amusements, hotels, water parks, restaurants, performance venues, skating rinks and similar complementary attractions.

Amanda Burden, Manhattan
City Planning Commissioner


http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/31/43/31_43_letters.html

Brooklyn Eagle on Brooklyn Aces

I think they will be as successful as the Cyclones

Excerpt-

Local Boys Skate Their Way On to Brooklyn’s First Professional Hockey Team
by Tom Kane (
tk@brooklyneagle.net), published online 10-30-2008

Brooklyn Aces Scoops Up Talent from Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst
By Tom Kane Brooklyn Eagle
The Aviator Sports Complex at Floyd Bennett Field in Marine Park will be the new home of the newest Brooklyn franchise in sports, The Brooklyn Aces.

This minor league hockey squad is the brainchild of Curtis Russel, Igor Mrotchek and Alan Friedman, and is part of the new Eastern Professional Hockey League. Head Coach Chris Firriolo is the former Syracuse Stars GM and coach, and has said, “Brooklyn is a tremendous community with such a rich tradition and long history of professional sports. I’m really excited to become a part of Brooklyn’s first professional hockey team and help continue that great tradition that has made Brooklyn the great sports town it is today.”

EPHL Commissioner Jim Riggs says of the Brooklyn team, “I am looking forward to watching a roster of junior hockey players and college players looking to strengthen their game taking the ice right here in Brooklyn.”

That is just what’s on the ice for this Aces team, a great mix of talent, hard-hitting players, with the added attraction of three Brooklyn boys on this inaugural squad. They are James Brannigan of Dyker Heights, Jerry Cardinale of Bensonhurst and Miroslav Recicar who now resides in Bay Ridge.

http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=31&id=24149

Nobody can beat Marty

And they quite obviously realize it.

Brooklyn Paper Excerpt -

Lord Markowitz! Term-limit clears path for Beep-eat
By Mike McLaughlin

It ain’t over until Marty says it’s over.
The controversial term limits extension cleared the decks for a third term for Borough President Markowitz as several leading opponents quickly bowed out despite increasing scrutiny of the Beep’s ethics and overall record.

One day after the City Council’s Oct. 23 vote to extend term limits from eight to 12 years, Markowitz announced that he would take full advantage.

“It was always his dream to serve Brooklyn as borough president, and [he] would be honored to serve Brooklynites for another term if the voters allow him that opportunity,” his spokesman Mark Zustovich told The Brooklyn Paper.

And with those words, Councilman Bill DeBlasio (D–Park Slope) and Councilman Charles Barron (D–East New York) announced that they would campaign for other positions.

http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/31/43/31_43_mm_marty_iii.html

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Daily News - Family of Cyclone accident victim is suing New York City

Excerpt -

The family of a California musician who snapped his neck and died in a downhill plunge on the Cyclone sued the city Wednesday for failing to keep the Coney Island roller coaster safe.

Keith Shirasawa was in New York celebrating his 53rd birthday on July 31, 2007, when he decided to take a ride the 80-year-old New York landmark.

Shirasawa was descending the ride's first hill when his neck snapped and he fractured several bones in his neck, a suit filed in Manhattan Federal Court charges. He died five days later.

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/brooklyn/2008/10/29/2008-10-29_family_of_cyclone_accident_victim_is_sui.html

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

NY Daily News - Brooklyn Bridge Park coming next month, developer promises

Excerpt -

Finally! After delays and ballooning costs dating back to the Pataki administration, construction at Brooklyn Bridge Park is slated to get underway next month.

That's the promise of the
Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corp.

"I'm sure we are starting this November - really sure," said
BBPD President Regina Myer. "We actually have the money to build. This is a very important step."

Using state and city funds, the corporation awarded a $47 million contract last week to Skanska USA for the first phase of park construction. The money covers construction on Pier 1 and a new entrance to the park at Old Fulton St.

"Every park needs a great entrance," Myer said. "And there will be two wonderful viewing lawns with new topography to accentuate the views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the upper harbor."


http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/brooklyn/2008/10/28/2008-10-28_brooklyn_bridge_park_coming_next_month_d.html


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Picture of a Coney Ghost Town in October

This is what these ridiculous Brooklyn blogs fight to save - a cold weather ghost town.

http://www.gowanuslounge.com/2008/10/28/deborah-matlack-photo-du-jour-fabers-fascination/

The absolute reason Coney must and will change.

Sheepshead Bites - Delmar Pizzeria

My personal pick for the best pizza on this planet. The white slices are amazing

http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/blog1.php/restaurants/time-for-a-delmar-pepperoni-slice

Metro NY on Marty's Amphitheater plan

Excerpts

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz discussed yesterday another Coney Island project: a $64 million plan to build a partially-enclosed amphitheater at Asser Levy Park — located at West Fifth Street and Surf Avenue, near the New York Aquarium. He wants the spot to be on par with Jones Beach, the Garden State Arts Center and Radio City Music Hall as a stop on musician’s summer world tours. In the winter, he hopes it could be used for ice skating, junior soccer leagues or other recreation.

City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden welcomed ideas to enhance “Coney Island's unique edgy character and open accessibility.” But she issued a statement saying, “It is imperative that the rezoning process and timeline not be jeopardized by any reconsideration of our proposed rezoning boundaries.”

Burden expects the seven-month public approval process to begin in January.

More here

http://ny.metro.us/metro/local/article/Stirring_up_ideas_for_rebuilt_Coney_Island/14122.html

Monday, October 27, 2008

NY Observer - Burden To Municipal Art Society: Don’t Mess With City’s Coney Plans

Excerpt -

Full statement below:
As part of the public planning process, the City has engaged in scores of meetings with a wide variety of local and citywide stakeholders in shaping its current rezoning proposal for a year-round 27-acre amusement district with outdoor and enclosed amusements. We of course welcome innovative ideas for a 21st century destination that keeps and enhances Coney Island's unique edgy character and open accessibility.


However, it is imperative that the rezoning process and timeline not be jeopardized by any reconsideration of our proposed rezoning boundaries or urban design parameters. After two scoping sessions and significant public input, we expect to begin the public approval process in early 2009, which will culminate in a vote on the plan by the City Council in the summer of 2009. It is imperative that this rezoning proceed expeditiously, otherwise the Coney Island amusement area that we know and love will cease to exist. We welcome ideas about how to best design, structure and program a year-round amusement district with an open and accessible Amusement Park as its centerpiece.


http://www.observer.com/2008/real-estate/burden-municipal-art-society-don-t-mess-city-s-coney-plans-0

Quite obviously city plans are not changing.

5 years of the CIDC and no rezoning yet??? Get it done already for goodness sake!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The only rendering so far for the Coney Amphitheater

Hopefully we can find more complete designs eventually.

http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2008/02/an_amphitheater.php

http://archive.tendercreative.com/GRM/09XX/base.php?size=720&in_projectid=

ConeyRocks hits the NY Post 2nd Opinion Blog

Our first news link! :)

Excerpt from Oct 20th

MARTY MARKOWITZ'S MILLIONS
Blog post: Atlantic Yards follow-up from No Land Grab
Blog post: Markowitz press release on Atlantic Yards from Coney Rocks

http://blogs.nypost.com/opinion/2nd/

LOL Baby steps

IMAX Update

The Eagle picked up the story last week-

* * *IMAX SYSTEM To Come To Sheepshead Bay.

The IMAX digital-projection system will be available starting Thursday at the U.A. Sheepshead Bay Stadium multiplex theater in Brooklyn.

Using the IMAX digital projection system, this theater and others in the Regal chain will showcase Hollywood movies that have been digitally remastered into the IMAX format.

“We are extremely pleased to open our newest IMAX locations and to utilize the new IMAX digital project system at these theaters,” said Dick Westerling, senior vice president of Regal Entertainment Group.

Several of today’s biggest Hollywood releases, including “The Dark Knight,” “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” Spider-Man 3” and others, have been converted into the IMAX format.

http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=33&id=23912

Brooklyn's Haunted House for Halloween

At Aviator -

WALLS OF DARKNESS
Brooklyn's Newest & Scariest
Haunted House Experience
From Oct 10th-Nov 1st
Hours Friday & Saturdays 6:00PM-12:00PM
Sunday - Thursday 6:00PM- 10:30PM
For complete details on the walls of darkness, haunted hay ride, pumpkin picking and more
call 917-567-7030 or 917-567-7441


http://www.aviatorsports.com/

Brooklyn Paper - Whole Foods needs a partner for Gowanus

Excerpt

The supermarket giant Whole Foods has revealed that it cannot develop its toxic, Gowanus Canal zone site by itself and must now call in an outside developer to finish the stalled project.

The announcement led to concerns that the long-stalled project, at Third Avenue and Third Street at the western end of Park Slope, would expand into a larger shopping center.

“They might want to make this into a bigger project,” said Ken Fisher, a land-use lawyer and former councilman from Brooklyn Heights.

More here

http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/31/42/31_42_mm_whole_foods.html

Brooklyn Eagle - Top Designers To Develop Vision for Coney Island

Excerpts -

Launch Set For Oct. 27

Compiled by Linda CollinsBrooklyn Daily Eagle

The Municipal Art Society (MAS) has invited a team of world-class architects, amusement designers and economists to come up with a new vision for Coney Island.
The MAS will launch an initiative to develop the new ideas at a press conference at noon on today, Monday, Oct. 27, at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

Titled “Imagine Coney,” the new initiative will feature a global web-based call for ideas and a charrette (an intense design workshop), featuring international amusement and design experts from Tivoli Gardens in Denmark, Broadway theaters in Manhattan and former Disney executives.

Participants in the press conference will include Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and representatives from the Coney Island Development Corporation, the Department of City Planning, Coney Island USA, the Astella Development Corporation, the New York Aquarium, Creative Time, and other local stakeholders.

More here

http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=5&id=24045

When Marty gets involved in a Brooklyn neighborhood, that area development will get done! Good news!

Video - BCAT - Reporter Roundtable

The Oct 20th edition discusses term limits and the current economy's effect on the Brooklyn Real Estate scene.

Enjoy-

http://www.briconline.org/bcat/popups/roundtable/episode213.asp

NY Times - Joe Sitt and Palmer House Hilton

Excerpt -

“One of my philosophies is that what ‘once was’ can be again,” he said.

In New York, where Mr. Sitt owns 11 waterfront acres of Coney Island, he is having a hard time proving the point. (His plans for hotels and condominiums have failed to win city approval, and the future of the area is in doubt.)

But in Chicago, Mr. Sitt has restored the Palmer House Hilton, a huge hotel he bought in 2005. The hotel had been a dowager for so long, according to Mr. Sitt, that Chicagoans were skeptical about his promises to bring it back to life. But the renovation has not only improved the hotel, it has also helped revive a once-downtrodden section of the Loop.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/26/realestate/commercial/26sqft.html

Never underestimate a tough Brooklyn kid like Joe!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

This week's Brooklyn Paper Editorial talks Coney again

Excerpt

We’ve repeatedly asked why the Bloomberg Administration feels it must rezone Coney Island’s amusement area from its current “amusement only” zoning to “park land.” City officials told us that such “park land” zoning would protect Coney’s amusement area better than the “amusement only” zoning — but on further investigation, city officials admitted that virtually anything can be built on “park land.” As a result, the mayor’s “park land” rezoning is hardly an insurance policy for Coney’s future as “the people’s playground.” The city plan calls for buying land — at a cost of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars! — rezoning it, and then turning it over to a hand-picked developer. And what happens when that developer comes back and says the revenue projections have fallen short? Thanks to “park land” zoning, the city could allow that developer to build a hotel or anything else. So much for an amusement-only zone!

http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/31/42/31_42_editorial.html?comm=1




Friday, October 24, 2008

I am so proud of Marty

His dreams were to bring the Nets to Brooklyn and to have his summer concerts in a new Amphitheater in a developed Coney Island. And now that term limits are extended he will be in office to make his dreams a reality! This is just great news for Brooklyn development!

Sarah profiles top 50 most influential in Brooklyn real estate - continued

Sarah put Ratner at #1 and Sitt at #7. But she did get the Bloomberg term limit issue mixed up.

http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2008/10/number_1_bruce.php

http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2008/10/number_7_joe_si.php



Term limits extended

Bloomberg, Marty and Recchia are all going to be voted back into office to see Coney Island and Atlantic Yards developed! Yes!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Crains - New tax rules would allow NYC teams to float bonds

Excerpts

The Internal Revenue Service issued rules Tuesday on whether the Nets basketball arena planned for Brooklyn can access $800 million in triple tax-free bonds.

The Nets' owner, Bruce Ratner, had considered the tax ruling crucial to plans for a new Brooklyn arena, the centerpiece of the Atlantic Yards development. Mr. Ratner has said he wants to pay for the $950 million arena by raising up to $800 million in tax-exempt bonds

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081021/FREE/810219961/1105/toc

Sarah profiles top 50 most influential in Brooklyn real estate

All this week on Brownstoner

Excerpt

28. City Councilman Domenic Recchia, Coney Island landowner Thor Equities' main ally in the city, threatened to block the rezoning proposal if concessions weren't made to allow for more privately-owned hotel rooms and entertainment retail while reducing the city-owned amusement area. He also had a hand in killing the perimeter redesign for the New York Aquarium in favor of a flashy shark exhibit. The New York Observer observed that Recchia "holds a seat of more power than perhaps any other figure involved with the historic amusement center’s future right now."

http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2008/10/brooklyns_top_5_4.php#more

Thank goodness that Domenic is making sure Coney development is happening!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Brownstoner - Last week's biggest sales

Look what's going on at Gravesend and Bay Ridge. Wow!

http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2008/10/last_weeks_bigg_33.php

Brooklyn View interviews Cherry Hill Gourmet owner

The new Lundy's tenant

Excerpt -

You probably don’t know David Isaev, owner of Cherry Hill Gourmet Market, and he likes that. Wearing a fitted navy blue dress shirt, he dipped a sugar cube in his cup of tea and dissolved the cube in his mouth.

Isaev comes off as confident if not arrogant. He looks like a James Bond-type character, not sure if he’d be the charming good guy or the villain.

He is considered both by residents of Sheepshead Bay. Some see a visionary, intent on injecting life into the Bay by providing a quality market where one can buy cooked meals and them on a balcony overlooking store.

More here
http://sheepsheadbayjournal.wordpress.com/2008/10/16/lundys-get-slapped-with-stop-work-order/

Monday, October 20, 2008

Update - IMAX coming to Sheepshead Bay October 24th

It's on page 33 of today's print edition of the Daily News.

Here is a link to the website for the theater

http://www.regmovies.com/content/SheepsheadBayIMAX.aspx

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Village Voice - ULURP starts in December

Excerpt -

Expect more twists and turns between now and the start of the rezoning process, which at last word from the city was slated to begin in December and run through next summer.

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/archives/2008/10/notwithstanding.php

A logical starting point as Coney Island's core is deserted during the winter. There is no better time to start the process of approving a year round plan.

Muscle's View

As we move forward into the next decade, we will see Atlantic Yards and Coney Island as the 2 most important new developments in this borough. They will be centerpiece developments, ironically on opposite sides of Brooklyn.

By 2013 the Atlantic Yards arena (Barclay's arena) and the new Coney (including the amphitheater) should both be complete as Brooklyn catapults itself into direct competition with Manhattan as the center of NYC.

This Brooklyn development renaissance has been going on for well over a decade and will not be stopped. Nimbys can complain. The economy can have its ups and downs.

The Big Picture is Brooklyn is growing and changing. Nobody can stop it. The competition with Manhattan is inevitable. Basically we will be seeing a new Times Square (Coney) and a new Madison Square Garden (Atlantic Yards /Barclay's) tranforming Brooklyn.

These successful Manhattan models of huge development are definitely where Brooklyn is heading.

Marty's statement on Atlantic Yards

September 29, 2008


BP MARKOWITZ STATEMENT ON STATUS OF ATLANTIC YARDS PROJECT

“I am disappointed by the recent New York State Appellate Division denial of the motion to dismiss the eminent domain suit filed by opponents of Atlantic Yards.

I truly believe that in the current economy, Brooklyn needs the kind of investment that Atlantic Yards will bring—the union jobs and affordable housing it will create. Projects like this one are catalysts for job creation and growth, and Atlantic Yards is a very important part of the effort to help Downtown Brooklyn, which is so well-served by public transit, become the kind of live-work hub and center of cultural life that our borough of 2.5 million has long deserved.

Though it’s certainly unfortunate that it now faces a delay during a time when our borough needs good jobs and housing more urgently than ever, I remain optimistic that Atlantic Yards will be built and that it will indeed be a strong economic engine for Brooklyn and New York City far into the future.”

—Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz

http://www.brooklyn-usa.org/Press/2008/sep29.htm

Letter in today's NY Post

Fantasy Island

Coney Island's history is defined by change ("Coney Gains a Big Amusement Spark," Oct. 16).

About every 20 years, a renewed Coney Island has emerged, but that 20-year cycle of renewal ended by the 1950s. Since then, the only major changes were the beautiful new subway station and Keyspan Park.

Along the amusement stretch of the boardwalk, the only addition has been the arrival of Shoot the Freak, which operates in the open air on a sliver of land formerly occupied by a dilapidated building. Is that progress?

Coney Island contains some of the most valuable, but underutilized, real estate in Brooklyn, perhaps the entire city. It's long past the time to bring this asset up to date. Sadly, the wait is getting longer.

Chris Bischof, Brooklyn

http://www.nypost.com/seven/10192008/postopinion/letters/fantasy_island_134281.htm

Saturday, October 18, 2008

NY Times on Coney, with Seth Pinksy comments

Excerpts

Much of the area is currently designated under a highly restrictive zoning category, known as C7, that permits only large amusement rides. This has contributed to the area’s decline, as many amusement properties that have closed have not been replaced or redeveloped.

The city plans to begin a seven-month rezoning process late this year or early next year. “It would be optimal to have as much support as possible,” said Seth Pinksy, president of the Economic Development Corporation, the agency that handled the negotiation for the city.

He said that by the time the process was completed, he hoped to have support “from all the local players.”

The city and Thor Equities, the largest landowner in the area, had been at loggerheads despite a proposed compromise by the Bloomberg administration to shrink the city-owned amusement area that would be protected in perpetuity to 9 acres from 15. “We continue to stand behind the rezoning framework,” Mr. Pinsky said. “We think it’s the right plan for Coney Island both from an amusement perspective and for the larger community.”

More here

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/16/nyregion/16coney.html?_r=1&ref=nyregion&oref=slogin

2 Multi-Million dollar properties for sale in Coney

1101 - 1113 Bowery Street
Asking $6.5 Mil

http://www.masseyknakal.com/listingimages/setup/pdf/633524981320312500_Setup.pdf


1205 - 1207 Bowery Street
Asking $4.5 Mil

http://www.masseyknakal.com/listingimages/setup/pdf/633524990900937500_Setup.pdf

The Biggest Question Of All

What will the Nimbys fight after Coney Island's rezoning is completed Summer 2009? That's the biggest question out there. I don't believe there is a fight post-zoning.

Is anybody looking at the scenerio after rezoning?

We are on our way!

Video - BCAT Reporter Roundtable

Coney Island Development Discussion

http://www.briconline.org/bcat/popups/roundtable/episode211.asp

NY Times 1907 - New Steeplechase Park

NEW STEEPLECHASE TO COST $1,000,000; Tilyou Plans Amusement Palace and Pavilion of Fun for Coney Island. FIREPROOF PARK THIS TIME Steel and Concrete Buildings Will Replace Those Destroyed by Fire Last Summer.

December 29, 1907, Sunday
Page 7, 650 words

Full article here

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9D01E4DD113EE033A2575AC2A9649D946697D6CF

Daily News on Sunset Park

There are still some very good buys in this volatile economy. One Sunset Park, a conversion building at the top of the park with views of New York Harbor and the Manhattan skyline, has fully renovated studios starting at $300,000 and 1,114-square-foot, two-bedrooms selling at $585,000.

Sunset Park is a fast-rising neighborhood with old-fashioned New York diversity. Across the street from a park with one of Brooklyn's great swimming pools, this 44-unit building straddles a full-fledged Chinatown and an area with great Latino flair. Through the FHA, the building offers first-time homebuyers with incomes below $75,000 a full $7,500 tax credit. Halstead Properties is handling the sales; call (718) 878-1792 if interested.

Catering to the entire neighborhood, sales people fluent in English, Spanish and Chinese are on staff. One Sunset Park is the perfect building for those looking for emerging neighborhoods with a huge upside in appreciation.

http://www.nydailynews.com/real_estate/2008/10/16/2008-10-16_the_closer_matthew_modine_leaves_greenwi.html

Marty calls Gowanus the Venice of Brooklyn

NY Mag Excerpt -

“Someday, I see the Gowanus as the Venice of Brooklyn. I really do!” Markowitz enthused. But even the ever-optimistic borough cheerleader doesn’t recommend swimming in the Gowanus. “But you can already take a little canoe there; they have that regularly,” he said. “But there are no fish that have been sighted there yet," Markowitz cautioned. "And if there are, I wouldn’t suggest you eat it.”

http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2008/10/marty_markowitz_gowanus_may_be.html

Friday, October 17, 2008

Brooklyn Eagle - Bruce Ratner, Never Surrender

Excerpt

Ratner revealed this week that a recent decision by the courts would keep the Nets from moving into their yet-to-be-built Downtown digs until 2011 at the earliest – that’s a four-year delay from the original land date proposed by the real estate magnate back in 2004 when he took control of the franchise. “Let me be clear that the project will go forward,” insists Ratner, who is featuring the Downtown arena as the centerpiece for his plan to reshape the Brooklyn skyline with up to 16 new skyscrapers.

More here

http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=8&id=23874

Brooklyn Eagle - Bay Breeze condos

Excerpt -

SHEEPSHEAD BAY —

A new European-style residential building is ready to launch sales on the waterfront in Sheepshead Bay.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony last week attracted Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz to join John Reinhardt, president and CEO of Fillmore Real Estate, the exclusive sales agent for Bay Breeze Bay Breeze is described as a high-end, European-style residence offering studios to penthouses at relatively affordable prices — from the low $200,000s to the $800,000 range.

“Bay Breeze’s Sheepshead Bay neighborhood is enjoying a renaissance,” said John Reinhardt, Fillmore CEO. “Proximity to the water, boating and fishing activities, and a plethora of fine shops and amenities make it one of Brooklyn’s most desirable communities.”

More here

http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=5&id=23886

Pro Wrestling returns to South Brooklyn!

November 1st. Old favorites Bruno Sammartino and Captain Lou Albano will be there.

More here

http://www.aviatorsports.com/
http://www.worldpremierwrestling.com/

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Muscle's View

I believe Thor and the City right now both have very favorable plans for Coney Island, and the city's plan is going to happen. My belief is there will be 9 acres set aside for outdoor amusements/parkland and the city plan will pass fairly quickly - by summer.

Basically amusement parks are not a very profitable business so those 9 acres will not be worth much. In my opinion that is most likely why Thor backed out of buying that 1 acre, but do notice that Ward's property on Surf Avenue was not part of the deal with the city. Thor was said to be after that property too. No further word on that.

I think Deno's kiddie park is staying where it is for the next decade and I would not at all be surprised if the city acquires the rest of the 5 acres of parkland from Thor and puts amusements there too. Why would Thor want to run low profit margin amusements in that area? Let the city handle it.

The rest of the property Thor owns in the core ( outside of the parkland) should become hotels, restaurants, indoor amusements and retail very similar to Times Square. Extremely attractive for development profitability and a year round economic boom for the community.

Basically, with Bloomberg most likely staying for another 4 year term, the city's plan is extremely likely to pass. It's a good compromise plan with a balance of amusements and indoor year round development which Coney desperately needs.

Yesterday's buy was a key indicator that the city is moving towards passing their plan quickly. And that is very good news for Coney development.

Brooklyn Paper Editorial

They pretty much ripped the NYC buy of 1 acre for $11 million

Entitled Bloomy's Coney Baloney -

http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/31/41/31_41_editorial.html

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lynn Kelly talks timeline for Coney rezoning

NY Observer excerpt -

The Bloomberg administration had been rushing to move forward with a rezoning of the area before Mayor Bloomberg was slated to leave office by the end of 2009, despite there being no clear resolution in sight with Thor. But with the potential for a third term lingering, the city says its timeline will stay the same.

"As far as we're concerned, it's still full steam ahead with exactly the timeline that we put forward before," said Lynn Kelly, president of the city-run Coney Island Development Corporation. The city plans to enter the seven-month public approval process for the plan this winter, she said.

http://www.observer.com/2008/real-estate/city-pays-11-m-coney-site-once-sought-thor

City buys 1 acre of Coney land

Interesting to note that this does not include the area north of the WonderWheel which is not in the plan for parkland

Bloomberg News excerpt -

The land being purchased is between Wonder Wheel and the boardwalk and mostly contains rides for children. Wonder Wheel Park has a lease to operate the property through 2020, according to the city. The acre doesn't contain the ferris wheel or the entire park.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=adSFbj74Yh5Y&refer=us

The land on Surf where the hotel is supposed to go was not mentioned as part of this deal. Interesting.

This was an $11 million deal for 1 acre of the 9 acre proposed parkland piece. So it looks very likely that the city is moving ahead with its very logical plan announced in June.

Another excerpt from the Bloomberg piece that is very telling -

``This important deal brings us one step closer to our twin goals of maintaining what is best about Coney Island, while simultaneously building a vibrant, modern mixed-use community,'' said EDC president Seth Pinsky.

Bay News - Recchia Responds

Recchia responds
Friday, September 19, 2008 7:59 PM EDT

To The Editor:

In regard to your recent article, “Recchia heirs on Coney plan,” I am disappointed to find that the people looking to succeed me know so little about the redevelopment proposed for our community.

First, rents will not double, or triple. We have made extensive efforts to ensure current residents will not be forced out. We are even building more affordable housing.

New York City Housing Authority rents prices are stable, and are not dictated by economic development.

Second, the proposal does have a component for a new school at Surf Avenue and West 29th Street – one that will meet and surpass the evolving needs of our city’s children. During the negotiating process, I insisted on this to handle the influx of new residents.

Third, the people of western Coney Island are not being ignored. Besides the benefits they would reap from revitalization – including jobs – they are getting a state-of-the-art community center and continued improvements to Kaiser Park.

Finally, these negotiations are not going on “behind the scenes.” The plan has been on the table, the mayor has been actively involved and there have been countless meetings and focus groups with the community to discuss the future of Coney Island.

I understand the difficulty in redeveloping our community. I also know that the only way we are going to create local jobs, spur the economy all year long, retain the spirit of Coney Island and move toward the future is to work together. Spreading incorrect information is a stumbling block on the road to revitalization.

Domenic M. Recchia, Jr.
Council Member
47th District


http://www.yournabe.com/articles/2008/09/26/bay_news/news/letters/bay_news_news_lettersrecchiares09192008.txt

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Marty and Bloomberg - Pro Brooklyn Development

NY Post excerpt -

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is cashing in big-time by being a favorite of Mayor Bloomberg.

Since 2003, the Bloomberg administration has handed out at least $2.7 million in taxpayer cash to three nonprofit groups Markowitz set up to fund "free" concerts and other pet projects, a Post investigation has found.

The programs funded have been instrumental in boosting Markowitz's popularity and helping him get re-elected, critics charge.

Democrat Markowitz, in turn, has been a huge supporter of Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-independent.

He's campaigned hard for Bloomberg, calling on his own strong central Brooklyn constituency to back the mayor, political pundits say. And he's backed just about every Bloomberg development project for Brooklyn.

More here

http://www.nypost.com/seven/10142008/news/regionalnews/sure_pays_for_marty_to_be_mikes_buddy_133558.htm

Great new Brooklyn Aces Blog

Miss the Cyclones during the winter? Well you can follow the new Brooklyn minor league hockey team that is about to start their season in a few weeks at Aviator Sports. Just a few minutes from Coney at Floyd Bennett Field. Patrick Hickey Jr. is the author of the new Brooklyn Aces blog

http://www.acesoverbrooklyn.com/

Monday, October 13, 2008

Indoor Brooklyn Batting Cages

Brooklyn Indoor Sports Center in Sunset Park

http://www.3rdavenuesportscenter.com/batting_cages

Indoor swimming pools in South Brooklyn


As we wait for the Coney Indoor Waterpark to be developed, just wanted to post where we go swimming during the winter here in Brooklyn. 2 Great Pools. The first is the Olympic sized 6 lane pool at Brooklyn Sports Club in Starrett City and the second is the heated Indoor Pool at Paerdegat Athletic Club in Canarsie.

http://www.brooklynsportsclub.com/images/morfeoshow/photo_galler-7282/big/photo1.jpg


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Audio - The Changing Face of Coney Island

Listen to comments from Thor Equities, Recchia and Zigun here -

America Public Media

http://marketplace.publicradio.org/www_publicradio/tools/media_player/popup.php?name=marketplace/morning_report/2008/08/15/marketplace_morning_report0550_20080815_64&starttime=00:03:56.0&endtime=00:06:21.68

Text here

http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/08/15/coney_island/

For those of you that think Coney isn't about to change drastically- Think again!

Slideshow of Coney's Rezoning Framework

Presentation at the Municipal Art Society "Coney Island at the Crossroads". Slides are very similar to the June Scoping Hearing slides. Only a couple added. The actual rezoning framework shown looks exactly the same as it was in June.

An excellent year round plan that I am expecting to be finalized summer 2009.

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/coney_island/presentation_09_2008.shtml

Brooklyn's First IMAX Theater - continued

This is what is behind this deal. The IMAX will be opening before the end of 2008 here in Sheepshead Bay. Great move for South Brooklyn! A real surprise!

IMAX and Regal Sign 31-Theater Deal

Source: IMAX Corporation

March 24, 2008

IMAX Corporation and Regal Cinemas, Inc. today announced a joint-venture agreement to install 31 IMAX® Digital projection systems at Regal locations in 20 major U.S. markets. The theaters will feature IMAX's Digital projection system which is being developed for the IMAX MPX® theatre design. The 31 IMAX® theaters announced today will expand the joint venture partnership between IMAX and Regal Cinemas to 38 theaters, and bring Regal's total number of IMAX theaters to 52 by the end of 2010.

http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=43277

Crains - 2 Starrett City Bidders are out

Two Starrett City bidders are out
Owners agree with HUD and reject purchase offers from the NHP Foundation and Greater Allen Development Corp.

The field of Starrett City bidders has been cut in half as the complex’s owners have officially rejected proposals from two groups. The NHP Foundation and the Greater Allen Development Corp. submitted bids despite a last-minute ruling from state and federal housing officials that they didn’t have the financial or managerial capacity to run the 46-tower development. Now, owner Starrett City Associates has followed suit and withdrawn the two bidders from contention.

More here

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081003/FREE/810039976/1097/toc

Today's NY Times - Canarsie Profile

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/12/realestate/12livi.html

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Recchia for Bloomberg and Marty

Observer excerpt

"I'm very happy the mayor is going to stay and, hopefully, get re-elected," he said. Recchia said his own extensive, but unfinished work on the rezoning of Coney Island is one reason he'd like to see four more years of Bloomberg.

"What happens if the next person doesn't pick up on the rezoning process?" he asked. "What happens if the new mayor goes in and wants to do something different?"

As for voters, he said, "If they're unhappy, they can vote him [Bloomberg] out, vote me out."

More here
http://www.observer.com/2008/politics/recchia-more-bloomberg-coney-island-development

Councilman Domenic Recchia just released a statement calling on the Working Families Party to postpone its plans to interview candidatesfor the 2009 Brooklyn borough president's race tomorrow night, sayingthe labor-backed party should wait until the term limits question is settled.

"We should wait until the term limits situation is resolved, not just because it would radically alter the electoral landscape, but out ofdeference to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz," Recchia said.

"Marty has done a phenomenal job as Brooklyn Borough President and deserves the opportunity to be considered by all organizations that will be endorsing candidates for the 2009 election."

"As councilman for the 47th District, I believe there is no better champion for Brooklyn than Marty, and would whole-heartedly supporthim if he chooses to run for re-election."

Recchia, according to his Council colleagues, has been at the forefront of pushing for a term limits extension.

http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2008/10/recchia-does-markowitz-a-solid.html

Parkland Issue

NY Observer - Interview with Lieber

Excerpt

With Coney Island, where do talks stand with the largest landowner, Joe Sitt?

We have told Joe for well over a year that we would be interested in acquiring his land; that we believe that the long-term iconic nature of Coney Island can only be preserved—can best be preserved by a statute of parkland there that will provide longer-term certainty around use there; and that we would certainly be open to talking there. And we have discussions after discussions after discussions. Kind of one step forward, two steps back. He's a very smart guy, clever; spent a lot of time crafting the acquisition plan he's got there. He spent a lot of money doing it as well, so I think he vacillates a bit on whether or not he really wants to sell to the city.

What's your plan at the end of the year if he doesn't agree to sell? Do you still intend to move forward with the rezoning?

Yep.

With his property, too?

Yep. We're going to take that strip of land—the nine acres in the middle there—and reaffirm that C-7 [amusement] zoning.

Would you make it parkland?

To make it parkland, we'd have to own it, and we're not there yet.

http://origin.observermediagroup.com/2008/real-estate/bloomberg-agenda-endgame?page=0%2C1