As the Council Member for Coney Island, I would like to express my full support for landmarking both the Shore Theater building and the Childs Restaurant building. I believe that both of these buildings are incredibly important, both historically and aesthetically, to Coney Island, and they should be preserved at a time that we’re embarking on a major revitalization of the neighborhood.
The Shore Theater, at 1301 Surf Avenue, was constructed in 1925, and served as a live performance vaudeville venue and a movie house. At the time of its construction, it represented optimism for the future of Coney Island as a world-class entertainment destination, and it was one of the first permanent fixtures on the waterfront’s skyline. Unfortunately, time took its toll, and the building has sat vacant since the 1970s. My dream is that by landmarking this theater, live theater will flourish once again in Coney Island.
The Childs Restaurant building, at 1208 Surf Avenue, predates the Shore Theater. It was built in 1917, and was originally constructed as part of Childs, a cafeteria-style restaurant chain that originated in Manhattan in the 1880s. This is one of two Childs buildings in Coney Island – the other, on the Boardwalk, was landmarked in 2003. The building has been home to the Blue Bird Casino and David Rosen’s Wonderland Circus Sideshow, one of Coney Island historic and legendary attractions. It is currently home to Coney Island USA, a non-profit organization that strives to maintain the unique culture and heritage of Coney Island.
I believe both of these buildings are historically significant to the neighborhood. Even today, they serve as beacons to our past, and by protecting them, we protect the history of Coney Island. By approving this landmarking, you will ensure that while we move forward in our redevelopment, we can maintain the spirit and excitement of what makes Coney Island a world-class entertainment destination.