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."