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

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ringling Brothers coming to Coney!

Brooklyn Paper Excerpts -

Ringling Brothers coming to Coney: sources
By Mike McLaughlin
The Brooklyn Paper

The world-famous Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Barnum circus will deliver a shot in the arm to the flagging “People’s Playground” by setting up its big top in Coney Island this summer, two sources told The Brooklyn Paper.

The city is brokering a deal for a long, hot summer of lion tamers, clowns and the daring young men on the flying trapeze to a site west of the existing, though battered, amusement area — possibly on a West 22nd Street lot owned by Taconic Investments, the sources said.

The city has been under increasing pressure to show that there will be life in Coney Island this summer amid criticism that the mayor’s own revitalization plan for the faded amusement zone isn’t moving fast enough.


From today's Bay News article on Coney rezoning-

State Senator Carl Kruger, chair of the Finance Committee, called the city's version of the proposal "an exorbitantly expensive phantom."

"This is another plan that is headed for the file cabinet", he said.

Gotta love Kruger. Ready to fight again! I will post the link when it's online. Remember the parkland has to go through State approval. They have until June.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Video - Coney Island CLEAR marches for jobs

The real Coney community marches to the CB13 meeting

From Day 1 this has been about the Parkland issue

The city has until June to get it through the Council and State Legislature. Recchia is on the Council. Kruger is a State Senator. The Community Board has already voted against the Parkland issue. Recchia and Kruger have called it backdoor eminent domain.

If the city does not buy the land from Thor I don't see how the Parkland issue moves forward. My guess is, with no deal, the most likely outcome is Rezoning occurs without Parkland moving forward - Which is exactly what the developers wanted to happen in the first place.

We will know in June.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Daily News - Last days of the bungalow: Preservation reversal in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn

The real community finally showed up! Yes!

Excerpts -

"When you talk about downzoning, it's to preserve the area," said Brighton Beach Business Improvement District head Yelena Makhnin, who has gathered more than 600 signatures against the city's proposal. "There's nothing to preserve."

Even the local City Councilman, Michael Nelson - who begged the city to rezone the area back in 2005 - has changed his mind and come out against the plan.
"He is against the downzoning," said Nelson spokesman Steve Zeltser. "He is with the majority of the community."

The seeming about-face has left officials from the Department of City Planning, who spent two years coming up with the proposals, scratching their heads - and trying to sell the idea back to the neighborhood.

"We were responding to what we thought was a community request," said Brooklyn City Planning Commissioner Purnima Kapur.

Local developers are hoping the proposal that would limit their buildings gets killed.

"Why are they against something new?" said Arthur Oganov, 50, who tore down two bungalows on Brighton Fifth St. to build a four-story condo. "They're dirty and old. Who wants those bungalows, anyway?"

How freakin great is that? The Community fights back! We are going to have a superb beachfront in South Brooklyn!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Brighton Beach Downzoning rejected

CB13 voted No on Brighton Beach downzoning. Things are looking up. The meeting was packed with Brighton Beach residents.

Domenic was unbelievable tonight at the meeting

He actually had people saying "Yes With all My Heart I pass these recommendations". He is going to ride this all the way through to to the City Council vote.

It was a sight to behold. Motion passed with only 1 no vote. Thank G-D!

Parkland issue is DOA

NY Daily News - Local officials call for major revamp of city's Coney Island plan

Excerpts -

Local officials will call for dramatic changes in the city's plan for Coney Island today - including one that would allow massive stores to rise on Surf Ave.

Fans of Coney Island's faded amusement district cringed at a recommendation floated by Community Board 13 that would allow 10,000-square-foot retail buildings - four times larger than the city's original plan - along the avenue.

"Let's put it this way, it's not mom-and-pop businesses that are going to be opening 10,000-square-foot stores," said Coney Island historian Charles Denson. "That's the size of a big-box chain store."

The change is the most controversial among the board's list of 20 stipulations, which were made as the board approved the city's plan.

City Councilman Domenic Recchia (D-Coney Island), who lobbied for the increased retail space, said it would create flexibility for what kind of businesses could open on Surf Ave.
"It's good because it doesn't limit what kinds of stores want to come to Coney Island," Recchia said.

"If it's 2,500 square feet, a lot of people are going to say, 'It's too small, I can't rent there.' ... 2,500 is a shoebox."

Recchia is a supporter of Thor Equities, which owns property along Surf Ave. and would benefit from the larger space because of the retail chains the developer could draw.

"The community board's actions are the beginning of an attempt to make a bad plan better," said Thor spokesman Stefan Friedman. "The recommendations by the community are helpful, but the city's plan remains fundamentally flawed and economically unviable."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

CB13 sides with Thor - Parkland looks to be DOA

Brooklyn Paper excerpts -

CB13 panel backs — and bucks — the mayor on Coney rezoney
By Mike McLaughlin
The Brooklyn Paper

Mayor Bloomberg’s controversial plan to remake Coney Island won — and lost — in a community board committee vote on Monday night that revealed vast local concerns about the mayor’s vision and some support for the amusement area’s main landowner Joe Sitt, an outspoken critic of the mayor’s ambitions.

Community Board 13 Chairwoman Marion Cleaver, led the housing, zoning and community development committee to its conflicted “yes” vote on the mayor’s rezoning plan by introducing about 20 revisions to the city plan that included a ban on eminent domain and support for larger retail stores in the amusement zone.

The stipulations are the key to this community board vote. They include:

• Eliminating the threat of eminent domain.

• Quadrupling the size of retail stores from 2,500 to 10,000 square feet in the amusement core.

• Scrapping plans for a new street along the theme park called Wonder Wheel Way. Sitt’s lawyer lambasted the calls for new streets in testimony last week.

• Freeing business owners from having to provide off-street parking.

• Abandoning calls to officially zone the amusement nook as “parkland.”

Such conditions are likely to be cheered by Sitt and his company Thor Equities, but they also dealt a blow to advocates who want the city build a theme park bigger than the currently proposed nine acres.

More here

Official CB 13 vote is tomorrow night 8PM at CI Hospital. Yes!!! We did it!!!!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Crains NY Business

Its still comes down to the parkland. Remember that deadline is June.


One idea the board may ask the city to reconsider is its proposed new road, called “Wonder Wheel Way,” which is designed to connect the Cyclone, the Wonder Wheel and the Parachute Drop.

Board members are also skeptical of the call to designate more than nine acres of Coney Island as parkland, which would require approval from the state Legislature. The city argues the parkland designation is necessary to give stability to future developers of the amusement district. But critics say the city has recently had a poor track record in winning approval for its plans from Albany—pointing to the Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s failed West Side stadium plan and congestion pricing. There is also talk of increasing the size of retail space allowed in the rezoned area.

“Some of the things being discussed – like the introduction of big-box retail and a less-than-permanent amusement district – are problematic, but we’re working with the community board, and we’re optimistic that in the end they’ll vote yes to restoring Coney’s vibrancy,” said a spokesman for the mayor.

While the board’s vote is purely advisory, the modifications could give Mr. Sitt some leverage with the city. Sources say the two sides are roughly $50 million apart, with the city offering roughly $110 million for Mr. Sitt’s 10.5 acres.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Brooklyn Paper - Masyr at the meeting

Very interesting article on Coney

Excerpt -

Testimony from Sitt’s lawyer, Jesse Masyr, had attendees on the edge of their seats. Expecting fireworks, the attorney did not disappoint and blasted the plan that was largely crafted to settle the dispute between his client and the mayor over the control of Coney Island’s destiny.

“In light of the decades of neglect and current economic climate, there has perhaps never been a more important time to get Coney … on the right track,” said Masyr. “Regretfully, the proposal before you falls significantly short of such a goal.”

Masyr’s submitted testimony blasted several aspects of Bloomberg’s plan, such as its need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire private land (namely Sitt’s), potential difficulties obtaining state legislation regarding a long-term theme park operator on parkland and the prohibition of retail stores from the core amusement area.

“The city’s proposal will almost certainly doom [the amusement area] to further decades of neglect,” said Masyr.

Community Board 13 will vote on the city rezoning plan on March 11. After that, the plan will be reviewed by Borough President Markowitz, the City Planning Commission and the City Council.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Crains - Ratner wins key Atlantic Yards victory

Crains NY Excerpt -

Atlantic Yards developer wins key legal victory

Forest City Ratner Cos. scored a major victory towards building its Atlantic Yards mega development on Thursday when a state appellate court unanimously ruled that the Empire State Development Corp. appropriately reviewed and approved the project.

Community Board Meeting

I have to say it was so nice to see the neighborhood show up and not just having a Nimby meeting. It was refreshing to see. Lincoln High School's auditorium was packed.