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

Sunday, May 30, 2010

What a day for the rebirth of Coney Island!

I'm sure it will be even more crowded today as the weather gets warmer.

Fox excerpts -

After getting a tour of the new park, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said “our vision for Coney Island is not only to recapture its historic glory as a seaside attraction, but also to make it more livable and affordable and make it a real neighborhood for the community that is here.”

Seth Pinsky, of the NYC Economic Development Group, said the new park, is a win-win for Brooklyn. “This is a community that has very high poverty rates, has one of the longest commutes in the entire city, and has been under served for years, one of the main reasons we are doing this opportunity is to create jobs,” Pinsky said.

There are plans for a phase 2 of Luna Park set for next summer, which will result in over 100 more jobs. Pinsky said the money pumped into the park, will have a ripple effect in the surrounding area saying, “ it will be people who are shopping in local stores, people who are going to be eating at local restaurants, and it will be an enormous boost to the entire economy.”

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Video for those trying to stop hotels in Coney

Hotels will happen.

NY 1 Video - Joe Sitt interview

Excerpt -

He wants to bring in two big hotels, one with a kids theme, the other with an indoor water park, to make Coney Island a year-round destination.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Joe Sitt is willing to be patient

I have believed for a long time that the major part of Coney redevelopment is going to the next administration and this basically confirms it -

Village Voice excerpts -

Joe Sitt is in no hurry. He deplores the way that "all the politics started" over Coney, and mentions no plans for "Phase 2" beyond erecting the low stands along Surf Avenue that he wants to have open by 2011.

"In terms of Coney Island? Coney Island, you can't ask me. You really have to ask the city of New York. We have to follow the city's time card, so to speak," he demurs, citing the lack of adequate sewerage and electricity in the amusement district—another subsidy, apparently, that the taxpayers will be expected to provide. "When the new Coney Island is gonna happen . . . you know, three years, five years . . . or 10 years? So far, they're looking like they're gonna be somewhere closer to 10 years."

Thor Equities has played this perfectly. Getting the new year round zoning, selling the amusement zoned land for a huge premium, and now waiting for the next administration to go for the real development prize - retail and hotels. I tip my hat to Thor. Absolutely brilliant planning!

Luna Park opening Saturday

Can't wait! I am expecting a half a million people at Coney on Saturday! It should be awesome! Dinner at Garguilos at night!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

TNA Wrestling comes to Coney!

TNA Wrestling Comes To MCU Park In Brooklyn
May 20, 2010 -
New York-Penn League (NYPL) Brooklyn Cyclones

The superstars of Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling's "TNA iMPACT" on Spike (Thursday 9 p.m. ET/PT) are invading Brooklyn! TNA Live! will hit MCU Park Friday, July 2. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. for an unforgettable night of action.

TNA Live! is an interactive entertainment experience that sends its craziest fans BACKSTAGE to meet TNA Superstars!

- Ring announcer Jeremy Borash will hide a backstage pass and announce its location on Twitter before the show!

- Tickets purchased at any price level will include a Cyclones game ticket ($8 Value) to the July 20th game against the Lowell Spinners.

- Fans that purchase $50 VIP seating will receive a special meet and greet with TNA Superstars one hour before doors open! (Redeemable with ticket the night of the show; offer only applies to $50 VIP tickets.)

- In addition there will be a fireworks display after show at 9:30 PM!
Appearing live in person at MCU Park will be: "The Charismatic Enigma" JEFF HARDY, "The Phenomenal" AJ
STYLES, "The War Machine" RHINO, Olympic Gold Medalist KURT ANGLE, TNA Knockouts Champion & Knockouts Tag Team Champions THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE, and "TNA Tag Team Ink, Inc." SHANNON MOORE & JESSE NEAL.

TICKETS: On sale 10:00 AM Monday, May 24 at or charge by phone at 718-507-TIXX. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the MCU Park Box Office in Coney Island, Brooklyn as well as the Citi Field Box Office in Flushing, New York. Tickets are $20, $35 and $50. VIP seating ($50 ticket only) includes meet and greet. (For more info, visit

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Email from John Strong

Interesting email I received this afternoon

It is with pride and pleasure to announce that the John Strong World's Finest Shows will return to Coney Island and open across the street from the Cyclone on May 28th. Todd Robbins will warm them up and I'm going to take their money home. We have a giant 200x100 lot across Surf from the Cyclone. The bannerline will be the largest and the most beautiful in the world stretching from the Cyclone to Little Russia... 200 feet.

I don't give up too easily. I'm one of the very few in all of showbiz that has enough experience, flash and knowhow to get the people to cross in the crosswalk at the corner of Surf and 10th to our ticket box a mere 25 ft away on a lot that nobody else could utilize except me.

We may put a bellydancing snake charmer on the bally. We may put a live two headed cow on the bally or the six legged cow on display for free photos. We may have six live human oddities on display. We may have the Chupacabra breaking out of a crate. We may have to kidnap my good friends Natasha and T and not let them back across the street (lol). With her voluptuous body and many sideshow talents including bellydancing and swordswallowing, she will entice half the the population (all of the male gender and a couple of the females) across the street like lemmings. We will have whatever it takes to get them across the street, including our organ grinding monkey, Jocko.

Much thanks to our hosts, Anthony and Barry, once again for the invite.Since I'm at a casino, I will be taking bets on how many people we can get to cross the street this summer. My show will turn heads and turn the tip into the greatest freakshow on earth.

John Strong
World's Finest Shows
World's Greatest Sideshow Showman
Savior of Coney Island
Director of the Coney Island Morale, Welfare and Recreation Center
Proud Producer of the Greatest Sideshows on Earth.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Heavy Metal Amphitheater

Brooklyn Paper excerpt -

Heavy metal machers eye Marty’s amphitheater for Iron Maiden and Metallica
By Joe Maniscalco
The Brooklyn Paper

Come on, feel the noise, Coney!

The concert promotion firm that backs heavy metal super-groups Iron Maiden and Metallica now wants to produce shows at Borough President Markowitz’s proposed $64-million amphitheater in Asser Levy Seaside Park.

Metropolitan Talent — one of the premiere entertainment conglomerates in the country — confirmed this week that it is one of the bidders to operate the mega-theater on Surf Avenue between Ocean Parkway and West Fifth Street.

And this company wants a real presence in Coney Island, a senior producer said, mentioning that the hard rock promoters want to bring in at least 20 “big name shows” every year.

“We’re always looking for new and interesting venues in desirable locations and this seems to fit the bill,” said the executive, Ian Noble.

The rock insider also had choice words for residents who object to the new amphitheater on the grounds that it is too big and too disruptive: You’re not in Kansas anymore.
“I was a little shocked by people opposing it,” he said. “A venue [like this] should be welcomed with open arms — it’s Coney Island, not exactly Iowa farmland.”

Two other high-profile promoters who toured the venue on the same day as Metropolitan Talent — the prominent companies Live Nation and Marquee Concerts — may also have bid for the site, though neither returned our calls.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

NY1 Video - Luna Park Build

Amusements aren't the only thing needed excerpts -

The sort of development that's still lacking around the New York City landmark, however, is new housing and retail space. This is why area realtors say home prices are unlikely to climb like a seat on the Parachute Jump anytime

"If you walk a few blocks down to Brighton, there's restaurants and local life on the boardwalk and people don't mind living there at all," she said.

On the other hand, Coney Island is a narrow strip of a neighborhood that fronts the Atlantic Ocean but backs up to a grimy industrial area. During the summer, visitors to the beach, aquarium, amusement park and baseball stadium create gridlock in the streets, congestion on the boardwalk, and blanket-to-blanket crowding on the sand.

In the winter all this shuts down, leaving the area dreary and desolate.

Louis Esposito, a Coney Island native and realtor with Prudential Douglas Elliman, says that most of the people who live there "have been there for years."

"The area is stale and it lacks a residential, neighborhoody feel," he said. "New development would help, especially affordable rentals and condos." If it ever happens, that is.

Pinsky, Sitt to present at Brooklyn Development Conference

Brooklyn Eagle excerpt -

EDC’s Seth Pinsky To Discuss ‘Big Picture’ in Infrastructure Investment, Development in Brooklyn

By Linda Collins Brooklyn Daily Eagle

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Seth Pinsky, president of the NYC Economic Development Corp. (EDC), will be a featured speaker at the Brooklyn Real Estate Summit on Wednesday, June 16, at St. Francis College in Downtown Brooklyn.

Pinsky will deliver the daylong event’s keynote address, titled, “The Big Picture: The State of Infrastructure Investment and Development in New York City’s Largest Borough.”

Pinsky joins a lineup of key speakers that includes Joe Sitt, chariman and CEO of Thor Equities, who will lead the panel on the future of new developments in the city’s largest borough spotlighting Coney Island, Atlantic Yards/Barclays Center and Domino Sugar; and David Kramer, principal with The Hudson Companies, who will lead the residential panel discussing the current state and future outlook of residential sales, leasing, investment and development in Brooklyn.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Stillwell Avenue - Big Rumors

Here is the rumor

According to various posts on The Sideshow World message board John Strong Shows is planning on teaming with Universal Fairs, Butler Amusements, and Amusements of America to bring another version of last year's Dreamland Amusement Park to Stillwell Avenue this summer. Maybe even starting Memorial Day weekend.

Interesting rumors to say the least -

Zamperla is just what the doctor ordered

Thank goodness Coney is turning the corner

Metro Excerpt -

On Memorial Day weekend, 19 new rides will thrill Coney Island visitors into a season of fun and offer a glimpse of changes that may echo Times Square’s evolution from gritty to glossy.

“We want it to be nicer and cleaner. We want to bring everything up a little bit,” said Valerio Ferrari, president of Zamperla USA, which is building its Luna Park atop the old Astroland.

Cha Cha’s bar owner John “Cha Cha” Ciarcia was pleased about the area’s “family-oriented” direction: “There’s no more hookers, pimps and drugs.”

Next for Coney - Year round!

New Nets owner approved

Daily News excerpt -

Mikhail Prokhorov, a Russian oligarch worth an estimated $13.4 billion, was officially approved Tuesday night by the NBA's board of governors to be the new owner of the Nets. Prokhorov will officially seize control of the team this afternoon.

"It is my pleasure and honor to be joining the ranks of NBA team owners," Prokhorov said in a statement released by the Nets. "Today's vote will give the NBA a greater global reach and bring a multitude of new fans to the game of basketball. For those who are already fans of the Nets and the NBA, I intend to give you plenty to cheer about."

Prokhorov, 45, reached an agreement to buy a majority share of the Nets from developer Bruce Ratner last September, paying $200million for 80% of the team and 45% of the Barclays Center, the Nets' arena that is being built in downtown Brooklyn for the 2012-13 season.

Crains - Suit challenging Coney Plan dismissed

Suit challenging Coney Island plan dismissed

State Supreme Court Judge Eileen Rakower rejected a petition by Save Coney Island group to reverse the rezoning of Coney Island to allow construction of a new amusement district including hotels, retail and housing.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The selfish Amusement Enthusiasts

As I have posted for months now, it is my opinion there is a movement going on to landmark every building in the amusement zone in order to stop hotel development. This strategy has no chance of working. The zoning made sure that Coney will go year round.

It is my opinion that the amusement enthusiasts are interested in one thing - summer amusements. They don't care that Coney is a winter ghost town. They don't care that the CIDC was put together to make Coney a year round destination and produce year jobs for the neighborhood. They will vilify Thor who actually bought the land and got this zoning to happen.

Amusement Enthusiasts don't care about hotels, retail, housing, jobs and a year round economy for Coney. They are interested in their own priority - Summer Amusements and that's it.

They won't win. Development is always about compromise and finding middle ground as noted by the new Coney zoning and the 150 million in infrastructure to make Coney year round.

Amusements will lead to year round development. That's the plan and the plan will work. Go Coney!

In response to this blog post

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Daily News - Lola Staar's Coney Roller Rink will not be renewed


The gates are coming down on Coney Island's hot pink roller-skating palace.

Lola Staar's Dreamland Roller Rink is getting the boot from the historic Child's Restaurant building on the Boardwalk.

Rink owner Dianna Carlin said her landlord, Taconic Investment Partners, told her she won't be able to open the attraction when the summer season kicks off on Memorial Day weekend.

"It's really a shame," Carlin said. "It was really this amazing, magical place. ... It was important to the community that this building that had been vacant for so long was full of life again."

Taconic officials said they had to pull the plug because the cost of liability insurance got too high.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Thor spokesperson in Bay News


“This summer is going to be about the demolition,” said Thor Equities spokesperson Loren Riegelhaupt, claiming that the ramshackle structures are filled with asbestos.

Riegelhaupt said that Thor Equities must clear the land now in order to have new retail shops open for the 2011 summer season.

It is unclear what shops Thor is proposing. A rendering put out by the company last week shows a burger outlet and a taco stand.

The demolition work is what Thor Equities calls “phase one” of its longstanding Coney Island ambitions.

Though the rendering shows only a one-story structure, the land was rezoned last year for high-rise hotels — which Thor CEO Joe Sitt has promised to build once the city fixes the ancient infrastructure in the area, part of tens of millions of dollars in improvements that the city promised as part of a rezoning that envisions a new golden age for Coney Island.

“Once the infrastructure is in place, we will be doing different and bigger kind of things,” Riegelhaupt said.

Preservationists had hoped to include the sites in a newly created “historic corridor” along Surf Avenue, but the city denied any historical significance to the buildings.

“These buildings were thoroughly reviewed by the city [before] last year’s rezoning and determined to have no significant historic value whatsoever,” said Stefan Friedman, another Thor spokesman. “Some of these buildings are asbestos-infested ramshackle buildings that pose a very real risk to the local community.”

Sunday, May 2, 2010

RFP for construction of Steeplechase Plaza

Crains excerpt -

Economic Development Corp.
Requests proposals by 4 p.m. on May 27 for construction management services for the creation of a new event plaza and pavilion building at Steeplechase Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn. An optional site visit and information session will be held at 4 p.m. on May 10 at the Steeplechase Plaza boardwalk. For registration or questions, contact Maryann Catalano at (212) 312-3969 or

Saturday, May 1, 2010

More on Brooklyn Walmart

Brooklyn Paper excerpt -

Brooklynites gear up for ‘Warmart’
The Brooklyn Paper

Residents are hailing reports that Walmart is looking for its first Brooklyn location — even as critics of the big-box store are preparing to fight back the retail Golaith famous for its “low, low prices” and, some say, low, low wages.

Under the rumored deal, Walmart would lease space at the planned Gateway II shopping center at Jamaica Bay off Shore Parkway at Erksine Street. The City Council already approved the plans for the shopping center, meaning Walmart could move in by simply signing a lease.

“People are very happy about it,” said Marie Purnell, former president of the Spring Creek Towers Tenants Association, which is across the street from the Walmart. “It was all the talk at last night’s Democratic Club meeting.”

Walmart may be coming to Gateway!

Wow! This is great news!!!!

Daily News excerpt -

Walmart is eying a proposed Brooklyn shopping center for its first New York City location, Crain's New York reported.

The retail giant is scoping out the Gateway II shopping center near Jamaica Bay. Even though the proposal isn't official yet, community groups already are planning protests.