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

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Marty hurt by Amphitheater opposition

Daily News excerpts

Markowitz is working to head off criticism of the project in the surrounding area - and appeared to be taking the local outcry personally.

"Our first responsibility is to the residents in that neighborhood," said Markowitz, who is paying for most of the project out of his budget.

The borough president said he was "surprised" and "hurt" by local critics who have charged the arena is too big and loud and will overwhelm the sleepy neighborhood park.

"It's hurtful because I don't deserve it," said Markowitz. "I've entertained the people in that neighborhood since 1991. I've put a smile on their face for 31 years. Why would I want them to frown?"

Markowitz accused critics of spreading distortions about the project to fuel the opposition.

"People believe we're taking away the park. We're not - we're going to make an unbelievable park," he added, promising, "We're not going to have concerts every night," as many locals fear.

More here

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

CIDC Redevelopment Plan Video

I would really love to know how in the world Lynn thinks the parkland plan will move forward without Thor selling land to the city???

Is this fantasyland?

Thank goodness the City Council and the State Legislature have final say in this. It looks like the CIDC has a plan with no developer for Coney East.

NY Times Coverage on the Ringling Job Fair

Excerpt -

A job fair for Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus may conjure visions of strapping gymnasts in spandex, carnival barkers and more clowns than you can fit in a small car. But the 150 positions being offered at KeySpan Park in Coney Island on Wednesday were for far less fanciful jobs.

Ringling Brothers is preparing for its first extended show — the Coney Island Boom-a-Ring! — in a Brooklyn neighborhood best known as a seaside amusement attraction. But Coney Island is also a historically poor area with an unemployment rate estimated at higher than 12 percent.

In a light morning drizzle, more than 500 people, many from the surrounding housing projects, waited for hours for an interview. They crossed their fingers for the chance at less than three months work as ticket takers, ushers and custodians, all starting at minimum wage.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Domenic posts about the Ringling Job Fair as well

Excerpt -

Now hiring: Ringling Brothers
Posted May 26, 2009 by recchia
Categories: Businesses, Coney Island, Jobs

If you’ve ever wanted to join the circus, here’s your chance – and you don’t even have to run away. Feld Entertainment and the Coney Island Development Corporation are hosting a job fair for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Coney Island Boom a Ring Circus.

Media Alert email from Ringling Brothers - Job Fair


WHO: Local Brooklyn and area residents age 16 and older who want to run away with the circus for the summer!

WHAT: A Job Fair at which The Greatest Show On Earth will be hiring ticket sellers, ticket takers, ushers and custodial and maintenance personnel for The Coney Island BOOM A RING playing June 18 – September 7 on the Boardwalk in Coney Island.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 27, from 10:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: At Keyspan Park in Coney Island -- the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones.

WHY: Because The Coney Island BOOM A RING is is going to be playing on the Boardwalk from June 18 - September 7 and is committed to supporting the local economy. As a result, Ringling Bros. is taking the steps to hire local people for as many positions as possible. For a complete schedule of performances and more information on The Coney Island Boom A Ring, visit

Follow The Coney Island Boom A Ring on Twitter:

About The Coney Island BOOM A RING
The Greatest Show On Earth® hits the boardwalk this summer for the very first time in its 139-year history! Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® presents THE CONEY ISLAND BOOM A RING, an action-packed seaside circus spectacular in which the energy bursts out of the ring, into the audience and ricochets back to electrify the Ringling Bros.® performers. Circus-goers will enjoy an up-close and personal experience in a comfortable air-conditioned tent featuring beautiful white tigers, majestic Asian elephants and thrilling acrobats from around the world. THE CONEY ISLAND BOOM A RING action bounces from one high-energy act to the next, featuring a daring crossbow demonstration that takes archery to new extremes, a globe of steel in which whizzing motorcyclists orbit at speeds of 65 miles an hour and a gravity-defying performance on the whirling Wheel of Steel. The circus is a cornerstone of the New York City summer and THE CONEY ISLAND BOOM A RING is a one-of-a-kind experience that will engage all the senses while providing Children Of All Ages with a day at The Greatest Show On Earth they never imagined possible!

About Feld Entertainment, Inc. Feld Entertainment is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live entertainment experiences that lift the human spirit and create indelible memories, with 30 million people in attendance at its shows each year. Feld Entertainment's productions have appeared in more than 60 countries on six continents and include Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Feld Motor Sports, Disney On Ice and Disney Live! More information on Feld Entertainment is available at

Monday, May 25, 2009

Village Voice reports on the festival and ZONING!

The important part is the REZONING issue here -

Excerpt -

Of course, all this was (pardon the expression, Dick) sideshow, as the real verdict on the future of Coney will be decided this summer far from the beach. The first important date is June 26, the deadline by which the City Planning Commission must report back with its revised version of the rezoning plan that the city announced for Coney last spring (and which Zigun and other locals immediately decried as a sellout). Then, by August 14, the city council must vote on whether to approve the plan — something that's less than 100% certain given Coney's wild-card (in every sense of the word "wild") councilmember Domenic Recchia, who has at various times declared himself an ally of Sitt, of amusement operators, of the community board, and of seemingly every other faction this side of the Tamil Tigers.

And even if the council approves Mayor Bloomberg's rezoning plan, Coney's years-long roller coaster may not be over: Not only are groups like the Municipal Art Society dissing the city's preference for a single ride operator to oversee a reconfigured amusement district, but the state legislature still needs to sign off on the parkland swap that is at the heart of the mayor's plans — without which Sitt can't be bought out, and the rezoning likely falls apart.

According to my understanding the parkland issue has a June 30th deadline for the State Legislature decision, which I don't believe that a decision will ever occur. I also believe that the city must own the land (highly unlikely) before parkland would pass. Rezoning will move on with or without the parkland issue, which has been stated in the press last fall by Lieber.

2 Key players to remember here are Domenic Recchia (city council) and Carl Kruger (state senate). The Nimbys are at an extreme disadvantage now. I don't believe they have a chance at all anymore.

The Coney Change continues.....................

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Renaissance Fair and Native American Festival at Aviator

Aviator Renaissance Faire

May 31st, 2009 1PM – 6PM

Schedule of Events
1:00PM Joust
2:00PM Armoured Foot Tournament
2:30PM Trebuchet
3:00PM Joust
4:00PM Armoured Foot Tournament
4:30PM Trebuchet
5:00PM Joust

NYC Native American
Heritage Celebration

Three Days of Native American
Music, Dance, Artists, Educators,
Food and Much more...

June 5, 6 and 7

$12 for Adults
$6 for Kids and Seniors
Students Day, Friday June 5th
10am - 5pm - Pics of Lowes construction next to King Plaza

It's been a long time coming. We were over at Kings Plaza last night and the area has so much potential for expansion. Great to see Lowes getting going. With this economy construction has really slowed around Brooklyn in the last year. Hopefully we get a pickup in the second half of 09 and into 2010.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New bands added for Siren Fest

My wife and I go every year. It is quite simply the best indie rock festival in the NY area. It's better than Warped and it's better than Bamboozle, which we attend as as well.

Brooklyn Vegan excerpt

The Village Voice, the nation's largest alternative weekly newspaper, is excited to announce the addition of SPANK ROCK, FUTURE OF THE LEFT, JAPANDROIDS and BEAR HANDS to the line-up for the 9th Annual Village Voice SIREN MUSIC FESTIVAL™ at Coney Island on Saturday, July 18, 2009 from 12:00 noon - 9:00 p.m. These artists join scheduled performers BUILT TO SPILL, THE RAVEONETTES, FRIGHTENED RABBIT, GRAND DUCHY, MONOTONIX and MICACHU & THE SHAPES, with more to be announced soon.

This free, all day, all ages music festival will feature international, national and local bands and DJs performing on two outdoor stages in historic Coney Island. Now in its 9th year, the SIREN MUSIC FESTIVAL™ has solidified its status as a leading New York City outdoor music festival, drawing over 100,000 music fans by showcasing indie rock veterans and emerging artists.

Brooklyn Paper - Marty comments on Coney Amphitheater


“The renovation of Asser Levy Park will only enhance the surrounding community,” Markowitz said in a statement. “Residents will benefit from a new playground, park house and community facilities, in addition to upgrades throughout the park. Replacing Asser Levy’s antiquated band shell with a state-of-the-art one will ensure that free cultural programming remains in Coney Island (it was used for 45 different community events last year). Moreover, this beautiful new park will be a key component of a revitalized Coney Island for visitors and the community in the days and years ahead.”

Marty's comments on Atlantic Yards decision

Way to go Marty!


“The unanimous ruling by the State Appellate Division once again affirms 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 to meet the demands of new residents and visitors to the future Barclays Center. Today’s decision marks a significant step forward in the dream of bringing professional sports and a world-class facility back to our borough, and Brooklyn’s shovels are, and have been, ready. So, let’s pick them up and get to work!”

Sunday, May 17, 2009

NY Times - Nets arena to break ground in October

Excerpt -

Appeals Court Dismisses Suit Against Atlantic Yards

Published: May 15, 2009
An hour after learning that a state appeals court had dismissed a major challenge to his long-delayed
Atlantic Yards development project, the developer Bruce C. Ratner said he planned to break ground by October on an $800 million basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets in Brooklyn.

The 20,000-seat arena is only one piece of a
proposed 22-acre development at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues that would include an office tower and more than 6,000 apartments, including as many as 2,250 for low- and middle-income families.

Given the anemic economy, the housing and the commercial building may have to wait for some time. But Mr. Ratner said he planned to complete the design for the arena, obtain final government approvals and issue the bonds for the project by fall.

“I’m honestly overjoyed,” Mr. Ratner, chief executive of Forest City Ratner Companies, said of the court decision, made on Tuesday and released on Friday. “This is a weight off my back.”

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Maple Lanes Bowling

Finally made it to Maple Lanes last night in Bensonhurst. Huge - 48 lanes. Cosmic Glow in the Dark Bowling with a DJ on one side and Open Bowling plus leagues on the other side. Place was packed! Highly recommended.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Big Victory for Atlantic Yards!

Yes and it Counts!!!! Man are things looking up!!!

Crains NY - Excerpt

“We’re thrilled with today’s decision,” said Forest City Chief Executive Bruce Ratner, in a statement, adding that he is confident that the $4 billion project would break ground this year. “This significant victory keeps Atlantic Yards moving forward. We are ready to get started.”

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Man from those last 2 posts

The politics are getting hot and heavy in Coney Island already! And we are still 3 months away from a City Council decision! :)

LOL Amusement advisory panel

I just got this in my email from the CIDC! THE EDC and CIDC actually put together an amusement advisory panel of experts, but when you read the recommendations it seems to be a clear attempt to plead the case to the City Council. Read this excerpt. It's very funny. It looks like all the city recommendations but from a panel LOL

The panel released seven guiding principles that will assist the City in continued planning efforts for a permanent amusement operation and development of a 27-acre amusement and entertainment district at Coney Island. A final report of the panel’s findings will be released this summer. The principles include:

Leverage Coney Island’s Brand and its Unique Natural and Historical Assets. The ocean, the beach, the Boardwalk and access to the City’s transit system are Coney Island’s greatest assets and draws to visitors. The redevelopment of Coney Island presents an opportunity to create a unique, 21st Century urban seaside amusement park.

Honor and Celebrate Coney Island’s History; But Don’t Get Overly Nostalgic. There is no need for a themed park at Coney Island; the site contains enough history that it doesn’t need to be "Disney-fied." But while honoring and celebrating Coney Island’s history, the plan shouldn’t "get stuck" on preserving the artifacts. Planning and design should focus on enhancing visitors’ experience.

Get the Core of Coney Island’s Amusement District Right. A critical component of successful development of the area is the programming of the twelve-acre amusement core that faces the Boardwalk. When properly programmed, 12 acres is a sufficient space, and could contain around 30 major amusements, including thrill rides, coasters and other family attractions. The core should be an "Air-In-The-Face" experience, focusing on speed, thrills, and adrenaline.

Expand Coney Island’s Seasonal Core Amusement Experience to the Larger, Year-Round Urban Entertainment District. While parts of the amusement district will be seasonal, the Coney Island experience should extend to the 15-acres outside the amusement core, featuring a critical mass of indoor attractions, rides, restaurants, and hotels. Big-box and mall retail should not be allowed in the entertainment zone; it will erode the amusement district and dilute the brand. Coney Island should be about the totality of the experience across the district and how the indoor and outdoor areas work together.

Coney Island Must Remain Accessible, Open and Affordable. Coney Island should continue to be open and family-friendly. To be successful the area should not be gated, although there are ways to ensure a safe, quality visitor experience through creative operations strategies. Coney Island should not be compared to and will not compete with gated, suburban amusement parks.

City Ownership of Coney Island’s Amusement Area is the Important to Move Forward. The City should own the land in the amusement area, but should leave the development and operations to private partners. The continued Balkanization of Coney Island’s amusement area is unsustainable, and the area will best be developed by a single operator/developer.

DON’T WAIT. There is Only One Chance to Get this Right. The City should think in terms of phased development of the permanent amusements as the infrastructure allows and as is financially feasible. It should begin with the installation of a major rollercoaster followed by additional programming as the infrastructure is built out. The time is now to identify and select a single industry operator/developer to oversee the development. The operator/developer can begin to build permanent amusements and introduce innovative programming before area infrastructure is complete.

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Coney Island Development Corporation (CIDC) convened the Coney Island Amusement Advisory Panel as an independent advisory board comprised of professionals representing a diverse cross-section of the industry. The Panel was moderated by Jack Rouse, CEO of Jack Rouse Associates, a preeminent entertainment design studio credited with developing hundreds of amusement parks, museums, and entertainment projects around the world, with support from Perkins + Will, a leading architecture and planning firm with expertise in branded environments.

"The development of the amusement area is integral to the growth of the neighborhood and the creation of more than 25,000 construction jobs and 6,000 permanent jobs in Coney Island. I want to thank the members of the Coney Island Amusement Advisory Panel for dedicating their time and expertise to this exciting project," said NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky.

Bay News - Pinsky talks about the obstacles

Now we are getting to the real meat of the issue. The press has thus far done a very poor job of hitting the real issues that are about to happen. I am glad to see it's finally coming to light -

Excerpt -

“We’ve got two political issues,” Pinsky said on the boardwalk overlooking the proposed rezoning area. “One is getting through the city rezoning which involves getting it through the City Council −− and that’s what’s needed to allow the redevelopment and the new uses in the area. The second obstacle that we face is the alienation of the parkland, which is really parking lot, and getting the State Legislature to agree to allow us to alienate that parkland and put real parkland into the amusement district which is really important for benefiting the 50,000 residents of Coney Island because that’s what gets them the jobs, the retail and the services.”

To get the state and Kruger to approve parkland Thor in all reality has to sell to the city (very unlikely), and the zoning is up to Recchia and the City Council.

This is why Thor wins this summer and there is not one thing the Nimbys can do about it. Absolutely nothing.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

City Council review begins June 27th

And thus begins the Summer of Change for Coney Island! 6 years since the CIDC began and it finally gets to the City Council who will complete the process of rezoning in August. After that the real fun starts!

Marty commends Thor and Joe Sitt in his City Planning testimony

Excerpts -

In summer 2009, families in New York City and beyond will not only have the chance to experience the Deno’s Wonder Wheel and the Cyclone, the energy of Cyclones baseball and Friday night fireworks, the Mermaid Parade, Nathan’s hot dog eating contest, the sideshow wackiness of “Coney Island USA,” as well as the music of Siren Fest and the Seaside Summer Concert Series at Asser Levy Park and the aquatic adventures at the New York Aquarium. Now, thanks to the Mayor and Taconic, fun-seekers will be welcomed under the big top for the Ringling Brothers “Coney Island Boom A Ring.” And thanks to Thor Equities and Joe Sitt, they will revel in the “Festival by the Sea,” which will feature over 25 rides, hundreds of local Brooklyn merchants, including the great Red Hook food vendors, and promises the largest collection of circus freaks in the world.

More here

It was good to read that Marty is for hotels, clubs, bowling alleys and restaurants in the core zone. Year round activity is something Coney desperately needs more of.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Has the Parkland issue already died??

With Purnima's bombshell comments yesterday that the city is willing to work with Thor to develop the land, one has to wonder if the Parkland issue has already died. The State Legislature is only in session through the end of June so the clock keeps running. Everybody, including Deputy Mayor Robert Lieber, has noted in the press that in order for the property to become parkland the city must own it.

So Parkland is in serious jeopardy, and possibly already dead.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Good News - City looking for middle ground with Thor

Obviously they know that Thor has the big edge with the City Council vote coming up this summer -

NY1 excerpts -

"We've given the opportunity if Thor Equities wants to be a partner to step up and actually develop the land or we've also offered to buy him out. And we continue to talk to him and continue to hope that we'll arrive at some kind of middle ground that's a win situation for everyone," said City Planning Commission Representative Purnima Kapur.

The City Planning Commission is expected to vote on the Coney Island plan in mid-June. It then goes on to the City Council for review.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Six murders in six weeks in Coney

Bay News excerpt -

Local residents, however, don’t want to suffer through another neighborhood resurgence of violence and are taking steps to turn things around.

Pam Harris, a Coney Island native and former Department of Corrections employee, recently held an anti−violence march through the streets of Coney Island.

She believes that the recent round of violence is being caused by “idle time and idle hands.”“All of the centers around here are now closed,” Harris explained. “There are no bowling alleys or movie theaters. Other than basketball, they have nothing to do.”

“I feel like I should re−arm myself but I’m not going to do that,” Harris said when asked about the recent spate of violence. “Instead I’m going to re−arm myself with my pen and my voice. I’m just scared for those adults who could have a voice like myself, but aren’t doing so because they are living in fear.”

Harris, who is currently taking steps to bring an after−school media arts center to Coney Island, said that the community’s youth “are angry.”

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Domenic, you got the summer for Coney

Brooklyn Loves You! The Community Loves You! Go for it Domenic! This summer!

I am so f-ing psyched for Coney! As Crains mentioned in the last article it all rests on Domenic's shoulders. Thank G-D for Domenic Recchia!

CrainsNY knows what's going on

They always do. They are really the only publication that has gotten the Coney story totally correct the last 2 years. Kudos!

From their article

More demands on Coney Island plan

The city's ambitious plan to redevelop Coney Island earned a conditional endorsement from Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz last week, but his recommendations fell short of what was sought by a coalition of labor and community groups. The coalition wants more affordable housing and a broad prevailing-wage guarantee for workers, which it achieved last year for the Willets Point project in Queens.

Mr. Markowitz seconded the coalition's call for more amusements and a supermarket at Coney Island but sought prevailing wage only for construction crews and some permanent workers, not hotel and retail employees. “It's a step in the right direction on prevailing wage, but doesn't go far enough on affordable housing and labor,” says Neal Kwatra, political director for the Hotel Trades Council.

The coalition also wants a public school. It will now turn to City Councilman Domenic Recchia, whose decision will largely dictate how the full council votes on the plan.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Here is Marty's full recommendation

I kind of like the fact that Marty wants traditional amusements on the ground floor of the hotel towers south of Surf Ave. I think that will make the hotels very unique.

He is also is in favor of having movie theaters, bowling alleys, themed restaurants and performance venues south of Surf along with traditional amusements. That's very good news.

Interesting comments from Marty

I like how he is not against the hotels in the plan and he wants Thor involved in Coney. Marty is such a good guy. I think he is not very realistic about the business plans though. Though he is realistic enough to say the City Council decides -

Brooklyn Paper excerpts -

The Brooklyn Paper: Speaking of money, there’s no price tag attached to the major city development project. How can you tell the public it’s a good project when the city won’t say how much it has to spend?

Markowitz: I know. That’s always a challenge, particularly during economically challenging times. I’m not a business man. I’m not in position to know what is the proper amount. But I know that in order to make money you have to put money in. This is an investment the city is making for the future. The city has made an offer [to buy 10-1/2 acres of land in the amusement area from Joe Sitt] that it thinks is reasonable. The property owner thinks he can do better. I’m hoping the private developer in this case becomes part of the future of Coney Island in a way within the plan that ultimate come from City Council or decides to sell and understand that the concept of Coney Island is bigger than any of us.

The Brooklyn Paper: But why shouldn’t the city let Sitt take charge of redeveloping Coney Island? He owns more than 10 acres of land, and at times, he’s talked about an amusement park, hotels and attractions.

Markowitz: Everyone has gone over this and it included a large retail component. I have no problem with hotels as long as they don’t become year-round living spaces or residential spaces, Once you do that, it’s the end of Coney Island. Once you allow regular retail in there, that’s makes it a mall.