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

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.