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

Monday, January 31, 2011

NY Times on Nets arena

Excerpt -

“I think Brooklyn has been waiting for this, really, since the Dodgers left,” Ratner said.

The opposition that clogged the arena’s path would probably disagree. Ratner — a development partner of The New York Times in building its current headquarters — once doubted that the arena would be built when the economy collapsed, but regained optimism once the Yankees gained financing for their new stadium.

Brett Yormark, the Nets’ chief executive, said he expected no further delays.

“None whatsoever, and I don’t have my blinders on because I’m open to see any and all obstacles,” he said. “But we’re full speed ahead all the way.”

NY Post - Zamperla breaks ground on new coaster


Coney Island is ready for some wild rides.

The former roller coaster capitol of the world now only has the rickety landmark Cyclone, but it’s getting two new coasters in time for the summer season.

Zamperla USA, the operator of Luna Park, broke ground last week on the Soaring Eagle – the seaside amusement district’s first major roller coaster since the Cyclone went up in 1927. At that time, Coney Island had 10 coasters.

The Soaring Eagle will be a 66-foot-high ride that offers thrill-seekers strapped in a horizontal position the sensation of flight as they speed through a series of turns, drops and an upside-down inversion.

And later this month, Zamperla will start building the 65-foot-high Steeplechase Coaster, which will launch riders seated in horse-shaped cars modeled after those of Coney Island’s original Steeplechase ride on a twisting, turning race.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Video - Barclays Center Construction

From Bloomberg's State of the City Address

Excerpt -

We’ll see the transformation across the Narrows at Coney Island, once a sad shadow of yesteryear, and long written off by skeptics, but now drawing record crowds with new amusements and new excitement.

This year, we will break ground on Steeplechase Plaza, and we’ll open the new ‘Scream Zone’ a one-of-kind amusement area that will include a ‘Human Slingshot.’

Video of new coasters coming to Coney

Zamperla is taking over the Cyclone too

Monday, January 17, 2011

Walmart or Trader Joes coming to Four Sparrows?

Brooklyn Paper excerpt -

A new retail center is coming to the southern tip of Flatbush Avenue — and it could bring Walmart with it.

The city, with the help of Forest City Ratner Companies, says it wants to expand a shopping strip where a Toys ’R’ Us currently sits between Kings Plaza and the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge to accommodate up to three more stores, more parking and 15 acres of parkland. The new shopping center — dubbed the Four Sparrows Retail Center — would be just big enough to house a Walmart superstore, so critics of the Bentonville Behemoth where quick to question the plan.

“I don’t know what the idea is,” said Community Board 18 District Manager Dorothy Turano as she prepared to attend a scoping session on the proposed project on Tuesday night. “We still don’t know who’s coming to the site. We could wake up one morning and find a Walmart there. There’s too many variables.”

Two of those variables have already been determined: the toy store will remain, and Kristal Auto Mall, the city’s largest minority-owned car dealership, currently located at the corner of Kings Highway and Foster Avenue in Canarsie, is planning to move to the site.

The city presently has two options for the remainder of the site, conveniently located just off the Belt Parkway, which it has been trying to develop for 10 years.

One proposal calls for two additional buildings on the land — a one-story structure on the Flatbush Avenue side of the project the size of a football field and a two-story building on the side of the Mill Basin creek that would allow for multiple tenants and would be roughly the size of two football fields.

The second proposal calls for one building the size of three football fields — perfect for a Walmart.

In addition to the extra commerce, the city promises parking for 427 vehicles, as well as space for 27 bicycles. More than 60 trees will also be planted to beautify the spot.

Forest City Ratner Companies, which is currently building the controversial Barclay’s Center, the future home of the Brooklyn Nets, as well as a proposed 16-tower mini-city containing more than 6,600 units of housing will oversee the development of the project, which is expected to break ground in 2014.

“This area has not only some of the best demographics in the country, but is extremely under-retailed as well,” Andrew Silberfein, executive vice president and director of finance and retail development at Forest City Ratner, said in a statement.

The city’s Economic Development Corporation, the lead agency in the project, said the plans are still in its infancy and it was too early to know just who will be moving into the remaining buildings.

But Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Mill Basin), said he’s received assurances that Walmart will not be coming.

“There is not going to be enough shopping center for [a Walmart],” he said. “My conversations with the city led me to believe that they’re hoping for more upscale retail — like a Trader Joe’s — that would be an economic enhancement to the area.”

Monday, January 10, 2011

Domenic Recchia supports Zamperla

NY Post excerpt -

Democratic Councilman Domenic Recchia Jr. says he his throwing his support behind Zamperla, the Italy-based design and manufacturing firm tapped by the Bloomberg administration to open Luna Park and redevelop surrounding sites.

Those sites currently house Ruby's Bar and Grill, Shoot the Freak and other boardwalk mainstays.

"The stakes are too high to risk losing" the 360 new jobs, many of them full time, that Zamperla estimates it will bring next summer, Recchia said.

Recchia’s concern is the businesses’ legal challenge will continue holding up Zamperla’s $5 million plan to create a cleaner, more sanitized boardwalk featuring a swanky sit-down restaurant and sports bar.

The eight businesses employ scores of seasonal workers only.

“I understand the sentiment that these businesses have been here a long time, but they also made a lot of money paying cheap rent all these years,” Recchia said. “If they really cared, I know firsthand that they had plenty of chances to buy these properties and fix them up, but they never did.”

Saturday, January 8, 2011

15 Million visit Brooklyn

Daily News excerpts -

The city's tourism bonanza is giving Brooklyn a boost.

More out-of-towners came to the borough in 2010 than ever before - part of a 6.8 % citywide increase that drew 48.7 million visitors to the New Yor city after tourism took a big hit in 2009 from the recession.

Brooklyn attractions and cultural institutions drew 15 million visitors in 2010, according to estimates by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

Internationally, the biggest numbers tourists come from Western Europe, Japan, and increasingly China, Markowitz said.

"Just walking around the park, you can hear the different languages spoken," said Dennis Vourderis, owner of Deno's Wonder Wheel Park in Coney Island. "There are a lot more people coming in from Europe...They've never been to Coney Island before."

Visitors to his park jumped 17% last summer, during a banner year in which sunny skies and new attractions brought 14 million people to Coney Island. It was the amusement area's best season in 46 years.

The New York Aquarium drew 25,000 more visitors last year, jumping to 767,023, the highest among Brooklyn cultural institutions. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden also had an increase in 2010 - 10,000 visitors more than the previous year.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Polar Bear swim

We were there. At least 10,000 people. I never saw Coney this crowded on New Years Day.

Daily News excerpt -

Brrrrrrrrring on 2011! That's what 1,500 brave New Yorkers had to say as they dashed from the Coney Island Boardwalk into the icy Atlantic Saturday for the annual New Year's Day Polar Bear Swim.

Organizers said it was a record turnout. The sun was shining and the beach was snow-free, but the water was a knee-knocking 35 degrees.

"It was like 10,000 knives stabbing you at once!," said Tim Henshall, 50, an Army reservist from Blairston, N.J.

Just back from a repeat tour in Afghanistan, Henshall made his second New Year's plunge in only a teeny black Speedo and dogtags. "It's a great way to remind you you're alive," he said.

Thousands of supporters cheered from the shore as the chill-seekers jumped up and down in the surf, wearing bikinis, mermaid costumes and even scuba gear.

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