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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Zamperla hit with fine after Shoot the Freak demolition

Man is this getting messy

NY Post excerpts -

What the Freak?

The city yesterday slapped the operator it tapped to revive the Coney Island amusement district with a hefty violation for bulldozing the beloved “Shoot the Freak” boardwalk attraction without proper permits.

Zamperla USA, which is embroiled in a battle to evict Shoot the Freak and seven other boardwalk mainstays, was hit by the city Buildings Department with a Class 1 violation — the most severe — for authorizing the Dec. 22 demolition work without proper approvals.

The result was a city stop-work order on the job — although the damage was already done — and Buildings spokeswoman Jennifer Gilbert confirmed the case is under investigation. A Class 1 normally carries penalties of $5,000 and above.

“I really have to wonder if this is retaliation because I’ve been Zamperla’s biggest critic since they’ve arrived,” said a freaked-out Anthony Berlingieri, operator of the famous game in which patrons shoot paintballs at human targets.

Zamperla spokesman Lee Silberstein said the company “instructed its contractor to fully cooperate” with the “investigation, and is hopeful that permitting issues can be resolved as soon as possible so that the new attractions will be ready for the approaching season."

Read more:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Village Voice - Coney 8 respond

Excerpt -

Yesterday the New York Post reported that the businesses being evicted from the Coney Island boardwalk (including longtime institutions like Shoot the Freak and Ruby's Bar) had "drawn a line in the Coney Island sand" and were demanding a buyout of $2 million to leave the premises. Linda Gross, president of LCG Communications, a PR organization representing the eight businesses, says this is untrue.

According to Gross, the owners are all "unhappy and angry" because "the information received from unnamed 'city officials' was patently false."

They offered this statement:

We, the Coney Island 8, intend to stay on the boardwalk, where we belong. There have been no offers made by either side to settle this for money. The City is lying, pure and simple -- because they are worried that their scheme to take over our authentic, local Coney Island businesses and replace us with large, uncaring and unknowing foreign corporations will not be tolerated by those who love Coney Island and what it stands for. New Yorkers are not so easily fooled. We intend to fight and fight hard. For us, it's not about money.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Coney shaping up for Year Round 2011

With today's news it looks very much like the boardwalk will be going year round after build out this coming spring/summer. With the new boardwalk scene having Scream Zone to draw people during the summer it should be the biggest summer in Coney history.

Now get Henderson's down and lets get the infrastructure started for the future hotels on Surf! Coney's moving.

Barclays Center will host more than 200 events in first year

Sports Business Journal excerpt -

However, with some 50 business partners in attendance, Nets and Barclays Center officials and partners laid out a plan for an arena that was well beyond the "proposed" stage. Instead, they showcased a building that will host more than 200 events in its first year, including about 45 Nets games; 48 shows from Feld Entertainment's stable of brands, which includes the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Disney on Ice, and various indoor motorsports shows; 12 boxing events through an association with Golden Boy Promotions; 25 college basketball and hockey games through an affiliation with IMG College; at least 20 concerts from Live Nation and other promoters; and two to three tennis events through Lagardere Unlimited. There is also thought of bringing in pro hockey games.

Looks like Dennis Holt (Brooklyn Eagle) was correct last week

12/21 excerpt -

In the category of more to come, the re-making of Coney Island will continue with more work being done on the entertainment area. The controversy over the recent eviction of a group of small businesses will be wrapped up when some money changes hands

NY Post - Coney 8 want $2 million to leave

Excerpt -

A group of storied boardwalk businesses have drawn a line in the Coney Island sand -- demanding at least $2 million before they'll agree to move out and make way for a modern amusement district, sources said.

"The tenants are holding the boardwalk hostage in order to get a big payout and then walk away," a city official told The Post.

The eight mainstays -- including Ruby's Bar and Grill and Shoot the Freak -- feel they are the ones being shafted. They were slapped with eviction notices on Nov. 1 by Zamperla, an Italian company tapped by the city to both run Luna Park and redevelop the properties that house the longtime boardwalk businesses.

Lawyers for all sides, meanwhile, have been quietly discussing a settlement plan.

Sources say the biggest holdup had been Zamperla, which doesn't want to give the businesses a dime, partly because of the way they have played on the public's sympathy.

Lawyers for the businesses and Zamperla did not return messages.

"We're confident that the boardwalk will be open for business, one way or another," city spokesman David Lombino said.

Read more:

Friday, December 24, 2010

Where would Coney Island development be without Domenic?

Probably in the same sad shape its been in the last 40 years. Thank you Domenic for giving all of us in South Brooklyn the greatest gift of all - Real Hope of Change!

Go Coney! Go Brooklyn!

From Domenic's blog

Excerpt -

Look no further than Coney Island. The beach had 14 million visitors this summer. We created 200 new jobs for the community. South Brooklyn has flourished. Next year is going to be even better, when we open Scream Zone and break ground on Coney Island Commons, a YMCA with 195 units of affordable housing. The economic future of South Brooklyn is bright, and I predict that our good fortune will ripple throughout the city.

Shoot the Freak Bulldozed

Wow, looks like the fight is getting ugly now

NY Daily News excerpt -

The owners of Coney Island's Shoot the Freak vowed to sue amusement giant Zamperla, charging their Boardwalk business was illegally razed behind their backs.

The company tore down the game and boarded up the property this week - even though eviction proceedings are still pending in court.

Shoot the Freak is one of nine longtime Boardwalk businesses the Italian amusement company is trying to boot. Their lawyer earlier sent Zamperla a letter warning not to meddle with the properties until the eviction battle is settled.

"It's like I've been robbed," said owner Anthony Berlingieri, who found all his equipment and props gone when he showed up at the site Wednesday.

Berlingieri and partner Carlo Muraco plan to ask a judge next week to declare the eviction illegal, block Zamperla from bulldozing anything else, and make them pay for the confiscated material.

The city owns the land and leases it to Zamperla. City officials said they'd review whether the move against Shoot the Freak was allowed.

Read more:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nets after Carmelo Anthony again excerpt -

Iannazone: Nets think they'll sell 'Melo on Brooklyn
Thursday, December 23, 2010
The Record

The Nets and principal owner Mikhail Prokhorov may get another chance to convince a star player to come to Newark before ushering the franchise into a new era in Brooklyn.

It didn't work with LeBron James over the summer. But the Nets are confident they can sell Carmelo Anthony on their vision of being a global team and that their future is brighter than that of the rival Knicks.

The Nets first have to get Denver to agree to take on the combination of young players, expiring contracts and draft picks to be offered in a multi-team deal. Then it may take a a good salesman to get Anthony to sign a three-year, $65 million extension.

The Nets believe they'll be able to do both.

Prokhorov, part-owner Jay-Z and general manager Billy King likely would meet with Anthony if a trade agreement was reached. No one is more self-assured than Prokhorov, and that filters throughout the organization.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Daily News editorial on Brooklyn Walmart

The City Council is gearing up for an anti-Walmart bash-a-thon because the giant retailer is planning to open a store in a new shopping mall in southeastern Brooklyn.

Speaker Christine Quinn says the Council will target Walmart at a hearing on Jan. 12 because, well, she and her colleagues just don't like the company's labor record and, in their view, it's a threat to mom-and-pop stores.

Does that give the Council grounds to subject Walmart to an official pummeling? No way, no how. Like it or not, the retailer has the right under the zoning law to open an outlet on a tract of land next to the Belt Parkway in East New York.

And to do so free and clear of official harassment. Just like any other properly constituted business, be it Tiffany's or a strip joint, it has the freedom to set up shop where the rules allow.

Just like sponsors of another controversial project - the so-called Ground Zero mosque - had the ability to locate downtown without being hauled before a Council committee, let alone one eager to throw punches.

Walmart is seeking a first entry into the city market. It has not confirmed plans to locate in a retail mall, called Gateway II, to be built by the Related Cos., a mega-developer. The project would be a companion to the highly successful Gateway I mall at Erskine St. next to the parkway and overlooking Jamaica Bay.

Clearly, the company believes an outlet there will be thronged. Its representatives are only too happy to distribute the results of a poll that, they say, demonstrates overwhelming support even among small business owners.

Maybe. Maybe not. Let's find out. If New Yorkers want to shop there, they should be able to.

And Quinn & Co. should leave it at that.

Read more:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Zamperla warns of Boardwalk ghost town

NY Post excerpt

Coney Island’s amusement district will be flooded with shuttered storefronts next summer -- unless eight longtime boardwalk businesses served eviction papers get out “very soon,” the area’s top landlord warned.

Zamperla USA says it would hate to see the heart of the boardwalk go dark – especially after city officials boasted that the firm’s May opening of Luna Park fueled the amusement district’s best season in 46 years.

But Zamperla -- which has a city lease to both operate Luna Park and control another three acres of prime beachfront land these businesses now occupy – says it’s prepared to deal with the repercussions of empty storefronts.

Zamperla officials told the Post they won’t allow Ruby’s Bar and Grill, Shoot the Freak and the other beloved attractions back next season – even if litigation challenging the evictions continues holding up Zamperla’s $5 million renovation of their rickety properties. Construction is already a month behind schedule.

The businesses are hoping the legal delays will force Zamperla to bring them back in 2011 because Zamperla wouldn’t have enough time to move forward with plans for a cleaner, more sanitized boardwalk featuring a swanky sit-down restaurant and sports bar.

But Zamperla says the buildings – which records show have piled up stacks of city building code violations – are unsafe and that no one should be using them as is.

“Given the deplorable condition of the properties, we are concerned that if construction does not start very soon, we will not be ready when the season begins,” said Zamperla spokesman Tom Corsillo.

Read more:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Thor gets $55 million for Soho space

NY Observer excerpt -

A German investment fund has dropped $55 million on the Soho space occupied by racy British clothing store All Saints.

Invesco Immobilien Fonds IV U.S. Partners, a U.S. vehicle for German investors, has bought the 20,000-square-foot, first-floor retail space owned by Thor Equities. The six-story loft building at 56 Crosby Street on Broadway was converted to luxury condos in 2000 by Howard Katz' Surtsey Realty Corporation. All Saints, of the infamous ram's skull logo, opened its first American location there in the spring.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Walmart in discussions with construction unions

WSJ excerpts-

After failing in earlier efforts to enter the New York City market, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is in advanced talks with politically powerful construction unions over a deal to build stores with unionized workers, people familiar with discussions said.

"Wal-Mart and the building trades have discussed our common interest in stimulating local economic development in the city," says Steven Restivo, a spokesman for Wal-Mart. "We do not have an agreement, but look forward to a continued dialogue."

The Building and Construction Trades Council said in a statement the group is "very receptive to discussions" with businesses that "are interested in advancing projects and entering into agreements to assure that the construction jobs created will be for union members of the building and construction trades."

Wal-Mart hasn't announced any specific locations for stores in New York, although the company has been discussing building a large store in Brooklyn with the Related Cos. And the retailer has told people involved with its local strategy that it plans numerous stores in the city, using an array of sizes, many smaller than its typical supercenters.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Poll says Brooklyn wants Walmart

Courier Life excerpt -

A Walmart may soon be coming to Brooklyn — because we want it here!

So declared the retail giant Tuesday with the release of a poll it commissioned showing that 76 percent of Brooklyn residents see the big-box retailer as a welcome addition to the Borough of Churches.

The poll is part of a multipronged attack to win over the hearts and minds of critics opposed to Walmart’s plans to build an as-of-right store bigger than three football fields inside the planned Gateway II shopping center at Jamaica Bay off Shore Parkway at Erksine Street.

“We know we have lots of customers from New York City today, even without a store presence there,” said Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo. “New Yorkers are shopping our brand, so it was important to see how they felt about making it more convenient for them to access our stores. The poll results speak for themselves.”

More Brooklyn Walmart rumors

Looks like talks are getting serious at Gateway Shopping Center off the Belt.

NY Daily News excerpt -

East New York is bracing for what could be the city's first Walmart, as the big box chain seriously eyes a site in the neighborhood.

The developer that owns a site Walmart has reportedly been considering cut off talks several months ago with several supermarket chains interested in the space, focusing instead on making a deal with the retail giant.

"Related basically threw the supermarkets under the bus and decided to put all its eggs in the Walmart basket," said a real estate source. "They felt comfortable that it would happen."

Walmart and developer Related Companies wouldn't confirm any plans for the Gateway II shopping center site near Jamaica Bay.

Read more:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Domenic's statement on the Shore Theater

From his blog -

The Landmarks Preservation Commission just approved landmark status for the Shore Theater in Coney Island. I want to thank them for making this important decision. The Shore Theater is a beacon to Coney Island’s past, and by protecting it, we protect the history of our iconic neighborhood.

The Shore Theater was constructed in 1925, and served as a live performance vaudeville venue and a movie house. While the building has been vacant since the 1970s, it remains an important fixture of the waterfront’s skyline. My dream is that, one day, live theater will flourish again in Coney Island. This designation brings us closer to that goal.

Shore Theater landmarked - Bullard puts it up for sale

Brooklyn Paper excerpt -

The seven-story, 85-year-old former vaudeville playhouse has been neglected for more than 40 years. Its owner, the Kansas Fried Chicken magnate Horace Bullard, opposed the landmark status because he said it would “hinder” his ability to convert the building for modern uses. He now says he will renovate the façade and try to sell it.

“There is no way that Coney Island can evolve as an amusement district when they keep landmarking buildings,” Bullard said on Tuesday. “They’re handicapping the entire area. But fine. We’ll have it up for sale, and if we can’t do that we’ll fix it up and put some offices inside and rent it out.”

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

$150 million upgrade for the Aquarium

Scheduled for completion in 2015

WSJ excerpt -

The New York Aquarium plans a $150 million face-lift that includes a shimmering aluminum exterior, a giant shark exhibit and access from the Coney Island boardwalk for the first time.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Marty courting Apple for the Municipal Building

NY1 excerpt -

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz says he's courting Apple to move in.

"I, of course, have a personal favorite, that I think would be perfect for this spot. Let me say this store would be the 'Apple' of my eye. And that's one of my most important jobs, bringing them here," Markowitz said.

Disney on Ice as well

Several of Feld Entertainment's live action productions to be staged at the Barclays Center include Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Disney On Ice, Disney Live!, Monster Jam, AMA Arenacross (AX), and Nuclear Cowboyz freestyle motocross. Overall, Feld Entertainment's productions will hold at least 48 total performances annually at the Barclays Center.

Ratner, Ringling Bros sign deal for Barclays Center

Brooklyn Paper excerpt -

The producers of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced on Friday that they had inked a deal to bring one of their productions to the under-construction Barclays Center in March, 2013, about six months after the arena is slated to open near the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues.

A spokesman for Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner said that the Ringling Bros. show would be the same “Greatest Show on Earth” mega-production that fills Madison Square Garden, a rival arena, though a spokesman for the circus was not 100 percent sure.

“We have three circuses on tour at the same time and they all have nine to 10 elephants,” said spokeswoman Nicole Quenqua of Feld Entertainment. “It’s not necessarily the same show as MSG.”

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The most pivotable time for Coney Island yet

Zamperla changing the boardwalk to year round and opening Scream Zone. The old buildings on the hotel zoned land on Surf coming down. The city beginning its 150 million infrastructure development.

What an unprecedented amount of change going on in Coney development right now.

NY Times - Goodbye to Old Coney Island

Excerpt -

In addition to the Shore, destruction is imminent for a number of other structures, as local preservationists have run out of options in court. Below are some sights that will soon be just memories.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Venezia Pizza to open in Sheepshead Bay

Right across from the UA Theater. has the pic

Municipal Building to turn into Retail space

From Marty's site -

On December 6, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz joined Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel, Deputy Mayor for Operations Stephen Goldsmith, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Joe Chan, Assembly Member Joan Millman, City Council Member Stephen Levin and other officials to announce a plan to transform part of the City-owned Brooklyn Municipal Building at 210 Joralemon Street into a vibrant retail use.

Repurposing the space for a retail opportunity has been a priority of BP Markowitz, who said, “The iconic and beautiful Municipal Building has the foot traffic and the perfect location to help fuel a renaissance along Court Street and add to our growing list of retail about to set up shop in Downtown Brooklyn, including H & M, Aéropostale, Filene’s/Syms and Shake Shack all coming to Fulton Mall, as well as Panera Bread and future retail opportunities at City Point and the area around the Barclays Center,” said BP Markowitz. “With all of us looking at ways to consolidate municipal space throughout the City, bringing exciting retail or other compatible uses to the Municipal Building and our vibrant, 24/7 live-work Downtown is an idea that is fortunately moving forward today with the announcement of this RFP.”

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Manhattan Beach/ Brighton Beach connected walkway?

Sheepshead Bites Blog posted this great WPIX story on the issue. I just emailed Marty concerning this. I used to walk this as a kid. It was awesome.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Are You Ready To Scream?

Coming in 2011!

NY Post - Zamperla Files Lawsuit

Excerpts -

The operators of Coney Island’s new Luna Park are freaking out over eight longtime boardwalk businesses’ refusal to be evicted — so much so that they’re now asking the courts for help in booting them.

Zamperla USA this week filed a lawsuit against Shoot the Freak, Ruby’s Bar and Grill and other businesses that they served with eviction papers Nov. 1 and told to leave by Nov. 19.

The suit demands that they vacate immediately — or pay $2,000-a-day in penalties.

But Anthony Berlingieri, owner of the "Shoot the Freak" attraction and the sandy "Beer Island" bar, told the Post yesterday "We’re not going anywhere. We did nothing wrong. We paid our rent on time, made Coney Island a success before Luna Park got here, and now we’re being thrown out like animals."

Zamperla contends in the suit filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court that the businesses’ refusal to vacate is causing the amusement giant financial hardship because it wants to move forward with massive renovations it plans for next season along the boardwalk and needs the space.

Zamperla wants to use the boardwalk space it’s leasing from the city to create a cleaner, more sanitized amusement district that includes a new sit-down restaurant and sports bar.

Zamperla’s lawyers did not return messages. Marc Aronson, a lawyer for the boardwalk businesses, declined comment, saying he had yet to see the suit.

Read more:

Google pays $1.8 Billion for Manhattan property owned by Taconic and others

You read that number correctly -$1.8 Billion. As we all know Taconic is a big investor in Coney Island residential and retail zoned property as well. I am guessing they won't have any trouble coming up with Coney development financing after this. LOL

NY Post excerpt -

The deal is the largest US commercial real estate purchase by a tenant ever -- and confirms an exclusive report in The Post on Oct. 27.

The marketing of massive 111 Eighth Ave. by investment maestro Douglas Harmon of Eastdil Secured attracted worldwide interest.

Harmon had been hired by Taconic Partners, Jamestown and New York State Common Retirement Fund with the idea that they would retain a piece of the building.

But Google made a compelling offer to buy all of the 3 million square footer that takes up a full block in Chelsea bounded by Eighth and Ninth avenues and 15th and 16th streets.

Read more:

Friday, December 3, 2010

Just back from the Aviators game

That NY times article really seemed to help attendance tonight. The arena was more crowded than opening night a few weeks ago. Aviators beat Danbury 8-6 and remain undefeated at home.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Steel erected at Barclays Center


(Brooklyn, NY) - November 23, 2010 -The erection of steel began today at the Barclays Center at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, Bruce Ratner, Chairman and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies, the developer of the arena, said today. The first components for vertical construction, including beams, girders and trusses, will be used for the main arena, facade support and the canopy.

"The installation of steel is always a major milestone for a construction project," said Mr. Ratner. "With the foundation work largely done, we are now poised to go vertical. Over the next several months, the Barclays Center will begin to take on the iconic shape that we believe will make the arena a worldwide destination and Brooklyn an international city."

"Progress on the Barclays Center spells great things for Brooklyn and its future," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. "This project will bring jobs, affordable housing and economic opportunity, as well as a triumphant return to major league sports for the greatest fans in the world—Brooklynites." Steel erection will begin between the Event and Main Concourse level and progress east in a clockwise direction. Most of the initial activity will be along Atlantic Avenue.

One hundred tons of steel arrived at the site last week. Approximately 10,500 tons of steel will be used for the Barclays Center. The structural steel is being fabricated by Banker Steel Company in Lynchburg, VA. Steel will be erected in the field by J.F. Stearns Company and Ironworkers Local 40 using Liebherr LR 1300 and 1350 crawler cranes.

The Barclays Center is on schedule to open in the summer of 2012.