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

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Feb 2nd - Joe Sitt presents at Brooklyn Real Estate Roundtable

Brooklyn Eagle excerpt

Updates on Brooklyn Bridge Park, Thor Equities’ Projects Planned

Compiled by Linda CollinsBrooklyn Daily Eagle

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — The Brooklyn Real Estate Roundtable begins its 2010 quarterly luncheons on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at the Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) in Brooklyn Heights.

The quarterly luncheon series is dedicated to examining, analyzing, reviewing and predicting the critical issues in Brooklyn real estate, attracting more than 100 real estate brokers, developers, architects, bankers, lawyers and retailers to each luncheon.

The four speakers scheduled to speak on Feb. 2 include the following:

• Joseph J. Sitt, chairman and CEO of Thor Equities, who will describe the company’s endeavors in Brooklyn and recent developments in Coney Island;

• Fred Harris, vice president of development for AvalonBay Communities, who will discuss the company’s newest project, Avalon Fort Greene, at Flatbush Avenue Extension, Gold Street and Myrtle Avenue;

• Regina Myer, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corp., who will discuss the latest news about Brooklyn Bridge Park; and

• Robert Scaglion of Rose Associates, who will explain the management, sales and leasing of buildings in Brooklyn including projects like Oro, The Brooklyner and 80 Dekalb Ave.

Charity Hockey Game for Wounded Warriors

Charity Hockey Game for Wounded Warriors
Friday, Feb 19 at 7:30pm:

The A’s play the Connecticut C-Dogs — and host their first annual charity game to help the Wounded Warrior Project.

During intermission, we’ll have an exciting auction with prizes from the NJ Devils, the NHL, ESPN, Rockaway Beach Surf Club, and many more.

A portion of ticket sales, and all proceeds from the auction, go to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Come support the troops who have so bravely supported us. Veterans will be guests of honor.
To get tickets to the game, or to find out how you can make a donation, please call 718-758-7582 or email Adults $10 Kids $8. The Box Office opens at 6:00pm.

Brooklyn Eagle - Nets Reaching Out

Excerpt -

The New Jersey (soon-to-be-Brooklyn) Nets sent a pair of ambassadors and team mascot Sly to cheer up pediatric patients at The Brooklyn Hospital Center on Tuesday.

Second-year guard Chris Douglas-Roberts and rookie Terrence Williams read Curious George Goes to School before signing autographs, posing for pictures and handing out toys provided by EmblemHealth and the Nets.

“We are delighted to be able to bring some cheer to the pediatric patients at The Brooklyn Hospital Center,” said EmblemHealth President and COO Frank Branchini. “The NETS players are inspiring role models for children of all ages, especially for these children who face medical challenges.”

Friday, January 29, 2010

New name for Keyspan Park

Crains Excerpt

Brooklyn Cyclones lose KeySpan Park name

By Daniel Massey

Published: January 29, 2010 - 1:51 pm

National Grid and the Brooklyn Cyclones have ended their nearly decade-long naming rights deal for KeySpan Park, the 7,500-seat Coney Island home of a New York Mets minor league ballclub.

A spokesman for the Cyclones said the team expects to announce a new naming rights partner soon, but would not offer a timeframe nor would he characterize the seriousness of any discussions.

The once-booming business of naming rights to professional sports venues has gone bust as the national economy has tanked. The new Giants and Jets stadium in the Meadowlands, for instance, has not been able to come up with a partner despite the high profiles of the two teams and events that would be held there.

But Coney Island's iconic status and the city's plans to revitalize the area with year-round amusements, new retail space, housing and a hotel could make the stadium an attractive option, for the right price.

“If you're a Brooklyn-based company looking for recognition this is a good opportunity to get in on the cheap,” said Robert Boland, a professor of sports business at New York University. “If I were the Mets I'd be selling the local angle to local people, saying, ‘What a great deal compared to being one of the people in the Meadowlands or one of the people at Citi Field or one of people at Yankee Stadium.'”

Thursday, January 28, 2010

City stands strong for year round Coney

Bay News excerpts

The New York City Economic Development Corporation, the quasi-public/private entity spearheading redevelopment efforts in Coney Island, says that they will defer to the LPC’s findings, but that the sites included in the proposed landmark corridor have already been analyzed as part of a required Environmental Impact Statement.

Parts of Coney Island’s past are already in the process of being dismantled. Last week, asbestos abatement and demolition work began on the old Feltman’s building located on the former site of Astroland Amusement Park.

According to officials, $6.5 million in capital funding has already been allocated to prepare the defunct Astroland site, as well as two other parcels of land the city purchased from Thor Equities last year, in anticipation of new rides and attractions. International ride manufacturer Zamperla is expected to be up and running in Coney Island thissummer.

“During the public review process that concluded with a near unanimous vote in front of the City Council last summer, we analyzed many of Coney Island’s historical assets in consultation with community leaders, elected officials, civic groups and area residents,” an EDC spokesperson said. “While we determined that several existing structures should be preserved or included in future designs, this building was not among them.”

Critics say that the city could still match the grandeur of other outdoor amusement parks like Tivoli Gardens in Cophenhagen, Denmark,by acquiring more land from private developers in Coney Island.

The city, isn’t convinced.“We think the rezoning and our plan for Coney Island contains the right mix of outdoor and indoor amusements, amusement-related retail, housing and open space,” the EDC spokesperson said.

...Thor Equities, owner the old Henderson building at Surf and Stillwell Avenues, is against landmark designation.

“As New York City and Thor Equities stand at the precipice of comprehensively revitalizing Coney Island after decades of neglect, we must be careful to balance the need to pay homage to Coney’s past with the people’s desire to see a new and better Coney Island emerge,” Thor Equities spokesperson Stefan Friedman said. “Landmarking these buildings would achieve the former, but prohibit the latter when we need the flexibility to do both.”

More here

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

NY Post - Luna Park Back in Coney Island!

Excerpt -

"Like the first, the only, the inimitable one," Zamperla told the Journal of Venice this week. He also said he plans to pump $24 million into the project, and expects 400,000 visitors in the first season, which begins Memorial Day.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rumor - Best Buy coming to Kings Plaza

Supposedly to replace the recently closed movie theaters.

From Vornado's site

Best Buy (Coming Soon)

Rumor - Five Guys Burgers and Fries coming to Coney

Some links

BHB spoke to a representative at Five Guys’ corporate headquarters, who checked their real estate system and tells us, “[there is not a] Henry Street location [scheduled to open] in Brooklyn.” There is, however, a Five Guys slated to open this summer in Coney Island at 3065 Cropsey Avenue, which is the only Five Guys outpost that will open in Brooklyn currently listed in their system.

January 29th, 2009

Neighborhood: Coney Island 3065 Cropsey Ave(between Hart Pl & Neptune Ave) Brooklyn, NY 11224

Friday, January 22, 2010

Penn and Fountain Park Lecture


Freshkills Park Talks: Restoring Brooklyn's Penn and Fountain Landfills
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
6:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m.

The Freshkills Park Talks lecture series continues this month with a talk by John McLaughlin, Director of Ecological Services for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). John designed and is overseeing the ecological rehabilitation of the Pennsylvania Avenue and Fountain Avenue landfills, two adjacent sites totaling 400 acres on the Jamaica Bay coast of Brooklyn. The landfills were open from the late-1950's through the mid-1980's, and their restoration has required the planting of 33,000 trees and shrubs. This is a huge and fascinating project (and was featured in the New York Times in September). While the two sites are not yet open to the public, John will walk us through the development of the their ecological restoration plan and his reflections on the process. The talk will be co-hosted by the Metropolitan Exchange, an architecture, urban planning, and research cooperative in downtown Brooklyn.

The Metropolitan Exchange (33 Flatbush Avenue, 6th Floor)Brooklyn


Contact Number
(212) 788-8277

Contact Email

Brooklyn Cyclone's New Miniplans

Excerpt -


We understand. Not everyone can make it to every Cyclones game. With that in mind, we’ve created a series of Mini Plans designed to maximize fun, flexibility, and affordability. Best of all, Mini Plans are still big on benefits and perks. In fact, every Mini Plan this year comes with FREE FOOD at each game in the plan and a FREE CYCLONES CAP with each plan -- for just $16 per game!

2009 Mini Plan Holders can purchase 2010 exclusively, from January 25th through January 31st

There are seven great 5-game plans, each featuring something for everyone – including fireworks, rivalries, jersey giveaways, and weekend games. Or, if five games just isn’t enough, create your own 7-game package with our Flex Plan. With the Flex Plan, you choose the seven games you would like to attend, the free food and gifts are still yours, and at each game in your 7-game plan, you will receive the best seat location available in your seating category.

Ripley's Entertainment

According to yesterday's Daily News, Ripley's made a strong bid to come to Coney but lost to Zamperla. This could bode well after the infrastructure is completed as Coney will have opportunities for indoor attractions and obviously Ripley's is interested in Coney.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Do you want NEW? Do you want CHANGE?

Brooklyn, we are in for the biggest Coney summer in our lifetimes!!! The largest manufacturer of amusement rides in the world today is coming to Coney Island!!!!

The New Coney Island starts Memorial Day Weekend. It will go down in the history books. Coney Change begins this May!

Does anybody realize how many millions upon millions of people and prospective businesses will visit Coney Island this summer to see the showcase that Zamperla is sure to present! It will be record-setting. No doubt about it!

Un-Freakin-Believable!!! What a SUMMER!!! 2010-THE SUMMER OF CONEY!!!!

Voudouris and Marty talk Coney and Zamperla

NY1 excerpts -

"I'm delighted. I think that our whole family is excited about the news. And the future of Coney Island has never looked brighter," said Deno's Wonder Wheel owner Dennis Voudouris.

The Voudouris family knows all about the Zamperla empire. They've bought rides from the Italian company for decades. There are about seven of them currently in Deno's Wonder Wheel Park.

Zamperla is the largest manufacturer of amusement rides in the world.

"We've dealt with Zamperla for generations now. Back when we first purchased the amusement park, our first new ride was purchased from Alberto Zamerpla. My dad and him made a deal with him at one of the conventions over wine and cheese," Voudouris said.

"Coney Island will be bigger and better this season than last season. I have every expectation that whatever the city is honing in on in the very near future. We're excited to welcome back Ringling Brothers. I know that they were a great success," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

Zamperla Rides into Coney

Daily News excerpt -

The company is keeping mum on what it plans to bring in, but some of the flashiest attractions it makes include:

  • The Disk-O Coaster - a combination roller coaster and spinning ride that spins riders in circles while going over drops on a track.
  • The Vertical Swing - a high-speed swing ride 125 feet up in the air.
  • The Giant Discovery - which swings riders from a giant pendulum and flips them upside down.
  • The Flash Tower - which free-falls from 120 feet.

"Bring it all in," said freak show maestro Dick Zigun, whose Coney Island USA organization runs the annual Mermaid Parade.

"Hopefully, they will use Coney Island as an international showcase, and why not? It's New York City, after all," Zigun said.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Domenic loves Zamperla

NY Times excerpt -

Councilman Domenic M. Recchia, whose district includes Coney Island, said that Zamperla had submitted a creative proposal that set it apart from the other bidders. “You’ll love it,” he said, declining to give details. “We’ll have what the bigger amusement parks have, on a smaller scale.”

Zamperla operates the Victorian Gardens at Wollman Rink in Central Park, as well as Minitalia Leolandia Amusement Park in Capriate San Vervasio, Italy. Valerio Ferrari, the president of Zamperla USA, was a member of a city-sponsored advisory panel last year that made a series of recommendations concerning the redevelopment of Coney Island’s amusement area.

Astroland pulled its bid

Can you believe it? After all the fighting over the years???

Brooklyn Paper Excerpt -

“Zamperland” in Coney Island will eventually operate on all three parcels of land between the former Astroland site and Keyspan Park that the city bought from major Coney landowner Joe Sitt last year — though only the Astroland plot — at Surf Avenue and West 10th Street — is required to be ready by this summer.

Astroland’s former owner Carol Albert, who initially hoped to bid for the interim amusement park, said the announcement of Zamperla’s winning bid was bittersweet.

“Reluctantly, we pulled out at the last minute because we could not possibly put [a proposal] together in the six weeks that the [EDC] required,” said Albert, who sold her land to Sitt in 2006 and ran her park as a renter until 2008. “But Zamperla will provide great rides and a beautiful experience like they did with Victorian Gardens.”

Astroland not coming back to Coney

Very interesting after the years of the city putting down Thor for not keeping Astroland in Coney, that the city chose not to to bring Astroland back, but brought in Zamperla instead. Kind of sad in a way.

But all of Brooklyn looks forward to the NEW CONEY ISLAND starting in 2010! We have waited decades for this!

NY1 - City names Coney Amusement Park Operator

Excerpt -

NY1 Exclusive: City Names Coney Island Amusement Operator
By: NY1 News

The city has reportedly chosen a new amusement park operator for Coney Island.
Sources tell NY1 that Zamperla USA was named the new amusement park operator for Coney Island Tuesday.

The company was among several others vying for the operating rights, including Ripley's Believe or Not and Steel Pier.

Contenders for the rights had to submit proposals, which included developing at one of the three parcels of land between the former Astroland site and KeySpan Park.

Sources say Zamperla's plan included developing all three.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Thor makes deals in Soho and South Beach

GlobeSt excerpt -

In a separate Soho deal, Thor Equities says that AllSaints, a UK-based fashion store, will open a flagship store at 512 Broadway. It’s the second deal in as many days that brings a European retailer to Manhattan. AllSaints signed a 15-year lease for more than 22,000 square feet of retail space on three floors and the basement.

Thor Equities president Joseph Sitt says in a release that Soho, particularly Broadway between Houston and Broome streets, is "the place to shop for New Yorkers and visitors alike scouting for the latest fashion trends. On any given day, pedestrian traffic rivals the busiest shopping districts on 5th Avenue or 34th Street, and I have no doubt that AllSaints will find tremendous success at this marquis property."

The lease includes 38 feet of ground floor storefront space on Broadway between Spring and Broome streets. The AllSaints store is expected to open in late spring or early summer, according to the release. Last month, Thor brought AllSaints to the South Beach section of Miami, signing a 10-year deal for 7,500 square feet in the pedestrian mall of 910 Lincoln Rd. It was the clothing retailer’s first East Coast location.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Courier Life - Nets Arena construction begins!

Excerpt -

Construction on Barclays Arena commences
Street closings announced to make way for mega-project
By Stephen Witt Friday, January 15, 2010 11:50 AM EST
Courier-Life Publications

If it looks like construction, sounds like construction and money is spent on construction, then it’s a good bet that the Barclays Center arena at the Atlantic/Flatbush avenues intersection is already under construction.

The start of construction on the arena that will bring Brooklyn its first major sports franchise (the NBA’s Nets) since the Dodgers left Brooklyn following the 1957 baseball season was also confirmed by sources close to developer Forest City Ratner (FCR).

“We’re in the process of setting up a ceremonial groundbreaking, but we’ve already begun the work,” said sources.

Update on the Amphitheater

Bay News excerpts -

Supporters of Borough President Marty Markowitz’s plan to construct a new $64 million, 8,000-seat amphitheater inside Asser Levy Seaside Park often malign the neighborhood green space as a terrible “dustbowl”.

This week the city provided its remedy: concrete.

According to the Department of Parks & Recreation, at least part of Asser Levy Park’s existing 110-yard open field will be covered in 42,000 square feet of concrete.

“Under the current design plans, the area under the amphitheater roof is concrete, with wood decking as access paths to the theater,” Parks Department Phil Abramson said.

Space beyond the proposed seating area and the potato chip-like roof will be maintained, albeit on an elevated plane, as a natural grass lawn where additional concert-goers are expected to assemble for shows.

The Seaside Summer Concert Series at Asser Levy Park currently runs on Thursday nights in July and August.

Plans for the new venue projects an extended concert season beginning in May and running through August.

City Councilmember Domenic Recchia supports construction of the amphitheater at Asser Levy Park and says that he’s been “working diligently” ona parking plan to accommodate concert-goers - another major concern of opponents.

“I think I will have that issue resolved before I’m out of office,” Recchia said.

A required environmental assessment on the amphitheater project has yet to be released.

The Parks Department says that construction of the amphitheater will not trigger the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, but operation of the venue might.

The Design Commission, meanwhile, tabled the “Coney Island Center” last month and has yet to render its decision on the project.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

NY Post - Sheepshead Bay leads borough in crime drop

Excerpt -

Sheepshead Bay leads B'klyn nabes in 2009 crime drop

Sheepshead Bay led the borough in crime reduction in 2009, according to year-end numbers.

Far out-pacing its neighbors in southern Brooklyn, as well as commands
in tony downtown Brooklyn, the 61st Precinct celebrated a 26 percent
drop in felony crime.

According to crime statistics dated December 27, the Coney Island
Avenue precinct saw a 36 percent drop in robberies and a 30 percent
drop in car thefts. Burglaries in the precinct, which encompasses
Homecrest, Manhattan Beach and parts of Midwood as well, fell by 25

Sitt's deal with the City tops 4th quarter commercial deals

The Real Deal excerpt -

Developer Joseph Sitt's sale of 6.9 acres of Coney Island property proved the largest commercial sale to close in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to data compiled by for The Real Deal. The Coney Island sale closed at $95.6 million, handily trumping the second place deal, which had a closing price of $84.35 million. The sales include all commercial properties. See the accompanying chart for the top five deals in the fourth quarter. TRD

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Crains - Hotel Workers - Major Political Players

Excerpt -

The New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council won't be able to surprise people much longer. Last month, HTC won a provision in a new state law that assures any hotel built with the assistance of tax breaks or property leases from public authorities will be unionized. The victory caps a two-year run in which a previously politically indifferent union has leveraged the power of its 30,000 members to become one of the most effective players in the city and state.

The union's successes span from the campaign trail to some of the city's most contentious redevelopment zones, as it fights to ensure that hotels built in Willets Point, Aqueduct Racetrack, the garment district and Coney Island are unionized.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Domenic's Dream

From his blog

Dear Friends,

With the holiday season comes an opportunity for reflection, and as another year draws to a close, I look back on what we’ve accomplished in the last 12 months with a great deal of pride. We met the challenges of the troubled economy head on and forged a path toward the better days that lie ahead.

Since I took office in 2002, I had a dream of a Coney Island with year-round jobs and attractions. This year, that dream was realized when we passed a rezoning that will provide for a YMCA community center, 6,000 permanent jobs, 25,000 construction jobs and 4,500 units of housing, many of them affordable to the community.

Thank You Domenic!!!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Recchia to be named Finance Chair for City Council

Bay News excerpts -

Domenic Recchia named City Council Finance Chair
Coney Island pol nabs top council position giving Brooklyn new clout
By Stephen Witt Tuesday, January 5, 2010 8:08 PM EST

Coney Island City Councilmember Domenic Recchia will be named chair of the Council’s finance committee, according to sources close to negotiations with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Sources said the tipping point for Recchia was the role that Kings County Democratic Party leader and Assembly member Vito Lopez played in negotiations for the position.

The appointment would bring Brooklyn one of the two top City Council committee chairs, the other being Land Use, for the first time in eight years.

Both the Land Use and Finance Committee chairs come with an $18,000 stipend above a regular City Council members pay of $112,500.

The Finance Committee chair plays an important role in negotiating the annual city budget with the mayor.

If the sources prove correct, it signifies a reemergence of the borough’s Democratic Party power statewide.

This includes John Sampson’s recent ascension as the State Senate’s Majority Leader, Carl Kruger as chair of the State Senate Finance Committee and Bill de Blasio as the City’s public advocate.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Penn and Fountain Park may be open this year

Right off the Belt Parkway opposite Starrett City. A park as big as Prospect Park on a former landfill

NY Times excerpts from September -

A Wooded Prairie Springs From a Site Once Piled High With Garbage

In a $200 million project, the city’s Department of Environmental Protection covered the Fountain Avenue Landfill and the neighboring Pennsylvania Avenue Landfill with a layer of plastic, then put down clean soil and planted 33,000 trees and shrubs at the two sites. The result is 400 acres of nature preserve, restoring native habitats that disappeared from New York City long ago.

The first seeds were laid down in 2004 on the Pennsylvania Avenue Landfill, followed a year later by the first plantings of shrubs and trees, at a density of 800 to 1,000 per acre, about double what typically grow in a natural setting. The final plantings went in last year. All told, the ecological portion of the landfill project cost about $20 million.

More than 93 percent of the trees and shrubs have survived.

A spokeswoman for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said the Fountain Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue Landfills, currently listed as a “significant threat to the public health or environment,” could be reclassified by next spring as safe for public access, requiring only continued monitoring of their conditions.

Then the final steps for opening them to the public would start. Mr. Shelley, the Starrett City resident, envisions an amphitheater for concerts, bicycle paths and fishing areas, perhaps within a handful of years. “What they’re doing here,” he said, “was an absolute miracle.”


Update: After doing some more research it looks like the parks are scheduled to open in 2012 even though the Times said that they may be approved for public access this year.

Brooklyn Eagle - Looking back at 09 - Oceana



Muss Development’s 15-building Oceana Condo complex on the beachfront in Brighton Beach is almost sold out. Only a handful of the 865 units remain unsold.

Brownstoner - Sheepshead Bay Gets Sexy

Excerpt -

Sheepshead Bay Gets Sexy

Sheepshead Bay doesn't get a lot of attention around here but this new condo at 1702 Avenue Z caught our eye. We don't think of the area being known for Richard Meier-wannabe designs.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Real Deal's best of 2009

Excerpts -

Atlantic Yards
After six years of legal battles, the New York Court of Appeals last month cleared the way for developer Bruce Ratner to move forward with plans for his $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project, dismissing opponents' claims that the state had misused eminent domain laws to secure land for the development. (That's after a design by Frank don't-call-me-starchitect Gehry was removed from the plans.) Ratner announced this month that he had officially closed on the project, and then construction began. A bevy of eminent domain protests by locals ensued, including one at Freddy's Bar on Dean Street that involved the guillotining of a faceless body emblazoned with the words "eminent domain theft."

Coney Island agreement
After years of wrangling over the future of Brooklyn's now-gritty Coney Island, the city and Thor Equities officially came to an agreement this month, with the Bloomberg administration agreeing to pay developer Joseph Sitt, CEO of Thor Equities, $95.7 million for seven acres of land in Coney Island. Since he began buying up land in the area in 2005, Sitt had been locked in a stalemate with city officials over how to best develop the area. Sitt hinted at The Real Deal forum in October that he was close to a deal with the mayor.