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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Brooklyn Eagle recaps the Rezoning

Excerpt -


The City Council approves the Coney Island Redevelopment Plan aimed at transforming Coney Island into a year-round entertainment complex, with a new amusement park, high-rise hotels, restaurants, retail stores, movie theaters and the city’s first new rollercoaster since 1927. Community activists, however, say redevelopment could rob Coney Island of its old nostalgia, even though the Cyclone and Wonder Wheel will survive.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Marty's Brooklyn predictions for 2010

Brooklyn Eagle excerpt -

For Brooklyn, Marty predicts:

The shovels will hit the ground on the Barclays Center/Atlantic Yards project; Asbestos removal at Loew’s Kings Theater will get underway, bringing the famed theater one step closer to a new life;

Redevelopment of Asser Levy Seaside Park will get underway; Improved lighting at the Parachute Jump; Affordable housing will be built as part of the Coney Island redevelopment; and City Point construction will begin.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Zigun decides what is right or wrong for Coney

Zigun's quote

Village Voice Excerpt

"To answer the question: Yes, Coney has to change, has to rebuild. It's just a question, will it be done the right way or the wrong way? The Mayor started with a pretty good quality plan that I supported, but then they watered down the plan, which is when I resigned from the Development Corporation. For all the fighting and screaming, we didn't lose everything, we had an influence. The Mayor's plan originally had 15 acres for amusements, got shrunk to nine; now it's up to twelve-and-a-half acres. So we did win something for the years of screaming."

It's quite unbelievable these guys are still saying what is right or wrong like they are the only ones with an opinion. LOL

And the 12.5 acres was in the plan that Zigun fought against. They are just including Steeplechase Plaza and the Cyclone land in addition to the 9 new acres of parkland. It's semantics. Bloomberg got his plan passed intact. What a spin from Zigun! My goodness. I am so glad this rezoning and deal are done and in the past. All the fighting thankfully means zero now. Go Coney - Year Round!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mayor's press release on Atlantic Yards


“While the rest of the country wrings its hands about the national recession, we’re building our way out of it. The $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project - the most extensive development ever undertaken in Brooklyn - is moving forward, bringing thousands of units of housing and thousands of jobs for New York City’s middle class. In the past few weeks alone, we’ve made major investments or reached critical milestones on development projects decades in the making at areas like the Hudson Yards, Hunter’s Point South, Coney Island, Willets Point and other neighborhoods across the City. This is no time to wait and see what happens with the national economy and just hope for the best. We’re acting more aggressively than ever to create jobs and ensure New York City’s best days are still to come.”

NY Times - Atlantic Yards Documents Signed

Excerpt -

Documents Signed, Atlantic Yards Moves Ahead

Sometime after 9:49 Wednesday morning, the developer Bruce C. Ratner put down his pen after signing 640 separate documents relating to the closing on his long delayed 22-acre Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, and let out a long sigh of relief.

After six long years, his planned project is showing big signs of moving forward.

At roughly the same time, the proceeds from selling $511 million in tax-exempt bonds for the development’s first project, an 18,000-seat arena for the Nets basketball team, went into an escrow account. And the state filed a petition in court to condemn a portion of the 22-acre parcel, including some parcels owned by residents who oppose the project and the state’s use of eminent domain. Also, Mr. Ratner and his partner, the Russian billionaire Mikhail D. Prokhorov, put up about $230 million for the next stage of the project.

“It’s incredible,” Mr. Ratner said. “I always told everyone that it was going to get done, but there were moments when I don’t think I really believed it myself.”

Monday, December 21, 2009

NY Post - Amphitheater and Environmental Study

Excerpts -

No 'Coney Island Center' without environmental study
By Joe Maniscalco
Last Updated: 1:55 PM, December 21, 2009
Posted: 1:55 PM, December 21, 2009

Borough President Marty Markowitz’s drive to build his new $64 million “Coney Island Center” at Asser Levy Seaside Park will not go forward until an environmental assessment is done.

The mayor’s office confirmed this week that the Design Commission will not vote on the amphitheater project without benefit of the assessment.

Borough Hall had hoped to begin construction on at least part of the park project by now, even though it remains unclear whether the overall plan will ultimately be subjected to the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).

If it is not, the Design Commission’s vote could be the only approval Markowitz needs to go ahead with his dream project.

While officials at the Department of Parks and Recreation initially indicated that they were working on the environmental assessment, it now appears that the New York City Economic Development Corporation [EDC] will actually be completing the report.

In the offing for months, amphitheater critics now say they are worried about the validity of the environmental assessment.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Coney quote - Libby Langsdorf, Assistant VP for Public Affairs at EDC

HMonthly excerpt -

Langsdorf counters that critics who claim that Coney Island’s historic identity is being jeopardized by the City’s plan miss the point that that Coney Island’s glory days have been AWOL for years. “The City is the only one with the ability to put in the necessary infrastructure to create a viable 21st-century, year-round amusement destination,” she claimed. Of the family-owned attractions, she said, “People were selling out. They couldn’t continue to manage their operations only three months out of the year with all these other vacant properties surrounding the amusements that were left. What you need is the neighborhood services that will keep people here year-round and also draw visitors year-round,” Langdorf continued. “The amusements are important, but we don’t want to leave out the importance of building up the neighborhood.” She tossed out a grim reality: “Coney Island has the highest unemployment rate in Brooklyn. One sixth of its residents live in Section 8 housing.” The key to rebuilding the area—attracting people, jobs, and dollars—lies in modernizing the area somewhat while still ‘respecting the integrity’ of landmarks such as the Parachute Jump.” She also added that rezoning included specific requirements for preserving views, “footprints” of new structures, and structure spacing.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Aviators to join All-American Hockey League?

The Wave excerpt -

Sources say that the new league is close to merging with the older All- American Hockey League, which has six teams playing in the Chicago, Illinois area.

At least two of the teams from that league will soon come to Brooklyn to play against the Aviators.

Next year, sources say, a New Jersey team will join with the Aviators, the Connecticut C-Men and the Rhode Island Storm to form an eastern division for the AAHL. Then, the league will play an integrated schedule, with the eastern teams making a western swing and the middle-westerners coming to Brooklyn on a regular schedule.

Kinetic Carnival on the deal

They seem to think that they know the right way to rezone Coney and say the city should change their plan. I know, I know there is only one right way to develop Coney. It's right because they say it's right! LOL

Won't happen Kinetic's way. Deal is done. The city will put in $150 million in infrastructure for the large scale development. Coney is going year round and this summer starts the new Coney with phase one - the amusements. The hotels, restaurants and entertainment retail come after the infrastructure. This City/Thor deal is done!

Kinetic Carnival excerpt -

The city now has the opportunity to modify their plan for the main amusement core in Coney. Let's see if they now turn around and make the needed changes to the oxymoron parts of their plan.

Friday, December 18, 2009

This summer in Coney

I expect we will see the biggest summer visitor numbers in the last 50 years as the new Coney Island begins! It's going to be one great summer!

Brownstoner - Thor and the City close on Coney deal

Interesting confirmation that Thor retains half the land for year-round development - Excellent!

Brownstoner excerpt-

From Thor's press release: "Today marks a new beginning for Coney Island and the culmination of a lot of hard work," said Joseph Sitt, Chairman and CEO of Thor Equities. "In the end, we all wanted the same thing: to return Coney Island to its historic grandeur and prosperous past. The sale of half of our land allows the City to move forward with its vision and for Thor to continue to be an integral part of Coney’s future. Now it’s time for all of us to come together and get back to work in restoring the People’s Playground to its prominent position as the preeminent amusement and entertainment destination in the world." Thor still controls about 6 acres of Coney land where the company says it's going to build hotels and retail.

NY Daily News Editorial on Atlantic Yards

Excerpt -

And they said it couldn't be done. Who? The obstructionists who threw lawsuit after lawsuit at Ratner's Atlantic Yards plan - and got tossed out by judges up to and including the second-highest federal appeals bench and New York's top court.

The opponents are now down to the equivalent of firing rubber bands at the approaching bulldozers. And thank goodness for that. Because, assuming the NBA approves, the city will reap substantial benefits from the opening of a major arena in Brooklyn, along with the arrival of a sports franchise. (LeBron! LeBron! LeBron!)

Read more:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

NY Times on the Bond Sale

Excerpt -

$500 Million in Bonds Sold in 2 Hours for Nets’ Arena
Published: December 15, 2009

Almost six years after he bought the Nets with plans to move the team to Brooklyn, the developer Bruce C. Ratner and a local development corporation sold more than $500 million in tax-exempt bonds in two hours Tuesday morning for a new basketball arena in Brooklyn.

Indeed, the demand for the bonds from institutional investors far outstripped what was available and belied the project’s tortured history and court challenges.

Brooklyn Nets Arena Bonds sell fast!

Excerpt -

Bonds for new Nets arena sell well

NEW YORK — A developer's plan to move the New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn has gotten a boost from Wall Street.

Investors quickly bought up $511 million in tax-free bonds that went on sale Tuesday to pay for part of the much-delayed project.

Nets principal owner Bruce Ratner says the strong sales show that investors have confidence in the project.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Atlantic Yards bonds to go on sale within days

Brooklyn Paper excerpt -

Goodbye blue Monday — Ratner’s tax-free bonds may go on sale within days
By Stephen Brown
The Brooklyn Paper

Get ’em while they’re hot! The tax-exempt bonds that are critical to financing the Atlantic Yards arena are set to go on the market next week — and they’re expected to sell faster than you can say “land grab.”

NY Aviators 10-0

A’s Play C-Dogs this Fri & Sat

The undefeated A’s (10-0) will play the Connecticut C-Dogs this Friday, Dec 11 and Saturday Dec 12 against the C-Dogs at 7:30pm.

Before Friday’s game, NFL Cheerleaders will be “Dropping the Puck.”
After the game, at the Winnie Mae Grill, the cheerleaders will be meeting and greeting and signing autographs.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Indoor Winter Swimming in South Brooklyn

As we continue to wait for the Indoor Waterpark in Coney to be developed, we found some additional pools right here in South Brooklyn. Last winter I wrote about the Paerdegat in Canarsie and Brooklyn Sports Club in Starrett City. Both have beautiful indoor pools that we have visited.

Some friends have turned me on to the Bally's pools right here in Sheepshead Bay, Kings Highway and Bensonhurst. If you are not a Bally's member it costs just $15 for a guest pass for a day's visit. Check it out -


Kings Highway


Domenic said it at the Coney press conference

Once Joe Sitt invested in Coney Island everybody began talking about developing Coney Island again.

Domenic truly is a Brooklyn visionary. Coney development was his campaign promise 8 years ago.

We are truly on the brink of tremendous change in Brooklyn!

Brooklyn is getting Times Square and MSG at the same time

It really is amazing that both Coney Island and Atlantic Yards are progressing at the same time. Picture Times Square with amusements by the sea at Coney and another Madison Square Garden in Atlantic Yards.

Anybody who believes Brooklyn will not be competing with Manhattan for tourism and business over the next few years is nuts. It's all coming together and a large thank you has to go out to Marty, Domenic and Bloomberg. There was huge political support for this, and it would not have progressed if there wasn't that support.


Daily News - 50 Amusement companies from 7 countries

Excerpt -

Competition to bring back the once-grand amusement destination got so fierce that some operators reported cloak-and-dagger efforts to find out what the other guy was planning.

Jim Seay, president of Maryland-based Premier Rides, said he's preparing a bid, but like many bidders, is keeping mum on the details so competitors don't snatch his ideas.

"It's like a military secrets type thing," he said. "There's already people going around the industry trying to figure out what's going to be proposed."
The intrigue is a far cry from years past, when amusement big shots had written Coney off as dead.

"Coney Island had been given this bad name of representing urban decay, cheesy, tawdry amusement parks," said Mel McGowan of Visioneering Studios, an architecture firm that may partner with a bidder. "It sounds like there is a pretty solid will to do something now."

High-thrill rides like the human slingshot - which launches riders 300 feet into the air at 100 miles per hour - will be the centerpiece of a likely proposal by Atlantic Pier Amusements, which runs the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, said co-owner Tony Catanoso.

And Morris Vivona of Amusements of America, which runs dozens of carnivals around the country every year, said he'd bid to come to Coney. But, he would only say his closely guarded plans would "restore Coney Island to its former glory and beyond."

Larry Nadeo, who owns several amusement parks in Florida, touted a long-shot idea he said would set his plan apart: reopening the iconic but long-shuttered Parachute Jump. "It's the heart. It's everything," he said.

Also mulling throwing a hat in the ring are Ripley Entertainment, Tivoli Gardens - whose Denmark park is among the oldest in the world - and hometown favorite Carol Albert, who ran Astroland until it closed last year.

Albert has said she'd love to bring back a new and improved Astroland, but was coy when reached for comment last week. "I'm still thinking about it," she said.

Read more:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Brooklyn Billiards

Great Brooklyn Paper article about all the pool halls in Brooklyn. Many located right here in South Brooklyn!

Brooklyn Nets Win Again

NY Times Excerpt -New Nets Arena Wins Another Court Challenge

Published: December 1, 2009

The developer Bruce C. Ratner won another court challenge to his $1 billion basketball arena in Brooklyn on Tuesday, just as he began the sale of the bonds for the long-delayed project.

The financial underpinnings of the project, the cornerstone of the 22-acre Atlantic Yards development, also emerged on Tuesday when two rating agencies assigned an investment grade rating for $646 million in bonds for the project. In addition, the developer and his partners will use a $131 million subsidy from the Bloomberg administration and invest $293.4 million of their own to build the 18,282-seat arena at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues.

Mr. Ratner, who is already doing construction work on portions of the site, plans to start selling the bonds this month and to take possession of the entire property early next year. The arena is expected to be completed by June 2012, when the New Jersey Nets would move from East Rutherford, N.J., to Brooklyn.

At the same time, the Court of Appeals declined to hear an appeal from some property owners who said the state’s decision to condemn their land would benefit a private developer, rather than the general public, as required by the New York Constitution. Last week, the Court of Appeals ruled six to one that the state could exercise eminent domain in claiming businesses, public property and private homes for economic development projects like Atlantic Yards.

Way to Go Ziggy!


Daily News excerpt -

Coney Island USA founder Dick Zigun said even though he's also pushed to enlarge the amusement area and move the hotels, he thought the suit could be counterproductive.

"Any business that exists in Coney Island desperately wants to see redevelopment happen immediately. I would like to see ground broken...yesterday," he said. "I'm not looking to complicate things so that nothing happens."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Marty and Bloomberg on Atlantic Yards

Brooklyn Eagle -

“The ruling by the state Court of Appeals reinforces previous decisions supporting the numerous public benefits of the Atlantic Yards project — during these difficult economic times and into Brooklyn’s bright future — including the creation of affordable housing, solid union jobs and permanent employment opportunities for Brooklynites who need work,” Markowitz said Tuesday. “Today’s decision from our state’s highest court marks what amounts to the final step in the legal process to make it happen. Finally, we will bring a national professional sports team and a world-class facility back to our borough after 52 years! Brooklyn’s shovels are, and have been, ready. So, let’s pick them up and get to work!”


“The state court ruled in favor of the city because this is a project that the city really needs,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today during a media briefing. “It gives us another great venue for the big events which define New York and for sports, which the public loves. And it’s also going to catalyze development in a part of Brooklyn that has been underused for an awful long time.”

How freakin great is this? Coney and Atlantic Yards developed concurrently. What a month this has been for Brooklyn Development!

YES!!! Brooklyn Nets in 2012!!!!! YES!!!!!!!

NY Times Excerpt

Atlantic Yards Project in Brooklyn Clears Legal Hurdle
Published: November 24, 2009

The last major obstacle to a groundbreaking for the $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn fell Tuesday when New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, dismissed a challenge to the state’s use of eminent domain on behalf of the developer, Bruce C. Ratner.

Mr. Ratner, whose 22-acre development has been delayed for three years by a flurry of lawsuits, the collapse of the credit and real estate markets and a glut of luxury housing, plans to begin selling tax-free bonds next month to finance the development’s cornerstone project: an 18,000-seat basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues near downtown.

The Court of Appeals ruled that the state could exercise eminent domain in seizing the 22 acres, much of which sits within an urban redevelopment area, for Atlantic Yards. Critics of the project had argued that eminent domain on behalf of a private developer was improper and a violation of the state’s Constitution.

“Once again the courts have made it clear that this project represents a significant public benefit for the people of Brooklyn and the entire city,” Mr. Ratner said. “Our commitment to the entire project is as strong today as when we started six years ago. Today, however, this project is even more important given the need for jobs and economic development.”

The developer expects that construction of the arena will take about 28 months, enabling the Nets to move from East Rutherford, N.J., to Brooklyn about June 2012.

Amphitheater - Statement from Marty's spokesperson

Bay News Excerpt -

When contacted, Laura Sinagra, a spokesperson for the Borough President’s office, said that Markowitz “understands that even with a wonderful park rehabilitation like this one, there are those who will see its value and those who may feel differently.”

She added that Markowitz “would like to reiterate that the goal of this project is to renovate the park and ensure it is not only a welcoming eastern gateway to a revitalized Coney Island, but a place where families and residents, including those of Brightwater, Warbasse, Trump Village and Luna Park, can enjoy recreation as well as the free music and cultural programming that residents have taken pleasure in over the years -- a hallmark of Asser Levy Seaside Park since at least the turn of the twentieth century.”

For months, opponents have been chastising board members for not speaking out against the amphitheater.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Take a look back - Part 2


Friday, September 26th 2003, 7:19AM
A plastic bubble over the Wonder Wheel? Heated cars on the Cyclone? A retractable dome for KeySpan Park?

Mayor Bloomberg wants to make Coney Island a year-round attraction - so yesterday, he announced the creation of a 13-member board that will spearhead comprehensive plan and draft an economic development strategy.

"Coney Island's economy really has to be a year-round one to be sustainable," he said as he stood on the famed Boardwalk. "It can't be just tied to the baseball season or to warm weather."

Take a look back

From the now defunct Brooklyn Skyline -

Big Plans For Coney Island?
May 26, 2003
By Jesse Serwer

A major announcement about Coney Island is just weeks away, Councilman Domenic Recchia revealed last week.

“In the weeks to come there will be a major announcement of how [the mayor], along with the City Council, plans to bring back Coney Island in such a way never seen before,” Recchia said at the annual Coney Island Beach opening on Wednesday.

The councilman did not elaborate, and repeated calls to his office were not returned. Recchia and Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff are currently in the process of creating a local development corporation for Coney Island.

Recchia’s “announcement” comes on the heels of a plan unveiled earlier this year by the Coney Island-based Astella Development Corporation. After gathering input from community groups, elected *and city officials, local residents and property owners and the Coney Island Chamber of Commerce over several years, the corporation released a plan on its website that includes an indoor sportsplex next to KeySpan Park and a water park and hotel to the east of the amusement park area.

“We wanted to give the city some type of incentive to build these things,” Astella Executive Director Judy Orlando said of the “Coney Island: A Vision Plan.”

Speaking on the Brooklyn cable access show “That’s Brooklyn” earlier this month, Recchia said a Coney Island sportsplex could make New York City more attractive to the Olympic selection committee. The councilman said he would also like to see an indoor pool built.

The sportsplex, as envisioned in the plan, would be an all-purpose arena that could host professional basketball games, amateur and school sports events. The arena would likely be constructed on a platform above the Abe Stark ice rink’s parking lot.

“That makes good sense,” said Orlando. “You could have the arena without taking away from needed parking.”

“This is what we hope to see — now we have to work with the property owners, the city and developers to see what could be implemented and go from there,” Orlando said.

The sportsplex could be the start of a Times Square-like renaissance for Coney Island. Developer Bruce Ratner, who was influential in the revitalization of both downtown Brooklyn and Times Square and whose plan to bring a sportsplex to Coney Island was nixed in the late ’90s in favor of KeySpan Park, still owns property nearby.

An unnamed source said Ratner, who helped bring Disney to Times Square, could be looking once again to attract Disney to Brooklyn’s shores.

The same source said the groundwork for re-development of the entire area is currently being laid down by the city — just look at the renovation of Stillwell Avenue and other area subway stations, the new sand brought in by Army engineers, and even the new, clean bathrooms at Nathan’s.

Astella is currently printing up copies of its plan and hopes to hold a formal announcement and celebration in the near future, saying it wants to market the area and work with the city to implement this.

Coney Island Assemblywoman Adele Cohen said she liked what she saw in the Astella plans but was unsure whether they were feasible amidst the current climate of economic hardship and budget cuts.

“It is hard to say what would be a reality — if anything will come to fruition. There is no money for anything right now,” she said. “But I am delighted to hear about anything that would revitalize Coney Island.”

“A hotel and water park would be just fine - they go along with Coney Island’s mission as a fun place,” Cohen said. “I support anything that would enhance the amusement area, and provide jobs for local residents but the most important thing is to make sure schools have roofs, our people have jobs, and public transportation is affordable.”

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NY Aviators 4-0

We went to the game last night. Great crowd. Love minor league hockey in Brooklyn!

Excerpt -

The New York Aviators (4-0) proved that they can remain victorious, with a 9-0 win last night against the Rhode Island Storm.

Kyle Tyll scored two goals for the A’s in the second and third period, and John Gofreddo, Vince Geonnetti, Angelo Serse, Chris Robinson, Jesse Felten, Chris Holmes, and Augusto DiMarco included one goal each throughout the game. Jerry Cardinale and John Gofreddo with one assist each ended the game. Chris Testa, Aviator’s goaltender, had another successful win with 24 saves.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Court Decision on Atlantic Yards expected early next week

Brooklyn Eagle excerpt -

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — It is very possible that the New York State Court of Appeals will issue its decision on the constitutionality of eminent domain at Atlantic Yards Monday or Tuesday.

Gary Spencer, the public information officer for the state’s high court, said that decisions on cases with the Court of Appeals will be handed down Monday and Tuesday, and then on the following Tuesday, Dec. 1. However, he did not say whether the Atlantic Yards decision would be included in these. If not, the court will resume session in mid-December.

There has been much speculation that the ruling would be made before Thanksgiving, which is Thursday, but the Court of Appeals has not said anything to that effect.

I have high hopes that ground is broken on Brooklyn's new arena in December and the Nets play here in 2011! Let's Go Brooklyn!!!!!!

After Keyspan Parking lot alienation

by the State Legislature which is expected this winter, my opinion is Taconic makes a move on that parking lot. How much the city asks? Who knows? 50-100 million? Maybe.

Bay News Cover Story - CB13 Drops Brighton Rezoning

This is very good news as Brighton will become one big condo Beach neighborhood to support Coney redevelopment. The Bigger the Better. Get rid of those horrendous bungalows.

Bay News Excerpt -

Community Board 13 no longer considers rezoning Brighton Beach a “priority.”

Each year, the board assembles a list of capital and expense priorities which is meant to encourage city agencies to complete certain projects, such as a rehabilitation of the Coney Island boardwalk. This year’s list boasts more than 50 projects but there’s no request for a rezoning plan for Brighton Beach.

The omission comes months after Community Board 13, at the request of City Councilmember Mike Nelson, voted against the Department of City Planning’s rezoning proposal for Brighton Beach. (Nelson had said he would introduce his own rezoning proposal.)

Following the CB13 defeat, City Planning officials said it’s unlikely that they’d ever again attempt to rezone the neighborhood.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Coney Ferry service study

Bay News excerpt -

Ahoy, Coney Island! The city is looking at three sites around the neighborhood that could one day become a new commuter ferry’s port o’ call.

“Finding alternative transportation options is an ongoing part of the city’s efforts to create more accessible and attractive neighborhoods,” New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth Pinsky said this week. “Ferry service in Coney Island could serve as a complement to the residential and commercial development that will occur in Coney Island over the coming years as part of the Coney Island Comprehensive Plan.”

Sites being considered for new docking facilities include Coney Island Creek, adjacent to Kaiser Park, Steeplechase Pier across from KeySpan Park, and West 8th Street adjacent to the New York Aquarium -- site of the old “Iron Pier.”

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


The absolute best move to keep Coney moving in the right direction towards development

Brooklyn Paper excerpt -

Astroland owner: I’ll be back (maybe)!
By Gersh Kuntzman

The woman who kept Coney Island’s Astroland alive during the neighborhood’s long decline only to see it close down one season too soon says she wants back into the action.

Carol Albert, who sold her land to landowner Joe Sitt, who evicted her last year, says she will make a pitch to reopen the space-themed amusement park now that the city has bought her land back from Sitt.

“Of course I’ll make a proposal,” Albert told The Brooklyn Paper days after the city issued a call for bids last week to run an amusement park on an interim basis until the city can bring in a permanent theme park operator and, if it all goes to plan, transform Coney Island into a 24-7-365 resort, entertainment, retail, and games destination.

Albert said she still has all the rides — except for the water flume —
from the day Astroland closed for good last year after Sitt declined to offer her a third one-year lease extension. Such extensions were necessary because Albert sold her land to Sitt in 2006 for $30 million.

“I’d like to put a new amusement park there, with all the old rides and some new,” she said. “I’d bring in lots of new rides.”

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Amusements must be successful next summer

It is absolutely imperative that they are a big hit. The only way large scale development of the condos and hotels starts to move quickly is if the city moves fast on the infrastructure and I just don't see that happening very quickly without a big push of people visiting the amusements next summer.

Astroland should make every attempt to come back and the city must make the amusements the biggest hit Coney has ever had next summer. With huge publicity for the area, hotels, theaters, restaurants condo development etc moves. If the amusements fail next summer then the large indoor development takes twice as long to happen.

It all depends on whether the amusements bring Coney back next summer. Root for a new improved Astroland. The publicity would be enormous!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

No word on Bullard's land

Right now the old Thunderbolt lot is an extremely valuable piece of property in Coney Island. Most of it is zoned for year round activity with a big hotel on Surf. The part close to the boardwalk is zoned as part of the eventual amusement parkland ( only about 1 acre of it).

No word yet on movement on that land.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Here's the way this rolls

City just put out an RFP for the parcels they bought. 10 year lease. Don't be surprised if Astroland is a strong bidder. City considers this interim but 10 years is a heck of a long time. They want permanent amusements after that. Amusements should be going up already by May of 2010 which is awesome news. We get this fast!

Thor waits for the amusements to go up and the $150 mil infrastructure before starting on the hotels, restaurants and indoor entertainment in Coney. That's going to take a couple of years before this portion will even get started. But that land will skyrocket in value once the amusements are successful so don't be surprised if Marriott, Hilton or Sheraton show very strong interest in Coney hotels. In fact I would say that is to be expected.

This winter the State Legislature should pass the alienation of the Keyspan parking lot land. Taconic then is clear to start building their condos and retail in Coney North and West on the land they already own. I think everone believes Taconic also has its eye on the Keyspan Parking lot for condos. I see Taconic moving very quickly and the buildout begins in 2010.

We are going to see great progress in Coney next year already. The amusement portion will start to spur the condo and hotel interest. Don't be fooled by everybody talking 15 years now. 2010 Coney starts again.

Quite honestly none of this scenario would have happened for Coney if Joe Sitt did not originally invest. All of this is happening because of Domenic's and Joe Sitt's vision for Coney close to a decade ago. The city would have never moved forward without this combination of political and private developer interest. The scenario now is better than anyone could have even imagined when this all started.

Year round Coney is about to happen and VERY SOON!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Get ready for Taconic's 20 condos

Once Keyspan's parking lot is alienated as parkland within the next few months, Taconic should be clear to start building in Coney North and West.

It will be 5 times the size of the Oceana in Brighton.

The land Joe Sitt keeps in Coney East

What is it worth? Since it is zoned for hotels, restaurants, stores and theaters my guess is it is worth more than double the amusement land he sold to the city. Also, and most importantly the city has promised $150 million in infrastructure.

The land is probably worth $200 million +

Joe Sitt calls Lola Staar

Can you feel the love returning to Coney?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Muscle Prediction - All the Thor bashing ends

When? - Very soon. Within weeks, maybe days.

Why? - They all have to work with him now.

It's that simple.

The Real Deal - Q&A with Joe Sitt

Excerpt -

You have squabbled with the city over this land since 2005, when you began to buy it. Over that time, the surviving amusement park section shrunk to a shell of its former self. How does it feel for this deal to be completed?

Yes. It feels really good, because when you work hard, you want to see something moving forward. This is an incredible opportunity to be partners with the city government to create one of the most talked about real-estate development in the United States in decades.

Initially, your plan called for a $1.5 billion mix of time-share hotels and a glass-enclosed water park, in what many compared with Las Vegas. Now that you will be squeezed into a smaller plot, what will it be? Will it look like the old renderings?

We have to redo all of our plans, but we will still have millions and millions of square feet of apartments and hotels and retail and restaurants and enclosed amusements. Yes, it will still have the Las Vegas component to it. The latter versions of the renderings are close to what it will be.

Earlier this year, the city offered to buy 10.45 acres of your holdings there for $105 million, which works out to about $229 a square foot. Now, the city has paid $320 a foot. That's a big increase. And that's close to what Manhattan land sold for at the peak. How did you do it?

Today's focus is not about the dollars. I'm happy, but that's not my main focus. My happiness is having a partner in the city of New York and a commitment of dollars to getting something done there.

More here

What an unbelievable press conference that was!

The key - Splitting the property between the city - open amusements, and Thor - hotels, stores restaurants AND $150 million invested in infrastructure by the city, WOW!!!!!

What a great day for Brooklyn and Coney Island. I can't begin to describe how thrilled I am about this deal going forward. Thor and the city working together at last! One should not ignore Bloomberg's statement about the city working with Joe Sitt on other development projects in addition to Coney Island!

Reposting the link

Happy Days for Coney development!

From the city press release -

"Today marks the start of an exciting new era for Coney Island," said Joseph Sitt, Chairman and CEO of Thor Equities, which will retain roughly half of the property it owns in Coney Island. "From the beginning, we have wanted to work collaboratively with anyone and everyone who shared my childhood dream, and now company mission, of developing a revitalized Coney Island. We couldn't be happier to be working side-by-side with Mayor Bloomberg as a partner in achieving that goal."


Rest of the press release and video

NY Times - Deal is Done

YES YES YES!!!!! They split the land. Go Coney Year Round!!!!!!

Excerpt -

Each side claimed victory, though no one wanted to comment for the record before Thursday’s announcement. While Mr. Sitt got much less than the $140 million he had wanted for 10.5 of the 12.5 acres he owned, the $95.6 million for 6.9 acres came to more than $300 a square foot — a huge amount in the current market. Mr. Sitt, chief executive of Thor Equities, plans to develop hotels and stores on his remaining 5.6 acres.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Great Night for Brooklyn Development

Bloomberg, Marty and Domenic all re-elected. Bloomberg even mentioned Coney jobs in his acceptance speech.

From Atlantic Yards to Coney Island year round development - We just had one great night! Go Brooklyn!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nov 10th - Sitt speaks at the Brooklyn Real Estate Roundtable

Brooklyn Eagle Excerpt -

The next Brooklyn Real Estate Roundtable is planned for Tuesday, Nov. 10, at the Brooklyn Historical Society in Brooklyn Heights.

Members of the Steering Committee include David Kramer, Hudson Companies, chairman; Eric Brody, The Brody Group; Chris Havens, Creative Real Estate Group; Paula Ingram, Ingram and Hebron; Michael Kaye, Douglaston Development; Tim King, CPEX; Ken Krasnow, Massey Knakal; Jason Muss, Muss Development; Bill Ross, Halstead Property; Joe Sitt, Thor Equities; David Von Spreckelsen, Toll Brothers; and Jed Walentas, Two Trees Management.

YouTube - Joe Sitt talks Coney

Picked this link up on the Coney boards from Tricia. This looks to be very very good news for year round Coney fans, as Sitt is interested in the hotel portion and the city seems interested in the open amusement portion of Coney East.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Joe Sitt talks Coney at Lincoln Center Real Deal Forum

Real Deal Excerpt -

Joe Sitt, the CEO of Thor Equities, echoed Roubini's pessimistic viewpoint with regard to the commercial side of the market.

"The commercial market is just starting to feel its pain," said Sitt, who has been engaged in a years-long struggle with the city over the redevelopment of Coney Island. "We haven't even tasted the pain that's about to come."

Sitt stayed mostly mum about his plans for Coney Island, but did say he and Mayor Michael Bloomberg are close to an agreement.

"We're starting to get on talking terms," he said. "We will figure out a solution."

Thanks to the economic slowdown, a mutually agreeable plan "will take more patience than Mayor Mike or myself would like," he said, but he ultimately believes that "Coney Island will be a special place."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Marty wants the Brooklyn Islanders

NY Post excerpt -

Islanders are Brooklyn's goal
Last Updated: 1:11 PM, October 8, 2009
Posted: 2:57 AM, October 8, 2009

The Brooklyn Islanders? Borough President Marty Markowitz yesterday threw Brooklyn’s puck into the ring to land the Long Island hockey team, saying, “Brooklyn is the only place they should consider” if team owner Charles Wang makes good on a threat to flee Nassau County.

“Put everyplace else on ice,” Markowitz told the Post. “We’ve got lots of hockey fans, and we’d even let them keep their name since we’re technically still on Long Island.”
Queens officials also have expressed interest in the Islanders, saying Willets Point would be ideal.

Although Markowitz is okay with the Islanders playing anywhere in Brooklyn, the logical choice is the planned $800 million Prospect Heights arena expected to host the NBA’s Nets by the 2011-12 season.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

NY Aviators Pro Hockey Tryouts

AVIATOR Sports & Events Center



SUNDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2009 11 AM

Tryout Sunday, October 11, 2009 and earn an invitation to
AVIATORS Main Tryout Camp. This one day tryout is limited
to 40 players and 8 goalies. The cost is $50.00 and you need an
approved R.S.V.P. for this event by contacting Head Coach Rob
Miller at 718 758-7585 or email to: .
Your age, the position you play and the last team you played for
must be provided prior to this one day tryout.

Brownstoner - Gravesend house sells for over $10 million

Excerpt -

Holy moly! The sale of 2111 East 2nd Street in Gravesend for $10.26 million just hit public records, and although the price tag isn't high enough to make it a Brooklyn record, it's definitely the biggest sale of this year, and probably one of the top 10 or so biggest house sales in the borough ever.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Marty endorses Bloomberg

He cited Brooklyn development too -

Brooklyn Eagle excerpt -

He stressed that in his opinion, the mayor and he share many of the same goals and support many of the same projects. These include “a 24/7 Downtown Brooklyn, the City Point project, Atlantic Yards, the continuing development of the Navy Yard, the Weeksville historic museum, the redevelopment of Coney Island” and more.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Bay News cover story - Thor on Shore Parkway

Excerpt -

Thor Equities Developer Joe Sitt is getting back to his retail roots and proposing construction of a new 214,000-square-foot shopping center at 1752 Shore Parkway.

The Amboy Bus Company is currently using the site to store its school buses.

Plans to construct space for a new BJ’s Wholesale Club and three other retail stores between 24th Avenue and Bay 37th Streetwill get a hearing at the Department of City Planning on October 29.

Community Board 11 is now reviewing the proposal.

The applicant is seeking to amend the current M3-1 zoning designation to a more restrictive M1-1 manufacturing classification, as well asobtain a number of special permits.

“In the long term it would be better for the area,” Community Board 11 District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia said.

It is great to see this moving forward. It makes me very confident that the city and Thor will also come to an agreement on a year round development deal on Coney. Things are looking up! With rezoning comes progress.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Rumor - Thor signs Amusements of America to Coney Lease

This could mean the City and Thor are very close to finalizing their splitting of Coney East

Some background on Amusements of America

Friday, September 25, 2009

Nets one step closer to Brooklyn

Forest City Subsidiary and Onexim Group Announce Partnership for NBA Nets and Brooklyn Project

CLEVELAND, BROOKLYN, N.Y. and MOSCOW, Sept. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Forest City Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:
FCEA and FCEB) today announced that its New York-based subsidiary, Forest City Ratner Companies, Inc. ("FCRC") and Nets Sports and Entertainment ("NSE"), have signed a letter of intent with an affiliate of Onexim Group, an international private investment fund, to create a strategic partnership for the development of the Atlantic Yards project, a 22-acre residential and commercial real estate project in Brooklyn, and the Barclays Center arena, the future home of the NBA's Nets.

The partnership will help ensure achievement of Forest City's goals of bringing the economic and housing benefits of the Atlantic Yards Project to Brooklyn, creating a world-class sports and entertainment venue, and relocating the Nets basketball team.

As part of the agreement, entities to be formed by Onexim Group will invest $200 million and make certain contingent funding commitments to acquire 45% of the arena project and 80% of the NBA team, and the right to purchase up to 20% of the Atlantic Yards Development Company, which will develop the non-arena real estate. Forest City will retain a minority ownership stake in the Nets, and will be managing partner of the arena and majority owner of the balance of the Atlantic Yards real estate.

Bruce Ratner, chairman and chief executive officer of FCRC, said, "Mikhail Prokhorov and Onexim will be great partners for this project. Our company has a long-standing commitment to Brooklyn, and I am thrilled that smart global investors appreciate the exciting economic potential here. We are one step closer to achieving our goals of creating much needed jobs and economic development for Brooklyn and the city."

Mikhail Prokhorov, president of Onexim Group, said, "We are delighted to join in this exciting project and to participate in the landmark development of global sports in this entertainment arena in the heart of New York City. I have a long-standing passion for basketball and pursuing interests that forward the development of the sport in Russia. I look forward to becoming a member of the NBA and working with Bruce and his talented team to bring the Nets to Brooklyn."

NBA Commissioner David Stern said, "We are looking forward to the Nets' move to a state-of-the-art facility in Brooklyn, with its rich sports heritage. Interest in basketball and the NBA is growing rapidly on a global basis and we are especially encouraged by Mr. Prokhorov's commitment to the Nets and the opportunity it presents to continue the growth of basketball in Russia."

The transaction is expected to close by the first quarter of next year upon certain conditions being fulfilled, including approval by the NBA's Board of Governors. The Raine Group and Goldman, Sachs & Co. advised FCRC and NSE. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP acted as legal counsel to FCRC and NSE. Hogan & Hartson advised Onexim Group.

BJ's Wholesale on Shore Parkway

NY Observer excerpt-

Sitt Comes Back to Bloomberg, This Time for a Brooklyn BJ's
Eliot Brown
September 21, 2009 12:54 p.m

Joe Sitt, the landlord who battled with the Bloomberg administration at Coney Island, is coming back to city officials with a new request: He wants to put a big-box mall in South Brooklyn.

Mr. Sitt’s Thor Equities is seeking to build a 214,000-square-foot mall
highlighted by a BJ’s Wholesale Club, along with space for three other retail stores. The company has filed for a rezoning of the site, a peninsula off Shore Parkway in Bensonhurst. The current use: a bus parking lot.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Financial Times - Thor optimistic

Excerpts -

Mr Sitt’s Thor Equities has accumulated 11 acres of the 13-acre amusement area in dozens of small-scale acquisitions in recent years, spending an estimated $100m on buying up land from family businesses that in some cases have operated in Coney Island for a century.

His detractors claim he bought the land in order to “flip” it at a profit to the city once the rezoning went through. But the developer defended his record on Friday, telling the Financial Times he was optimistic he “and my friend Mayor Mike” could soon reach a deal that would benefit the depressed area.

The Bloomberg administration says its plan would restore Coney Island’s status as a world-class entertainment destination by providing new year-round indoor attractions and shops. It would also create thousands of jobs in a working-class area where the unemployment rate among its 60,000 inhabitants is more than 3 per cent above the citywide average of 9.6 per cent. The project is on hold, however, until the mayor reaches a deal with Mr Sitt, whose own plans to revitalise the area have been compared with creating a new Las Vegas just a $2 subway ride away from 8m New Yorkers.

Mr Sitt said on Friday his company had done “the heavy lifting” for redevelopment by buying up dozens of stakeholders.

Mr Sitt, in his first interview since the rezoning plan was passed, said he hoped he and Mr Bloomberg were approaching the end of their sometimes abrasive negotiations on Coney Island’s fate, including veiled warnings that the city could compulsorily purchase the land.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thor sells Flatiron District property for $25 mil

Globe St excerpt -

Flatiron District Landmark Trades for $25M

NEW YORK CITY-The original home of the Lord & Taylor Dry Goods Store has sold to a Spanish investor in an all-cash deal worth $24.6 million, has exclusively learned. The 14,336-square-foot, five-story Flatiron District property at 901 Broadway traded for $1,716 per square foot at a 5.6% cap rate, according to Massey Knakal Realty Services, which arranged the sale.

Robert Knakal, chairman of Massey Knakal, tells that the seller, Thor Equities, had acquired the 142-year-old, landmarked 901 Broadway in October 2006 for $17.4 million and subsequently made extensive renovations. Thor also bought out two rent-stabilized tenants on the property’s top floor and procured the 7,000-square-foot ground-floor retail tenant, Miss Sixty, at $313 per square foot, Knakal says.

More here as well -

The 14,336-square-foot building sold for a jaw-dropping $1,715 per square foot.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Joe Sitt to speak at the Real Deal forum Oct 14th

Excerpt -

Nouriel Roubini, Joseph Sitt to speak at next month's The Real Deal forum

Looking to explore and identify opportunities in the distressed marketplace? At next month's fifth annual The Real Deal forum, a panel of leading real estate experts and economists will debate what the future holds for the New York City real estate market and how they are coping with the downturn. The panel includes world famous economist Nouriel Roubini, co-founder and chairman of RGE Monitor and NYU professor of economics; Coney Island developer Joseph Sitt, CEO of Thor Equities; Plaza developer Miki Naftali, president and CEO of the Elad Group, and Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Brooklyn Heights Courier - Bloomberg defends Atlantic Yards

Excerpt -

“[Ratner is] a perfectly decent guy trying to do a good project,” said Bloomberg, who has been a longtime supporter of the project. “On balance there is always someone who doesn’t want traffic, doesn’t want this and doesn’t want that, but you should not be leaving it as an eyesore. This part of Brooklyn needs development, it needs affordable housing, it needs jobs and it needs pride in the neighborhood.”

Like I have stated many times, Bloomberg is the most pro-development mayor in this city's history. As the economy recovers, expect great things in Brooklyn during his third term!

If the Times and Bay News are right,

and the city and Thor split the land in Coney East, then we could see some rapid development movement with the hotels in Coney East and the condos in Coney North and West. Construction could possibly begin as early as 2010! I would also expect to see interim amusements next summer in the City parkland portion of Coney East.

I would expect Bloomberg would want to have things going on a smooth path for Coney Island and Atlantic Yards development before November elections.

Let's hope the newspapers are correct and Thor and the City can close this deal quickly!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bay News - City /Thor deal very close for 6 Acres

Excerpts -

Fundamentally the deal is done,” Bloomberg said during a frank discussion over borough issues with this paper and its parent company, Community Newspaper Group, at our MetroTech headquarters. “It is very close to being completed.”

In late July, the City Council passed the rezoning of Coney Island, creating a 27-acre entertainment district between Surf Avenue and the Boardwalk. Just under ten of those acres would be devoted exclusively to amusements and arcades, city officials said.

The new zoning also allows for high rise hotels on Surf Avenue and 4,500 apartments north and west of the new district area.

The only fly in the city’s ointment was Sitt’s Thor Equities who owned ten acres of seaside land -- six of which stood smack dab in the middle of Bloomberg’s plan for the area.

For over the last year, the city has been in negotiations to purchase the six acres from Sitt. While the developer spent more than $90 million to initially purchase the land, the city was offering over $60 million for the areas they needed, according to the New York Times.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

NBC video - Domenic City Council

Recchia is looking to implement the Coney Island development plan during his next term.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Thor/City - no announced deal yet

Now that we already have rezoning is it possible Thor won't sell to the city? I'm surprised the press hasn't speculated. The Coney intrigue continues.......

I expect it will be quiet for a long time now that rezoning is done.

Dreamland shut down

NY Post excerpt -


Last updated: 3:49 amAugust 22, 2009 Posted: 3:00 amAugust 22, 2009
The dream is over.

Dreamland amusement park, set up to replace Coney Island's iconic Astroland, was shuttered yesterday, with its operator more than $600,000 behind in rent.

The fun fair on Surf Avenue and West 10th Street was padlocked by landowner Joe Sitt, who had leased the site of the old theme park to Anthony Raffaelle.

Since the carnival rides and freak show opened in May, only $30,000 of rent has been paid, said Sitt's spokesman, Stefan Friedman.

"Dreamland has been locked out because it has not come close to meeting its financial obligations in many months," Friedman said. "We are hopeful that Dreamland will soon pay its rent, so it can quickly reopen the rides."

Monday, August 17, 2009

So quiet

It's almost peaceful. How did it take this long to get quiet? Quite nice.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Zoning is complete but where is the Thor/City deal?

Its been a couple of weeks now. No announced deal. Lots of rumors but no announcement. Could Thor be holding out for better terms? Very interesting.

I am so glad Thor held on through zoning. One of the major reasons we got year round included in Coney East.

Cobble Hill Courier - Sitt still eyes Red Hook Retail

Excerpt -

Developer Joe Sitt is still sweet on retail along the Red Hook waterfront, a company spokesperson insisted this week.

Despite the demolition of a 19th century warehouse on the Revere Sugar refinery site on Richards Street, Sitt’s development company, Thor Equities, is still receiving “a lot of interest from potential tenants,” but nothing is confirmed as of yet, company spokesperson Stefan Friedman said.

Thor’s original intention was to adaptively reuse the Revere Sugar factory warehouse as part of a new development.“But after further analysis, the engineers found structural problems with the building, making it unstable and potentially dangerous, and we were forced to proceed with taking the structure down,” Friedman said.

Workers began to tear down the aged structure last week.

It is rumored that national retailer BJ’s Wholesale Club was eying the site.

Monday, August 10, 2009

City Council Meeting on Cablevision Channel 74

It's on right now. July 29th Coney Island Rezoning.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Jobs With Justice

From their new blog -

After many months of work by the coalition Coney Island for All, the New York City Council approved a redevelopment plan for Coney Island this week that includes provisions for close to 35% affordable housing (the city’s original plan called for 20%), local preference for jobs, prevailing wages, improvements to sewer infrastructure, the local school, and more. Matt Ryan of Coney Island for All member organization New York Jobs with Justice said, “We believe this plan now provides the good jobs and increased affordable housing that will benefit the Coney Island community. The struggle over Coney Island’s future underscores the need for a city-wide responsible development policy that follows the basic principal that development must deliver good jobs, truly affordable housing and respond to community needs.”

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

Welcome to Brooklyn our new Hockey Team - The New York Aviators

Brooklyn Eagle excerpt -

Newest Brooklyn Pro Team Will Wear Aviator Hockey Uniform
by Caitlin McNamara (, published online 08-06-2009

Short-Lived Brooklyn Aces Won’t See a Second Season
By Caitlin McNamara Brooklyn Daily Eagle
FLOYD BENNETT FIELD — After weeks of speculation, it has been announced that a new professional Brooklyn-based hockey team, The New York Aviators, will be joining the Northeast Professional Hockey League’s (NEPHL) inaugural 44-game season in November. The Aviators (A’s) will play at Aviator Sports and Events Center at Floyd Bennett Field.

Other teams in the new league are from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, according to a release from league Commissioner Pat Lovett.

Kevin R. McCabe, leader of the ownership group of The New York Aviators, said, “We are thrilled to have been invited to field a team in the NEPHL. It’s the highest compliment to the staff and community of the Aviator Sports and Events Center. We look forward to presenting a first class team and service at very popular prices to all of New York.”

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bay News - Kruger Swats at Coney Swap

Excerpt -

Brooklyn lawmakers in Albany are just waiting for the city to button up its land acquisition deal with Joe Sitt and Thor Equities before they introduce bills that would allow the new zoning plan to move ahead — but don’t count on powerful State Senator Carl Kruger, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, to reach for his rubber stamp just yet.

At the time of this writing, Bloomberg administration officials were still hammering out a “conceptual agreement” with Sitt that would leave the Coney Island landlord with at least part of his 10-and-a-half acre holdings intact.

Once that happens, the city is expected to send State Senator Diane Savino and Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny bills that the pair can introduce in their respective houses that would call for parkland alienation, the state-initiated process by which an area’s parkland designation can be removed and applied elsewhere. The city needs to demap the KeySpan parking lot in order for the Taconic development group to build new housing and parking facilities on the site.

At the same time, the city also needs the state to designate new parkland inside the Coney Island amusement district for rides.

Kruger, however, has derided the development and rezoning plan as “nothing more than an exorbitantly expensive phantom.”

“For the last half-century, Coney Island has gotten a roller coaster ride that has gone nowhere,” Kruger said back in March. “We’ve torn down buildings to create model cities, and ended up with some housing and vacant lots. This is another plan that’s headed for the file cabinet.”

This week, Kruger showed little sign of softening his opposition.“I do not believe the park alienation legislation should be voted out of committee until we have a developer,” Kruger told this newspaper.

Another excerpt -

“This is where they [City Planning] thought was the best place,’ Recchia said. “You had to make it worthwhile. If you would have lowered the height, you would not get a nice hotel.”

Thor Equities has reportedly been in talks with major hotel chains about coming to Coney Island.

F Train Express

Domenic has been calling for this for years! Now Bloomberg is pushing it too. This could be huge for Coney!

Brooklyn Paper excerpts -

Mayor Bloomberg called for the creation of express subway service on the F line, one of the most crowded routes in Brooklyn, as part of a larger campaign announcement calling for a multitude of mass transit improvements around the city.

“Now is the time to act,” the third-term-seeking mayor said in a statement.

Closer to Downtown, you’re talking about a couple of minutes. As you get farther out towards Coney Island you’re talking about potentially saving 20 minutes — that’s huge. But it’s also about the possible alleviation of crowding everywhere,” said Gary Reilly, a Democratic candidate for City Council in Carroll Gardens, who has advocated for years on behalf of the F line. “We need this and we deserve it. It’s a low–hanging piece of fruit.”

Nathan's and Shore Theater could be landmarked

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Coney For All Approves Amended Plan

Brooklyn Eagle excerpts

Coney Coalition Approves Amended Plan
by Linda Collins (, published online 08-04-2009

Praises 35% Affordable Housing, Local Preference for 6,000 Permanent Jobs

CONEY ISLAND — Following the vote last week by the New York City Council to approve an amended Coney Island Redevelopment Plan, the Coney Island for All Coalition, which had demonstrated against it, reports it supports the amended version and praises the council for its efforts.

“We believe this plan now provides the good jobs and increased affordable housing that will benefit the Coney Island community,” said Matt Ryan of New York Jobs with Justice, one of the coalition’s members. “The struggle over Coney Island’s future underscores the need for a city-wide responsible development policy that follows the basic principal that development must deliver good jobs, truly affordable housing and respond to community needs.”

The coalition — which also includes ACORN, SEIU 32BJ, RWDSU, the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, UFCW Local 1500 and the Pratt Center for Community Development — praised the efforts of the city council, particularly its plan to secure more affordable housing and secure more jobs for residents.

With the support of the City Council, a labor-community alliance secured good jobs and affordable housing for Coney Island,” said Mike Fishman, 32BJ president. “While the needs of working New Yorkers are often overlooked, the coalition made sure that the entire Coney Island community would benefit from redevelopment.”

Added Peter Ward, president of the Hotel and Motel Trades Council, “The Coney Island development plan will create unprecedented opportunities for the people who live and work in the community. We support a new Coney Island that includes affordable housing and good jobs where New Yorkers are given a voice in the workplace and are treated with respect and dignity.”

ACORN leader Carmen Gonzalez said of the revised plan, “We welcome the prospect of development and neighborhood revitalization that could ensure that our families will have a place to live and work in the new Coney Island with close to 35 percent affordable housing.”

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Even more details from the Observer


The rezoning plan would turn vacant lots currently zoned for amusements into a residential area, and would allow some hotels, retail, and indoor amusements into the central amusement area of the historic entertainment hub. The plan, which has been in the works for nearly eight years, must now pass through the chaotic gates of Albany before it’s signed into law.

It remains unclear exactly how much land the city will claim. But Domenic Recchia, Coney Island’s representative on the City Council, said that the amusement parkland will have between 9.5 and 10 acres. He added that developers will most likely build two high-rise hotels, though the legislation allows for up to four. Mayor Bloomberg said after the vote that the city is hoping to develop an amusement district that totals 27 acres. It would stretch between Surf Avenue and the Boardwalk.

“Now the star of the day,” Mr. Bloomberg said at the end of his remarks at a post-vote press conference, “the one, the only, the indomitable—I was looking for a word other than insufferable, and I came up with indomitable—Domenic Recchia!”

Way to go Domenic! You did it!!!!

NY Observer has more details of City Council Press Conference

Excerpt from July 29th

More details on the press conference.

While Mr. Recchia said that the Bloomberg administration has reached a compromise with Thor Equities' Joe Sitt—the main landlord in the proposed rezoning—he shed little light on the details of the compromise, and whether they even have been finalized. “The Bloomberg administration has reached an agreement with Thor Equities, and they are working on all of the details,” Mr. Recchia said, adding that under the current agreement, there will be 10 acres of parkland (as opposed to 9 acres from last week’s Land-Use Committee vote) and hopefully more.

City Council members at the press conference emphasized that the soon-to-be-passed legislation would revive Coney Island’s greatness as a year-round destination.

Diane Savino reminisced about taking “staycations” to Coney Island as a 10 year old with her grandfather every Saturday. “Even then, Coney Island was a shadow of its former self.”

Mr. Recchia said that there could be up to four hotels under the current plan, but he expects that there will most likely be two.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

An interesting take from Ziggy

Archpaper excerpt -

“It’s looking like attention was paid to the amusements after all, and there was a concession made,” said Dick Zigun, founder of Coney Island U.S.A. He and other groups had been fighting for additional outdoor recreational area, arguing that such attractions have always been at the heart of Coney Island and drawn crowds. Zigun said that his understanding was the outdoor amusements would increase two to three acres, up from a current nine.

As for Sitt, the Times reported that the city has offered the developer something close to $60 million for the land, and the developer would retain control of parcels along Surf Avenue and Stillwell Avenue, including sites for two proposed hotels. At yesterday’s press conference, both Recchia and council speaker Christine Quinn said they expected no more than two of the plan’s possible four hotels to get built in the long term, though they did not say if this meant Sitt’s or the other two sites would be part of an eventual revised plan.

If Ziggy is correct, that would probably be very good news as year round development would still be in place in Coney East, and the amusement folks would be satisfied with more outdoor amusement space.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Changing Coney Island

When you look at the approved zoning plan it is so impressive to see that we got year round zoning in all 3 parts of the plan - Coney East, Coney North, and Coney West. It really is quite amazing to see how much change is about to happen in the next several years. This was a total and complete win for year round development in Coney.

And looking just to the east, Brighton Beach downzoning fell through which opens up that area to grow tremendously along with Coney Island. I expect Brighton will be an oceanfront residential hot spot with many more new condos along with Sheepshead Bay.

We are going to see growth on the Brooklyn waterfront the likes of which we have never seen before. As the economy continues to recover, South Brooklyn will undergo the same renaissance that happened to North Brooklyn in the last decade.

CIDC Email

Full City Council Approves City's Coney Island Plan!

Dear Residents and Friends of Coney Island:

We did it! Three cheers for the future of Coney Island!

Yesterday the New York City Council took a monumental step forward in the redevelopment of Coney Island by approving the City's Comprehensive Coney Island Rezoning Plan with 44 votes in favor, 2 against and 1 abstention.

Through the joint leadership of the Bloomberg Administration, the New York City Council, in particular Council Member Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., and the CIDC, we have paved the way for a vibrant future for Coney Island -- one that will benefit both the amusement area and the local community with new rides, housing, jobs, infrastructure, and other amenities.

I would like to thank all of you personally for your constant support and input throughout this long journey. It is your passion for Coney Island -- its people, culture and history -- that has brought us to this point. Though our efforts to revitalize the area are far from complete, today we stand together to mark a critical milestone that will usher in Coney Island's renaissance for generations to come.

Thank you so much. We are thrilled.

Lynn Kelly

Nadler's Press Release

“Today’s New York City Council vote for the Coney Island redevelopment plan is positive news for Coney Island’s future. While this plan may not be perfect, it represents a responsive and honest compromise, and a tremendous improvement over what currently exists in Coney Island. There is no doubt in my mind that, when fully realized, this plan will dramatically reinvigorate Coney Island. The plan proposes to simultaneously build a first-rate, year-round amusement district; to construct thousands of units of affordable and middle-income housing for locals; to attract new businesses and amenities for both residents and visitors; and, critically, to create valuable jobs, job-training and economic development for the community. Public funds will be dedicated not only to a new amusement park but also to improving Coney Island Hospital, repairing Luna Park’s crumbling fa├žade, constructing a new gym at P.S. 188, rebuilding the long-suffering boardwalk, and other local infrastructure projects.

“Coney Island’s residents have waited patiently on the sidelines of economic progress for too long. This project clearly has the potential to help bring the community back into the mainstream of New York City’s largesse. Likewise, for decades, locals and tourists alike have been deprived of a substantial and viable amusement park, and this redevelopment plan promises to launch a new heyday for Coney Island as a famous entertainment destination. What’s more, a restored and vital amusement district will vindicate the dogged commitment and longevity of Coney Island surviving amusements – Deno’s Wonder Wheel, the Cyclone and Coney Island USA.

“I thank the Mayor and all of his hardworking staff who have spent so much time and energy creating this plan, listening to the community’s concerns, and making the best compromise possible. I congratulate Councilman Recchia for his leadership in fighting for a better plan and shepherding it through the City Council. And, I thank Joe Sitt for his investment in the neighborhood and for agreeing ultimately to do what is right for the future of Coney Island’s residents.”

Marty's Press Release


“Worldwide, the words ‘Coney Island’ conjure ‘America’s Playground,’ renowned for its outlandish amusements, a beautiful beach and bustling boardwalk, food and entertainment, and a unique sense of affordable family fun. I want to commend Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Robert Lieber, the EDC and President Seth Pinsky and Vice President Madelyn Wils, the CIDC and President Lynn Kelly, as well as State Senator Diane Savino, Assembly Member Alec Brook-Krasny, Community Board 13, ACORN and all the other community groups and stakeholders who care so passionately about Coney. Thanks to Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the Council—and the leadership and commitment of Brooklyn’s own great Coney Island champion, Council Member Dominic Recchia—today’s vote to approve the Coney Island Plan marks another important victory for Coney Island, Brooklyn and New York City.

Let’s face it, as we continue to work to ensure Coney’s bright future we don’t always agree on everything, but Coney Island is bigger than all of us. It was here before we were ever thought of, and with our strong commitment it will be here and thriving long after we’re gone. Coney Island is about families, and it is a tribute to all involved that we are all committed to making sure Coney Island is indeed the “place to be.”Throughout this process, I have insisted that any proposal we approve must ‘build with Coney, by Coney and for Coney’—and the inclusion of some of my most critical recommendations—guaranteed amusement frontage, payment of prevailing wages, no less than 35 percent affordable housing in the Coney West and Coney North districts, replacement of Abe Stark rink and a new community gymnasium at PS 188—help achieve that goal.

As we move forward I will continue to advocate for more amusements and architecture and design that remains unique, creative and iconic. As we know, Coney Island’s 19th and 20th century heydays inspired every single great amusement park that came after it, and it must live on as a place where families of every means can come to play and to dream. We owe it to these families to get the job done—to make Coney Island once again the “amusement epicenter” of America for the rest of this century and beyond.