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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Atlantic Yards - It is Happening

NY Observer Excerpt -

The Op-Ed: Atlantic Yards—It Is Happening

February 10, 2010 1:11 p.m

MaryAnne Gilmartin

The recession, the credit crunch and the inherent difficulty of building in the most densely settled city in America: These are just a few of the challenges that have dogged the Atlantic Yards project since its announcement, in December 2003. Add to these general obstacles a small group of litigious opponents who vowed to sue early and often to stop the project, and the six-year project inception period makes more sense.

But the wait is over. We are building Atlantic Yards. And the project is more important than ever.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Important statement from Domenic

Just saw this on NY1 and searched for it online.

Officials say the new park will create 247 new jobs this summer and will be the first step in making Coney Island a year-round destination

"This is just one part of the redevelopment of Coney Island -- this is the amusement area," said City Councilman Domenic Recchia. "We are going to keep on adding to this, and the other parcels of land that have yet to be developed."

You can watch the video here too

Courier Life - Feltmans Building

Let me start off by saying I believe there is a movement going on to save or landmark just about every building south of Surf Avenue. I don't believe this has any chance of stopping the new development of Coney

Excerpt -

The struggle to save Coney Island’s storied past while paving the way for its glorious future has come down to brick and tile.

It’s all members of the Coney Island History Project were expecting to extract from the demolished Feltman’s Building this week.

“It’s really a shame,” said Charles Denson, executive director of the Coney Island History Project. “I think it could have been repurposed. It’s a solid building, but it just doesn’t fit into their plans.”

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Nets move to Prudential Center for 2 Years before Brooklyn

NY Post excerpt -

It's official: Nets will play in Newark on way to Brooklyn

Last Updated: 6:16 PM, February 18, 2010

Posted: 2:47 PM, February 18, 2010

The Nets will play their next two seasons at Newark's Prudential Center after buying out their Izod Center lease, it was announced today, according to

The team, about to be purchased by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, plans to move to Brooklyn for the 2012-13 season.

"The agreement came after the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority voted in secret to approve the deal at a special meeting this morning. A formal announcement is expected later today by Gov. Chris Christie," the report says.

Nets CEO Brett Yormark released a statement this afternoon.

"Before we make our permanent move to Brooklyn, this interim relocation to Newark enables us to continue our goal to further regionalize the team, not only in Essex and Union Counties, but also in New York City due to the direct mass transit access available between Manhattan and the Prudential Center," it read..

"We are confident that the NBA family will see this as a positive move, as we do."

Read more:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More comments from Joe Sitt

Way to go Joe!!!!

Brooklyn Eagle excerpt -

Joseph Sitt, president of Thor Equities, from whom the city bought most of the land that will house the new rides, said, "We are beyond pleased to see the city bringing in new rides to Coney for the 2010 season and beyond. It is critical that all stakeholders in the area invest in new talent and attractions, and this is very big step in the right direction.

“We look forward to announcing our program for the Summer 2010 season and working shoulder to shoulder with the city not only in the next few months, but also during the many years ahead as City Hall begins to put its more permanent plans into place."

Joe Sitt statement

Sitt, who still owns about as many Coney Island acres as the city, released a statement Tuesday saying his firm is "beyond pleased" by plans for this summer and is "looking forward to ... working shoulder to shoulder with the city."

Domenic's vision

After watching the press conference yesterday it struck me that all of this is happening with Coney now because of one's man vision from a decade ago - Domenic Recchia.

The absolute best!

AP -

City Councilman Domenic Recchia, who represents Coney Island, called the renewal "a dream come true."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Video - Coney Island Press Conference

The news just keeps getting Better!

AP - 23 Rides coming

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says 23 new rides are part of a plan to revive Brooklyn's historic but mostly dormant Coney Island amusement park.

Roller coasters, go-carts and a human slingshot are among the attractions being announced Tuesday.

In November, the city announced its purchase of 6.9 acres in Coney Island for $95.6 million.
The city intends to create a year-round, 12½-acre outdoor amusement park. It will be part of a 27-acre amusement and entertainment district.

The project eventually will include restaurants, movie theaters and retail. Nearly 5,000 units of housing are planned, including 900 units for low- and moderate-income families.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Thor has high hopes for Livingston Street

Courier Life excerpt -

It may not be Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, but developer Joe Sitt is seeing a more high-end retail and restaurant corridor emerging on Livingston Street in Downtown Brooklyn.

Sitt, whose company Thor Equities owns a chunk of Coney Island, also owns the former municipal parking garage site on Livingston just east of Bond Street.

The property includes the International House of Pancakes (IHOP), which is reportedly the busiest of its franchises in the country.

“The LivingstonStreet corridor is phenomenal,” said Sitt, following a real estate roundtable discussion at the Brooklyn Historical Society. “It used to be big, bad and ugly and now it’s a great second fiddle to Fulton Street.”

Sitt said he doesn’t envision a day where it will bring in such high-end retail as a Nordstrom, but that it will end up as a higher-end shopping strip for Downtown Brooklyn.

“It will attract better food stores and apparel retail as Schermerhorn (Street) develops towards Atlantic (Avenue) and Livingston fills in terms of residential living,” he said.

Shore Theater moves closer to landmark status

I would expect this to happen as I have read that Recchia has pushed this for years.

Bay News excerpt -

Coney Island’s historic Shore Theater is one step closer to landmark status this week after the Landmarks Preservation Commission [LPC] voted to finally get the official designation process rolling.

A public hearing on landmarking the venerable old site at Surf and Stillwell avenues has been slated for March 23.

At that time, the LPC will entertain testimony from the community at large on the merits of landmarking the Shore Theater. The final vote on whether to landmark the site will come sometime after.

In addition, the LPC also tells this newspaper that a similar vote to hold a public hearing on landmarking the Coney Island USA building will be held later on February 16.

NY Times - Clash Over Brooklyn Park

Excerpt -

Many other residents say they would also like to see the park fixed up — without the amphitheater. But they have a tough opponent in Mr. Markowitz, 65, who has promoted the free concerts for decades and serves as the master of ceremonies at Asser Levy. Already he has Ms. King, Mr. Diamond and Lionel Ritchie on his concert wish list.

“They don’t want anything that attracts anyone who doesn’t live a block away,” he said of the opponents. “I’m not going to allow folks who have such narrow vision to stop the future.”

Adrian Benepe, the city’s commissioner of parks, said that efforts would be made to address the neighborhood’s concerns, but that residents were up against a long tradition of live music in the city’s green spaces.

“The life of New York takes place in its parks,” he said. “It’s our common backyard. It’s an often boisterous place — that’s what makes them fun and safe.”

“What we have to remember,” he added, “is that parks just don’t serve immediate neighborhoods. Parks are citywide resources.”

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Keyspan Park becomes MCU Park

Daily News Excerpt -

Winds of change are coming to the Brooklyn Cyclones.

The ballpark for the Mets' minor league affiliates, that was known as KeySpan Park since it opened in 2001, has been renamed MCU Park Thursday.

"We are very excited about our new partnership because it is such a natural fit," said Municipal Credit Union CEO Kam Wong.

He would not disclose the financial terms of the 11-year agreement, only saying, "It's very reasonable."

Cyclones general manger Steve Cohen said the new stadium sponsor is apt because MCU serves municipal employees, which comprise a third of the team's fans.

"Like any other change of a name," he said, "it will take people some time to make the switch."

Borough President Marty Markowitz, who also attended the light-hearted press conference at the park's Brooklyn Baseball Gallery, vowed to make the adjustment.

"I call it the Cyclones Stadium," he said. "I'll try my best to call it MCU Park."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thor talks Rollercoaster and City Partnership

Bay News excerpts -

New roller coaster proposal for Coney Island
Joe Sitt suggests partnering with city on project

By Stephen Witt Tuesday, February 2, 2010 7:11 PM EST
Courier-Life Publications

Good fences may make good neighbors, but having the world’s largest roller coaster spanning two properties in Coney Island would make for a partnership.Which is exactly what Joe Sitt, the principal of Thor Equities, would like to do with the city.

Sitt, who sold seven of his approximately 11 acres of Coney Island property in the amusement district late last year for $95.6 million to the city, said he’d love to partner with the Bloomberg administration on putting the world’s largest roller coaster in America’s playground.

We welcome him (Sitt) to incorporate new and exciting uses on his properties that are within the realm of zoning,” said Libby Langsdorf, spokesperson for the city’s Economic Development Corporation.

Sitt said he is waiting for the city to make necessary infrastructure improvements before he finalizes plans for what’s left of his property.

As for his remaining property, Sitt said he anticipates possibly building a hotel as well as an assortment of retail and amusement-related businesses such as an indoor water park and restaurants.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Nets moving to Newark arena for 2 years before Brooklyn

NY Daily News excerpt -

New Jersey Nets nearing move to Newark, will play in Prudential Center until move to Brooklyn

Tuesday, February 2nd 2010, 4:00 AM

The Nets will have the cash and the assets to rebuild their team. Now all they need is a new place to play, and it appears they are close to getting it.

While they are still on schedule to move to Brooklyn at some point in 2012, the Nets likely will be playing in Newark the next two seasons after reaching a preliminary lease agreement with the Devils to play their home games at the Prudential Center, according to a source familiar with the team's situation.

According to the source, the Nets and Devils reached a new agreement last week and are expected to sign it this week. It should reach Gov. Chris Christie's desk soon after and it is expected to be approved.

"It's going to happen," said a source familiar with the negotiations.

Read more:

NY Post - Thor statement on Strong/Coney

USA Today - Brooklyn on verge of Hotel Boom

Excerpts -

Leisure and business travelers visiting New York may soon find respite from Manhattan's infamous sky-high room rates by crossing the bridge into Brooklyn.

NBC New York is reporting that 40 hotels plan to set up shop in the New York City borough in coming years.

"Analysts say tourists, fed up with Manhattan prices, are likely to opt for new options," NBC writes. This year alone, 46 new hotels are expected to open throughout New York, and 12 of those will be in Brooklyn.

A Sheraton and an Aloft are set to open in downtown Brooklyn within the year. The borough is also attracting the likes of Hyatt, Best Western, Holiday Inn, Choice Hotel, Fairfield Inn and Super 8, all of which have plans in motion to open in the area.

"I can't think of a better symbol of Brooklyn's progress than new hotels, which started back in 1998 with the opening of Brooklyn's first new hotel in nearly 70 years — the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, which has expanded in the past few years and is doing great business," Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz told the Eagle.

Marty's rep on the Amphitheater

Bay News excerpts -

His rep told this paper, “This is a priority New York City Parks project and is part of the city’s larger Coney Island revitalization plan. It will only enhance the surrounding community and 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.”

A Borough Hall source noted that the amphitheater would be constructed with capital funding, which cannot be applied to operating expenses, such as supporting city agencies like the Fire Department.

This a key statement on the ULURP and the second time I have read this -

Community Board 13 has steadfastly maintained that it has no role in the issue. The Parks Department has determined that the construction of the amphitheater will not be subject to Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). However, the actual use of the venue might require a ULURP process.

Monday, February 1, 2010

NY Post - Freak Show Coming to Coney

Excerpt -

Freak show coming to Coney’s oldest structure

6:03 PM, February 1, 2010 ι By RICH CALDER

Get set for another year of competing Coney Island freak shows.

Operator John Strong confirmed today that he has a new lease to return to the seaside district this summer, but in new digs – the ex-Grashorn’s Hardware site on Surf Ave, which dates back to the 1880s and is Coney Island’s oldest building.
Strong, who leased part of the former Astroland site from developer Joe Sitt last season before it was sold to the city, also cut his new deal with Sitt.

Sitt, who declined to confirm today if the deal had closed, brought Strong to Coney Island last year and renamed the Astroland property “Dreamland Park.”

“I’m happy to be coming back to Coney Island,” said Strong, who said business was “great” there last year – even though most of the rest of the traveling amusements at the park last year were a huge flop.

But Strong doesn’t boast being the only show in town. He’s up against the popular Coney Island USA Circus Sideshow, headed by Dick Zigun, the so-called Coney Island mayor.

Strong says he’s so in love with Coney Island that he is trying to lease more Sitt-owned land on Stillwell Avenue. He said he wants to expand his freak show and also use the additional space for a circus and the return of go-cart tracks to the underused site.

Strong claimed that he currently is the highest bidder for the site – even higher than Zamperla USA, which is expected to be tapped by the city to operate a six- acre amusement park in Coney Island on property that includes the old Astroland site.