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

Sunday, December 23, 2012

3 Locals 1 National tenant in Thor building

Not so fast folks. The chains are still coming! Why wouldn't they? Coney is hot!

Brooklyn Paper excerpt -

Thor Equities owner Joe Sitt says he will lease three of the four retail spaces in his building opposite the train station to mom-and-pops, promising unique shopping opportunities days after big name chains Johnny Rockets, Applebee’s, and Red Mango rented spaces owned by a different landlord just steps away.

Sitt says the fourth space in his building on Surf Avenue between Stillwell Avenue and W. 12th Street will go to an undisclosed national tenant, but he says it’s crucial to offer space to independent business owners. 

And thank goodness for that.  Chains are not fly by night operations. They come to an area and stay. Finally Coney has it's shot at year round! Thank you Applebees, Johnny Rockets, Red Mango, and Toms and Grimaldi's too! All of these businesses have proven their year round success elsewhere. And now they believe in Coney! Chains mean year round jobs and economic growth for the neighborhood.

Here is to hoping for a Coney Outback Steakhouse or Red Lobster one day......Go Coney Year Round!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Go Nets! Go Brooklyn!

Opponents of Atlantic Yards Are Exhausted by a Long, Losing Battle



NY Daily News

A plan to replace the historic Coney Island boardwalk with fake wood can move forward, a Brooklyn judge has ruled.

Dismissing a legal challenge from environmental advocates, Supreme Court Justice Martin Solomon tossed a lawsuit challenging the plan, paving the way for construction.

"We are pleased the judge found that the Parks Department complied with the law, thus allowing this project to proceed," city lawyers said.

The first phase of reconstruction would replace a five-block portion of the boardwalk with concrete and recycled plastic. That could serve as a model to eventually rebuild the entire 42-block stretch, save for a small section near the Coney Island amusement area.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Recchia running for Borough President!

Great for Coney! Great for Brooklyn!

NY Daily News

The battle for Brooklyn borough president will be likely be decided by the borough's affluent Brownstone Belt, political pundits predict.

As expected, City Councilman Domenic Recchia (D-Coney Island) plans to announce his candidacy in early January, a source close to the pol said Tuesday.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

BJs Wholesale Club - Shore Parkway

On Monday, December 17, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz joined City Council Member Domenic Recchia, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Carlo Scissura, Thor Equities developer Joe Sitt and BJ’s Wholesale Club Regional Manager Dan Smith to break ground on a new BJ’s Wholesale Club on Shore Parkway in Gravesend. 

“Bravo to Joe Sitt and BJ’s on raising the bar for how businesses should be run,” said BP Markowitz. “By moving up the construction time table and creating 300 well-paying jobs, they are helping to drive the economic recovery in south Brooklyn—especially in nearby Coney Island—one of the areas hardest hit by the storm. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Hurricane Sandy may have battered our city, but as Brooklynites, we will rebuild, rebound and rejoice—and today’s groundbreaking is proof of that.”

Thor press release

BROOKLYN, N.Y., Dec. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an effort to help recruit local businesses to Coney Island, Thor Equities will slash rents at its parcels at the brand new building at Surf and Stillwell for the Summer of 2013 and fill the spaces primarily with Brooklyn-based merchants, Thor CEO Joe Sitt announced today.

"Coney Island's popularity has reached record proportions, but we can never forget what got us here – local, ahead-of-their-time business owners who brought flair, hipness and edge to the People's Playground," Sitt said. "While it is wonderful that national chains are now coming to Coney, providing needed jobs and year-round revenue to the community, we must always remember the history of this iconic neighborhood."

Thor will work with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to recruit Brooklyn-based businesses to the new building at 1232 Surf Avenue, all of which will complement national chains like Applebees, Johnny Rockets and Grimaldis that have signed leases for upcoming years. 

"We are thrilled to be partnering with Joe Sitt and Thor Equities in helping recruit local businesses to Coney Island," said Carlo A. Scissura, President & CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. "This program is especially important in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and will go a long way in making sure that Coney Island remains a vibrant neighborhood and tourist attraction as well as a place where small businesses can thrive and Brooklynites can get jobs."

Applebees and Johnny Rockets coming to Coney!


Newsday excerpt -

An Applebee's is planned in 12,000-square-foot space at 1217 Surf Ave. in May, said Zane Tankel, who owns dozens of franchises in that chain.

Johnny Rockets, the 1950s diner theme chain at 1223 Surf Ave., is planning in 2014 to open a $1.5 million, 6,000-square-foot restaurant next door, with an additional 2,000 square feet for expansion. The owner, Rahman Hashimi, is upbeat about Coney's future. "I might do another brand, as yet undecided, something related to a food and drink," he said.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Zamperla and the Parachute Jump lighting

Brooklyn Daily -

The company that brought Luna Park and the Scream Zone to Coney Island is close to penning a deal that will allow it to fulfull a longtime dream of Borough President Markowitz’s — stringing up the Parachute Jump with millions of lights so it could be seen from Mars, insiders say.

The city’s Economic Development Corporation, which will oversee the Parachute Jump’s bling-over that Markowitz has invested $2 million in taxpayer dollars towards, would not confirm that Central Amusements has won the bid to light up the landmarked spire, but Coney Island civic leaders say the company has been parading around a video of what the iconic ride would look like if they were given the contract.

“It looked like you really could see it from space,” said Mermaid Parade founder Dick Zigun, who said he viewed the video where the ride is re-illuminated complete with dancing, LED lights synchronized with the brilliant beams of the Scream Zone. “I was completely blown away by it.”
An insider at Central Amusements confirmed that a deal for the Parachute Jump is close to being struck, although no contracts have been finalized.

“We will be doing the lighting,” he said.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Portion of old Thunderbolt lot - RFP

Press Release

NYCEDC today announced the release of an RFP seeking the development and operation of amusement rides, game booths or other entertainment attractions at a vacant site located along W15th Street, between the boardwalk and Surf Avenue, in Coney Island. The site, which is approximately 45 feet wide by 860 feet long, is located in the heart of Coney Island’s amusement core and sits directly between the newly expanded Scream Zone and the under construction Steeplechase Plaza. NYCEDC anticipates leasing the site for a term of 10 years, although proposals may suggest other terms.

“The activation of the West 15th Street site will further expand the amusement core, and build on the ongoing revitalization taking place in Coney Island,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. “Located directly between the new Scream Zone and the future Steeplechase Plaza, this site will provide another destination for the record number of visitors we have seen coming back to Coney Island each season in recent years.”

“As former home to the famed Thunderbolt roller coaster, the West 15th Street site has had its ‘ups and downs’ over its storied history, but its redevelopment will mean even more places to see and more things to do at Coney Island—‘America’s Favorite Playground’ and the amusement destination that started it all,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “I challenge the respondents to this RFP to think ‘Coney character’ and ‘Brooklyn big’ and bring unforgettable, affordable fun to visitors of all ages and income as we lead Coney Island into its bright future.”

“The launch of this site will further propel Coney Island as New York’s premiere tourist destination,” said Councilman to Coney Island and Finance Chair Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. “The West 15th site is located right in the heart of one of the greatest redevelopments this City has experienced and I am looking forward to seeing another wonderful project established there.”

The activation of the W15th Street site would further expand the Coney Island’s amusement core, which has seen a major revitalization over the past three years with the opening of Scream Zone and Luna Park. The opening of these parks have helped draw record crowds back to Coney Island and were a key piece of the area-wide revitalization laid out in the City’s 2009 rezoning plan.

To obtain a copy of the RFP, please visit: Responses are due no later than October 23, 2012.

Scream Zone opened in 2011 with four cutting-edge thrill rides, and expanded this year with the addition of a go-cart track and the Boardwalk Flight. Luna Park opened in 2010 and features 19 traditional and state-of-the-art rides.

Last summer, 2011, was one of the most successful summer seasons on record for Coney Island, with over 640,000 visitors taking over 2 million rides at Luna Park and Scream Zone combined.

In 2009, the City purchased three parcels of land, totaling 6.9 acres, within the amusement district, and signed a 10-year lease with Central Amusements International to operate and build the new amusement parks on the property. The City has invested more than $6.6 million to support the opening of Luna Park and Scream Zone. In addition, CAI has invested nearly $30 million toward the construction of the two parks.
Over the past year the City has also seen significant progress on a number of key components of the Coney Island Revitalization Plan, including groundbreakings for Steeplechase Plaza, and for Coney Island Commons. Steeplechase Plaza, a 2.2-acre public open space, will serve as the western entryway to the revitalized amusement district and will be home to the restored B&B Carousell, Coney Island’s last remaining historic carousel. Coney Island Commons will include 195 units of affordable housing and a new state-of-the-art 40,000 square foot YMCA.

The City’s Coney Island Revitalization Plan will preserve and grow the historic amusement area; create a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood with new retail options and nearly 5,000 new units of housing, including 900 income-targeted units; and generate more than 25,000 construction jobs and 6,000 permanent jobs. As part of the plan, the City is investing more than $150 million toward infrastructure improvements in Coney Island, including upgrading infrastructure and rebuilding large sections of the Boardwalk. Last year, New York City Economic Development Corporation in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Protection, completed an Amended Drainage Plan to guide upgrades to subsurface infrastructure throughout the entire rezoning area, the first phase of which will break ground by the end of the year. In total, the plan is expected to generate more than $14 billion in economic activity for New York City over 30 years.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Coney Development

NY 1 excerpt -

The former Child's Restaurant is not only a part of Coney Island history, it's also a city landmark. The once-grand building had its heyday back in the 1920s. It's been vacant for a long time but sources tell NY1 the city is in talks to turn the Spanish Colonial Revival structure into an entertainment complex.

"I think it would be incredible if the Child's building was re-opened as an entertainment venue," says Coney Island historian and author Charles Denson. "It's one of the gems of Coney Island. The arches in front have the most beautiful terracotta. It's all nautical themed."

Sources say its centerpiece will be a new concert venue. Borough President Marty Markowitz has long dreamed of building an amphitheater to hold his annual outdoor summer concert series by the sea. Sources tell NY1 Markowitz has raised about $50 million for an enclosed concert facility but that money will now be used for this project. 

Sources say the lot west of the building will also be developed as part of the complex. NY1 has also learned that the historic B&B carousel, which will be housed in this newly created pavilion, has a new operator. Sources say the city chose Zamperla, which already runs the Cyclone, Luna Park and Scream Zone. 

Over on Surf and Stillwell Avenues, sources tell NY1 a Wet Willies Daquiri Bar franchise deal is in the works. It would be the first in the city for the Georgia-based frozen drink chain. 

And across Surf, a contractor says he's building space for two restaurants. Hooters reportedly has an interest in the site after finding opposition in other parts of the borough. That news is drawing mixed reaction.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Coney Casino

Sheldon Silver Open To NYC Casino At Coney Island Or Willet's Point

Here is the lead item from my "Albany Insider" column today:
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver hasn’t played his hand on where he’d like to see a casino in the city, but he is open to Coney Island or Willets Point, the Daily News has learned.

While talks won’t heat up for several months, Silver favors a location that is either already a “destination resort area” in the city, or could become one, a source close to the speaker said. Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens is also a place he would consider, the source said.

Some insiders want a casino to be part of a redevelopment of the Jacob Javits Convention Center on the West Side. But Silver remains adamant about keeping gambling dens out of Manhattan and other densely populated parts of the city, the source said.

The speaker has not shut the door on Coney Island, which is being promoted by many influential types in Brooklyn — including Borough President Marty Markowitz — as a way to bring more people to the historic seaside destination, which has its famed amusement park and now a minor league baseball stadium.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Zigun wants eminent domain used on Shore Theater

Brookyn Paper excerpt -

The city should use its power of eminent domain to seize the Shore Theater from its disgraceful owner — who has sat on the property for nearly two decades without doing anything to it — and turn it into the palace it once was, the unofficial mayor of Coney Island decreed on Thursday.
Coney Island USA founder Dick Zigun said Horace Bullard has allowed the building where Jerry Lewis once performed to crumble, and doesn’t deserve the choice property at Surf and Stillwell avenues.

“Whether it’s through the Landmarks Commission or eminent domain, this must be done by any means necessary,” Zigun said during annual State of Coney Island Address. “The Shore Theater must be occupied.”

The self-proclaimed leader of the People’s Playground says Bullard is letting his building crumble because he’s still angry over two spats he had with the city more than 15 years ago, when the Giuliani administration prevented the property holder from recreating Steeplechase Park on city land that’s now home to MCU Park and demolished Bullard’s Thunderbolt roller coaster — a move a federal court later declared illegal. Bullard also fought Zigun’s efforts to have the building landmarked in 2010.

“There are no more excuses for Horace Bullard,” Zigun said. “The Shore Theater is a disgrace of a landmark.”

Sunday, July 8, 2012

My goodness how things have changed......

"Coney Island belongs in the same breath as Atlantic City and Las Vegas," Mr. Zigun said. "We're not there yet, but I can see a pathway to it."

LOL! There goes the honkytonk and grit argument! What happened to Save Coney? LOL!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Marty's Coney Casino editorial in the Daily News

Excerpt -

Be Our Guest: Coney Island offers beaches, amusements, Boardwalk, concessions; a casino would be a good fit

When the 2013 class of the New York State Legislature takes office in January, one of the many potential agenda items in the session will be whether to give the required second legislative approval of a bill authorizing up to seven non-Indian casinos in the state.

If that happens, a public referendum would have to be placed on the November ballot and approved by voters. There is a long way to go in the process and even recent polls show New Yorkers fluctuating on their support for casinos this early in the game. But it’s not too soon to consider ideal locations for one or more casinos in New York City, and Coney Island — a.k.a “America‘s Playground” — fits the bill in every way imaginable.

The most successful urban casinos are those that are part of a broader entertainment experience, and Coney Island provides it all: world-class beaches, thrilling rides and amusements, a historic Boardwalk, the New York Aquarium, concessions, professional baseball and summer concerts. The area is well served by four subway lines and seven bus routes, providing gamblers with a host of transportation options, including tour buses which can handle a large number of patrons in a single vehicle.

Coney Island has some of the highest unemployment rates in New York City, and a casino would provide well-paying jobs to local residents who should certainly be given hiring priority as part of any agreement.
And then there are the ancillary economic benefits from casino patrons who would stroll the Boardwalk and frequent local businesses.

Let me be clear: this would not be another Atlantic City. Any casino — or casinos — would be incorporated as part of Coney Island’s already existing ambience, and would complement — not detract from — the character and characters that have made Coney Island unique. The addition of a casino would serve as a catalyst for further economic development and solidify Coney Island as the city’s premier year-round amusement and seaside entertainment destination. When you really get down to it, where else but Coney Island?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Marty in preliminary talks on Coney Casino!

NY Daily News excerpt -

After Queens casino deal falls apart, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz renews push for gambling in Coney Island 

Beep says he's had preliminary talks with Cuomo administration officials

It could be time to roll the dice on Coney Island.

After the collapse of talks with gaming giant Genting to create a casino and convention center in Queens, Borough President Marty Markowitz is stepping up his bid to get a casino at the seaside amusement mecca.

“It would be a tremendous thing for the future of Coney Island, and it’s the right place to put it,” said Markowitz, adding he’s had preliminary conversations with Cuomo administration officials.
A constitutional amendment to legalize gambling in the state passed the legislature once, but still has to pass again and then be approved by the voters. Seven casinos would be authorized around the state, and their locations would be set after the amendment was finalized.
Gov. Cuomo had been in talks with Genting, which currently runs the racino at Aqueduct, to build a $4 billion complex with the nation’s largest convention center and a casino resort. The company wanted exclusive rights to run a casino in the city.

But Cuomo said Friday that those talks had broken down for now.

“I don’t want to start talking about or...making commitments about where a casino may be or may not be,” Cuomo said this week, adding consideration would not be limited to the sites of current racinos. “It should be an open competition.”

The Queens proposal had drawn skepticism from critics who thought the location was too far flung.
Backers say a Coney casino would be a better bet because there are already other attractions that make the area a destination.

“There’s a whole host of reasons to make it a hub as opposed to one stand alone casino that’s the only action in town, and that’s what Coney Island has over all these other locations,” said Markowitz,.

Read more:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Checkers Coming to Coney!

Brooklyn Daily excerpt -

National burger chain will take on local eateries

A national fast-food chain wants to get the jump on Brooklyn homegrown eateries coming to Coney Island — where it will spark a neighborhood burger war and take a stab at a hot dog giant that made the People’s Playground famous.

Checkers — the Florida-based company that serves Big Buford and Baconzilla burgers, as well as three varieties of hot dogs — says it will open an eatery on Surf Avenue in a bid to wrestle business from the growing number of restaurants coming to Coney Island as well as Nathan’s Famous, which opened on the Boardwalk in 1916 and will be expanding on the historic walkway this year.
But mom-and-pop restaurateurs say they plan to make chop meat out of the corporate patty purveyor.

“I’ll put my hamburger up against anybody,” said Jimmy Kokotas, the owner of the legendary Prospect Heights diner Tom’s Restaurant, who’s opening a Boardwalk outpost that will serve up $5 flame-broiled burgers made from fresh ground beef.

Nathan’s Famous fans shrugged off news that Checkers will be coming to the amusement district as well.
“Checkers may be on Nathan’s turf but their hot dogs won’t be able to compete with Nathan’s,” said George Shea, who runs the Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest each year. “The Nathan’s hot dog is a touchstone to what it is to be an American and certainly a Brooklynite.” 

Many predict that Coney’s faithful won’t cozy up Checkers, which is known for its bright red logo and sells grilled burgers made from frozen beef patties that cost between $1 and $5.

“It’s hard to compete with someone who uses frozen food,” said Zito’s Sandwich Shoppe co-owner Marcello Bucca, who’s bringing a gourmet hoagie hub to a former carny game booth on Jones Walk near Bowery Street. “I think people will see that and come to us instead.”

But the burger chain’s new location at the foot of the Stillwell Avenue subway station — which is a stone’s throw from the beach, Nathan’s, Luna Park, and the Scream Zone — could make it a popular destination with visitors to the historic amusement district.

Checkers spokeswoman Jennifer Durham said the empty storefront it scooped up will make for an ideal fast-food restaurant.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The opening of the New Coney

NY1 excerpt-

Businesses here are also busy trying to finish up their improvements for the holiday weekend. Some are boardwalk staples like Ruby's which was offered a long-term lease to stay with the condition it would get a makeover. Others are first time boardwalk spots like the Brooklyn Beach Shop.

"It's surreal," said Maya Haddad, the owner of the Brooklyn Beach Shop. "I was standing inside before with the new doors open and sometimes I just stop and look outside. It's amazing."

Although new to the boardwalk, the family-owned store has been selling merchandise in Coney Island for more than a decade. 

"We're used to the neighborhood," Haddad said. "We know what people are asking for. We've been listening. We've been taking note. And we definitely stepped it up."

Attendance at Coney Island over the past couple of years has stepped up, too, with the most visitors in decades.

Scream Zone's newest addition opens to the public Saturday morning at 11 a.m.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Brooklyn Paper - Guide to the New Coney Island

Excerpt -

Everything you need to know about Coney Island this summer

Coney Island seemed fixed in time for decades, but now it’s in the middle of an amusing renaissance — and it definitely deserves another look this summer.

Central Amusements International, the company the city tapped to remake the People’s Playground into a glitzy, year-round tourist destination, expanded the Scream Zone amusement park and is bringing several new stores and restaurants to the Boardwalk after closing several old-school shops that lost a legal battle to keep their spaces.

Boardwalk icons Ruby’s Bar and Paul’s Daughter were allowed back, but the historic amusement district now boasts a new go-kart track, a new ride with sweeping views of the beach, and a trio of Brownstone Brooklyn eateries set to open later this summer

You can keep track of all these changes with our handy guide to the new Coney Island:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pro Wrestling returns to MCU Park


The Superstars of TNA Impact Wrestling as seen on Spike (Thursday 8 p.m. ET) are invading Brooklyn, NY. TNA Impact Wrestling’s BaseBrawl will hit MCU Park on Coney Island, Saturday, July 21 starting at 7:30 p.m. for an unforgettable night of action. Fans of all ages are sure to hit a Grand Slam with TNA Impact Wrestling’s BaseBrawl.

TNA Impact Wrestling’s BaseBrawl is a family-oriented wrestling event complete with your favorite TNA Superstars and all the hot summer action you can handle.

Joe Sitt featured speaker June 4th

Brooklyn Eagle excerpt -

 Joe Sitt to speak at NYC Retail Summit June 4

MANHATTAN — Brooklyn developer Joseph Sitt, CEO of Thor Equities, which manages many retail properties, will be a featured speaker at the Second Annual NYC Retail Summit on Monday, June 4, at the New York City Bar Association.
Produced by Bisnow, the event will feature a panel of experts taking an in-depth look at the city’s retail real estate industry and where it stands today.


The goal continues for Coney -

NY Post -

Ruby’s was one of the few longtime boardwalk businesses to survive last year’s purge by local landlord Zamperla USA in its attempt to create a more upscale amusement district.

In order to gain a new, eight-year lease, the beloved dive bar had to agree to a major face-lift that included fixing its infamously code-violation-laden bathrooms – which now have “boardwalk ceilings” -- and adding air conditioning and even a heating system, so it can remain open in the winter and show games during football season.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Jimmy Kimmel Live comes to Brooklyn

Press Release

ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! to broadcast shows from Brooklyn and to feature Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets

May 14, 2012

Brooklyn, NY—Jimmy Kimmel Live! will broadcast its show from the host's birthplace of Brooklyn from October 29 – November 2, which is timed to coincide with the start of the inaugural season of the Brooklyn Nets. 

ABC announced today that Jimmy Kimmel Live! will originate from the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), the historic performing arts center which has been the cultural epicenter of Brooklyn since 1861. BAM is located two blocks from Barclays Center, which will open on September 28 and be the home of the Brooklyn Nets. Barclays Center will host more than 220 sports and entertainment events a year and together with BAM will create one of the most vibrant and unique culture districts in the U.S. 

As part of the week of shows, Jimmy Kimmel Live! will feature Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Nets, and the borough of Brooklyn, along with special guests, segments, and music acts. 

"It'll be great to have Jimmy back in his native Brooklyn," said Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark. "It will be an exciting week for the show and for the Brooklyn Nets, as major professional sports returns to Brooklyn for the first time since 1957. Jimmy's appearance is significant for the borough and will continue to make the Brooklyn Nets a national story."

Kimmel will be the latest Brooklynite to be part of the historic launch of Barclays Center. JAY Z will open the venue with a concert on September 28 and Barbra Streisand will perform in concert on October 11.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thor has leased space to Cha Cha's and Steve's Grill House

after they were evicted by Zamperla. Maybe the preservationists should start a website called "Thor Saves Coney Island". : )

Cha Cha's going Year Round

Sopranos Star Opens Pizzeria and Amusement Park Complex on Coney Island

(Press Release)  Brooklyn, NY, May 16, 2012-Long time Coney Island personality John “Cha Cha” Ciarcia , who many know from his role on The Sopranos and as  co-host of The Wiseguys Show on Sirius Radio, is back just in time for the kick-off of the summer season, with several different businesses and amusement park lots, after being unceremoniously “booted” off the boardwalk last year in the very public rent/lease dispute with the giant Zamperla USA Corporation, which also affected several other longtime Coney Island business owners.

Cha Cha’s Coney Island Seafood Bar & Pizzeria, at 1315 Surf Avenue (across from Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs) will have a full menu serving brick oven pizza, various seafood dishes, linguini and clam sauce, mussels, Coney Island crab cakes, clams, oysters and shrimp at the raw bar and will feature live music several nights a week, as well as special events. The new space also has an adjoining take-out cafe right next door, serving the brick oven pizza and various gelatos, frozen custard, frozen yogurt and Italian ices. Ciarcia will keep Cha Cha’s Coney Island Seafood Bar & Pizzeria open year round after this summer season.

Ciarcia and actor friend Tony Danza will preside over the official launch ceremony on Thursday, May 24th at noon to announce the official grand opening the world debut of new amusement park ride The MegaWhirl, which was just developed and is the only one of its kind in the world, Cha Cha’s Steeplechase – The Fun Place Amusement Park, Cha Cha’s Kiddie Park and Cha Cha’s Side Show Park, along with Cha Cha’s outdoor Club Atlantis Bar, all located along Stillwell Ave. between Surf Avenue and the boardwalk.

The official Grand Opening Party for Cha Cha’s Coney Island Seafood Bar & Pizzeria will take place on Saturday, May 19th from 7 p.m. with special guest host The Sopranos star, Vincent Pastore and a live performance by Killer Joe and the Mighty Lido Soul Quartet.

Memorial Day Weekend will feature Bobby Valli and the Jersey Boys Revue, doing a “Tribute to The Jersey Boys”, on Saturday, May 26th and Sunday, May 27th, with three shows a night at 8 p.m., 10 p.m. and midnight. There is a $10 cover charge and a two-drink minimum, or $25 per person for dinner.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Video interview - Grimaldi's Coney Island

 From Reporting New York

Nate Bliss Talks Year Round Coney

Reporting NY excerpt

Making Coney Island a destination again especially beyond the summer months is a goal of developers.

“We are trying to make the area a year round attraction,” said Nathan Bliss of the Coney Island Development Council. “The old Beer Garden will become a ’higher end’ restaurant but emphasizing that it won’t be high end per se.” He also noted that many restaurants are being developed along the boardwalk and in theSteeplechase Plaza around the former parachute jump.

Residents, visitors and employees of local businesses express a common interest in the dining of Coney Island, or lack thereof.

“There is no restaurant scene here. I pack my lunch every day because anything aside from a deli sandwich or a Chinese food platter is too far to order, “ said pharmacy owner Arie Bolshem. “You can only eat that for so long. What is here is mediocre at best. The Chinese place next door (former Oriental Palace) closed because of continuous robbery. The owner’s son had been beaten for the end of the day cash deposit.” His employees agree.

Michelle Palkin, resident of Luna Park building complex on West 8th Street, said it’s about time someone stepped up and made something of the waterfront.

“I would like for there to be some real seafood restaurants. I’ve lived in this are for so long and the only thing I’ve tried is Nathan’s, on which note, I hate fast food,” Palkin said. “That’s all that comes to mind, hot dogs, cotton candy, soft-serve ice cream, pizza and 3-foot-long piƱa coladas. I’m not interested.”

Their hopes are closer to reality than they think. Dining development is not really being publicized that much but it is definitely on its way. If you walk down the boardwalk or Surf and Mermaid Avenues it is clear to see the changes. The construction workers are open about the fact that they are working on properties set to mostly be restaurants and some retail.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Brooklyn Paper - The Changing Face of Coney Island

 Excerpt -

Call it “Coney Heights.”

The Downtownification of the People’s Playground is well underway — and Brownstone Brooklyn businesses are leading the charge.

Popular Park Slope eatery Zito’s Sandwich Shoppe will open a gourmet hoagie hub on Jones Walk near Luna Park, becoming the latest in a growing list of Downtown restaurants replacing game booths and Boardwalk bars that embraced Coney Island’s honky-tonk charm for decades.
Zito’s co-owner Marcello Bucca said he decided to invest in Coney Island after Tom’s Restaurant in Prospect Heights and Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in DUMBO snapped up properties in the amusement area — which the city wants to transform into an upscale, year-round tourist destination.

“The fact that Grimaldi’s and Tom’s are making big money moves proves that it’s the beginning of a renaissance in Coney Island,” said Bucca, a Bensonhurst native. “New people are coming in. We’re banking that the area’s changing.”

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Jones Walk Press Release

As I posted here last month, Zamperla won the RFP. Great EDC Press release here. Looks like the space may have year round elements -

NYCEDC and CAI Announce Plans for New Amusements and Attractions on Jones Walk

Press Release

New York City Economic Development Corporation and Central Amusement International (CAI) today announced plans for new amusements and attractions on Jones Walk in the Coney Island amusement district. The new amusements will include a “Laser Maze Challenge” and “Pop Noggins” with eight other attractions still to be determined. CAI has begun renovating the spaces and is aiming to have them open around Memorial Day. CAI was selected to further activate and improve Jones Walk based on their response to an RFP issued by NYCEDC last November.

“As a gateway to the famous Bowery and amusement parks, Jones Walk has been a key part of Coney Island’s iconic amusement district for generations,” said NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky. “With these critical improvements, the reactivated Jones Walk will soon bring new street life to the area, including state-of-the-art games, shops, and amusements, and will provide yet another important example of Coney Island’s continued revitalization.”

“We are proud to continue taking part in efforts aimed at revitalizing Coney Island, and Jones Walk is another step in the right direction,” said Valerio Ferrari, President of Central Amusement International. “With new and updated shops, restaurants and games, Jones Walk will offer more exciting amusements and attractions for everyone.”

“The rebirth of Coney Island continues with the addition of ten new attractions along Jones Walk that will have visitors ‘jonesin’ for more! Luna Park, the Scream Zone and our world-famous Cyclone will pack ’em in again this year, but amusements like Laser Maze Challenge and Pop Noggins are more my speed—lots of fun with my feet firmly planted on the ground, boardwalk and sand. Bravo to the EDC and president Seth Pinsky, and Valerio Ferrari and CAI for ensuring that ‘America’s Playground’ remains a year-round, affordable entertainment destination for families from New York City and beyond,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

“Refreshed and revived with ten new attractions, the Coney Island amusement district will continue to flourish as New York’s number one entertainment destination. By working in concert with new restaurants, shops, and games, these ten attractions will provide a rich and diversified experience for visitors from all over and ensure local jobs and new opportunities to the 50,000 people who call it home,” said Councilman and Finance Chair, Domenic M. Recchia, Jr.

The Laser Maze Challenge will be a fully interactive game for guests of all ages, where players start by entering an empty room. Once they cross the starting point, the laser maze pops into life and the room is filled with brilliant green lasers. The object of the game is to move over and under lasers as quickly as possible in order to reach the end of the maze. At the end, players can wave their hand in front of the Mission Complete Eye, which completes the challenge and determines their score. From an outside monitor, guests can watch as their family and friends conquer the maze.

Pop Noggins will be an interactive attraction utilizing green-screen technology to create hilarious experiences and unique keepsakes for guests. Pop Noggins allows guests to make their own music video live on set, as on-lookers get to watch. Each participant's head is superimposed onto professional dancing bodies the animated videos are displayed live on giant flat screen monitors. The fun is extended when each participant gets their very own DVD or usb of their performance to take home and share with family and friends.

There will also be a direct entrance to the new Jones Walk amusements from Luna Park located near the exit of the Tickler.

Last summer was one of the most successful summer seasons on record for Coney Island with over 640,000 visitors taking over 2 million rides at Luna Park and Scream Zone. It marked the second season for Luna Park, which features 19 traditional and state-of-the-art rides, and the inaugural season of Scream Zone, which features four cutting-edge thrill rides. This summer the amusement park will continue to expand with the addition of nearly two acres of new amusements to Scream Zone including a 24-cart Go-Kart track and a 110-foot free-fall ride called the Boardwalk Flyer.

In 2009, the City purchased three parcels of land, totaling 6.9 acres, within the amusement district, and signed a 10-year lease with CAI to operate and build the new amusement parks on the property. The City has invested more than $6.6 million to support the opening of Luna Park and Scream Zone. In addition, CAI has invested nearly $30 million toward the construction of the two parks over the last two years.

The City has also seen significant progress on a number of key components of the Coney Island Revitalization Plan this past year, including the groundbreaking for of Steeplechase Plaza, and the groundbreaking on Coney Island Commons. Steeplechase Plaza, a 2.2-acre public open space, will serve as the western entryway to the revitalized amusement district and be home to the restored B&B Carousell, Coney Island’s last remaining historic carousel. Coney Island Commons will include 195 units of affordable housing and a new state-of-the-art 40,000 square foot YMCA.

The City’s Coney Island Revitalization Plan, will preserve and grow the historic amusement area; create a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood with new retail options and nearly 5,000 new units of housing, including 900 income-targeted units; and generate more than 25,000 construction jobs and 6,000 permanent jobs. As part of the plan, the City is investing more than $150 million toward infrastructure improvements in Coney Island, including upgrading infrastructure and rebuilding large sections of the Boardwalk. Last year, New York City Economic Development Corporation in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Protection, completed an Amended Drainage Plan to guide upgrades to subsurface infrastructure throughout the entire rezoning area, the first phase of which is currently in design and is expected to break ground by the end of 2012. In total, the plan is expected to generate more than $14 billion in economic activity for New York City over 30 years.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Thor talks Grimaldis and movie theater

NY1 excerpt -

The flea markets are out and carnival rides are in on these Stillwell Avenue lots owned by developer Joe Sitt.

"We've got a great operator who's coming now on this section so that both sides of Stillwell Avenue from Bowery to the ocean will be fully fueled with entertainment, rides and food and fun," Sitt said.

That operator is BK Festival, the same group that brought the flea markets here last year and over to Aqueduct before that. Rides are now being set up and are expected to be up and running this Sunday.

"I think there'll be enough new activities, new excitement, new rides, new entertainment, that I think everybody's going to be very excited," said Sitt.

But Sitt emphasized this is only a temporary plan for his property. He hopes to line Coney Island with hotels and restaurants once the the city puts the infrastructure in place.

The building Sitt erected on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues is also a temporary space. Sitt's company, Thor Equities, just started to show the lease property for retail and indoor entertainment uses but there's still more work to be done. The building will not be ready until next season.

Along Surf Avenue, there are more "For Lease" signs.

As NY1 first reported, Grimaldi's Pizza is opening up on Surf Avenue across from the amusement district. It will have seating for about 60 people, include two party rooms and should be open by Memorial Day weekend.

"We were actually the ones to bring Grimaldi's here for the first time. We really see ourselves as the ambassadors for Coney Island," said Sitt.

The developer also sees a movie theater on his Stillwell lot behind Nathan's. Sources say renderings have already been submitted to the city.

"That's one of the other things we hope to get permission to get to do over here is to put a stadium seating theater here," said Sitt.

Monday, April 2, 2012

NY Post - Ruby's Year round

Excerpt -

At Ruby’s, a beloved, 77-year-old beachfront bar that last year fought off eviction proceedings, workers are gutting the interior and rebuilding from scratch, even adding air conditioning and heat so it can remain open year round.

Ruby’s, the boutique Lola Staar and Paul’s Daughter, a 40-year-old food and frozen-custard stand, modernized to avoid eviction.

New arrivals include Tom’s Restaurant, an offshoot of a storied Prospect Heights diner known for its egg creams.

Then there’s Nathan’s Famous. The old stalwart is moving into a much larger space and even opening a gift stand.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Auntie Anne's Pretzels opening on the Boardwalk

NY1 excerpt -

On the boardwalk, Nathan's of Coney Island has expanded by tripling its size. It has its first gift shop and has added an Auntie Anne's pretzel chain.

New cafe coming to the aquarium

NY Daily News excerpt -

“We’re breaking down the wall that now encloses the aquarium and opening us not only to the Boardwalk, but to the beach and the ocean,” explains aquarium director Jon Forrest Dohlin.

The 55,000-square-foot, three-story space will open to the public in spring 2015. It boasts a roof-deck overlooking the ocean, and a cafe, seating wall and sculptures on the iconic Boardwalk below.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Zamperla/CAI won the Jones Walk RFP

Found that out at the CIDC meeting. I hope they end up entering and winning the Steeplechase Plaza Carousel Pavalion RFP as well. Tom's has plans to stay open through December on the boardwalk this year. They will eventually have rooftop dining as well. Grimaldi's should be coming sometime this summer to Surf and it looks to be open during the winter as well. Ruby's is going to put in a heating system with future plans to go year round as well.

And Sky Coaster will send people "flying" over the Boardwalk. Wow!

New Coney Entrance

NY Post excerpt -

The new, 75-foot-wide entrance will be filled with many plantings, bike racks and seating.

It will be covered in a smooth blue pavement comprised of a heat-resistant material made from recycled glass and cement.

Kyle Sklerov, a spokesman for the city’s Economic Development Corp., said the plan would create a “more welcoming experience” for visitors while “improving pedestrian access to all of Coney Island’s amusements, as well the [New York] Aquarium and the boardwalk.”

The bridge, which many community groups consider an eyesore, would have cost millions of dollars to replace and is too costly to maintain, he said.

The city expects to raze the bridge in November after this summer’s amusement season.

The new entrance would then be completed by summer 2014, but beachgoers in the interim would still be able to reach the amusement district's boardwalk via local side streets or walking to the 125-foot-wide Stillwell Avenue gateway.

The project is being paid for with $8 million in city funds and $3 million in federal funds secured by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

Friday, March 23, 2012

CIDC Board of Directors Meeting

MARCH 27, 2012

A meeting of the Members and a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Coney Island Development Corporation will be held on Tuesday, March 27, 2012, at Education Hall at the New York Aquarium, Surf Avenue and West 8th Street, Brooklyn, New York 11224. The meeting of the Members will begin at approximately 6:00 p.m. with a presentation regarding the Coney Island Ferry Feasibility Study and will be followed by the meeting of the Board of Directors at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Brooklyn Daily on Coney Casinos


Casino lovers: Build a Boardwalk Empire on Coney Island

“A casino would bring jobs and development,” said resident Ralph Sternblitz. “It’s a good idea.”

And Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny (D–Coney Island), who voted for the gambling bill, said the amusement area would benefit from a casino.

“Coney Island could be a great candidate,” he said. “If residents really want it I’ll push for it as an economic development piece.”

Borough President Markowitz is also a big fan of bringing casinos to Coney Island — and floated a plan to turn Coney into a gambler’s paradise back in January.

“If serious discussions begin on bringing a casino to New York City, Coney Island is a natural and should be part of any proposals on the table,” Markowitz said last week.

Thor is still buying in Coney!!!

Amusing the Zillion has the Eldorado sale story here

Now my analysis on this transaction. You look at the properties Thor has assembled on Surf Avenue - Henderson lot, Eldorado, former Bank Building land, Grashorn building and you see a pattern. 2 plots zoned for hotels and 2 zoned for amusement/retail/restaurant. He also has more Stillwell land zoned for entertainment retail. Couldn't these all be packaged into one big sale, after infrastructure is complete, to perhaps a big Casino hotel and restaurant chain?

Here is to hoping this turns into a year round blockbuster hotel/entertainment complex one day! Love it! Would turn Coney into some winter destination as well. Right along the lines of the CIDC mission statement.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Big Year Round News - Grimaldi's!!!

NY1 -

Grimaldi's Pizzeria, one of the city's most popular pizza places, is opening up a second Brooklyn location at Coney Island.

The restaurant, known for its long lines in DUMBO near the Brooklyn Bridge, is now building a new eatery on Surf Avenue across from the entrance to Luna Park.

It has been ranked as the best pizza in New York by Zagat and is expected to help Coney Island's development into a year-round destination.

Video here -

Monday, March 12, 2012

Boardwalk makeover approved

NY Daily News -

The city got the nod Monday for its controversial plan to give the Coney Island Boardwalk a concrete and fake wood makeover.

The Design Commission voted to approve rebuilding the chunk of the Boardwalk from Brighton 15th St. to Coney Island Ave. with a strip of concrete down the middle and plastic lumber on either side.

The $7.4 million project could be used as a model for eventually rebuilding the rest of the iconic 42-block stretch, except for a small area in the Coney Island amusement district.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Boardwalk decision meeting

WSJ excerpt -

A plan to replace Coney Island's rickety wooden boardwalk with plastic and concrete gets a final hearing Monday, in a debate that's divided the community over the summer getaway's changing image.

The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation wants to replace a section of the current wooden boardwalk with concrete and a recycled plastic wooden look-alike, which it says will be significantly cheaper to maintain and last longer than wood. But opponents say that a boardwalk made of concrete will be charmless and impractical.

The Public Design Commission of the City of New York, which oversees, among other things, landscape architecture on city-owned projects, will meet to discuss the proposal on Monday. Its approval is the last step needed to move forward with the new boardwalk.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Zamperla signs 15 year Cyclone deal

Looks to include on-site food concessions as well -

NY Post -

The city deal with Zamperla will net taxpayers roughly $3.5 million over 15 years, and includes options to expand operations with on-site food concessions and other amusements, officials said.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Coney YMCA

NY1 excerpt -

"This Y is not only going to bring in jobs, it's going to be an economic engine," said City Councilman Domenic Recchia.

The Y will also include 196 rental units, most of them for low and middle income families.

Georganna Deas of the Astella Development Corporation, which has been working in the Coney Island community for years, says the Y will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

"The community of Coney Island was struggling to get this center built for years, and I just want to say, 'Is it here yet?'" said Deas.

Many residents who spoke with NY1 were also excited about the new Y's completion.

"We need it, these kids don't have nothing, like they go to school, come, what they get into, see what's happening out here," said one Coney Island resident.

"I like it because I want to do aerobics, so I'm waiting for the fitness," said another.

The new Coney Island Y is expected to be complete by Fall 2013. Another new Y in the Rockaways is scheduled to open in the spring of 2013.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Club Atlantis coming to Coney Boardwalk

NY Post excerpt -

Ferrari also said a new beach bar, called Club Atlantis, would be coming to the boardwalk this summer next to the coaster, and offer beer, wine and dancing. It would replace the Grill House, which is relocating nearby, and former Beer Island.

Ferrari, who is seeking a liquor license for the new bar, said it would be fenced away from the amusements so young children and drinkers couldn't mingle with each other.

The board’s economic development committee voted to recommend the city award the license.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Islanders to play Devils in BROOKLYN in a preseason game

NY Times Excerpt -

Islanders to Play Devils in Preseason Game at New Arena in Brooklyn

Perhaps hinting that they are seriously considering alternatives to Nassau County, the Islanders will be the home team in the first N.H.L. game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The Islanders and Brett Yormark, chief executive of Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment and the Nets, announced Tuesday that the Isles would play the Devils in an Oct. 2 exhibition at the new Brooklyn Nets basketball arena.

The announcement serves as another shot across the bow of Nassau County politicians and voters, who have rejected every effort by Islanders owner Charles Wang to upgrade or replace Nassau Coliseum, the club’s 40-year-old home. Although the 16,250-seat Coliseum is one of the N.H.L.’s best buildings for sightlines and intimacy, it is virtually inaccessible by public transit and has few of the money-spinning corporate luxury enticements that provide revenue at other arenas.

When asked last September if the Islanders would move to the Brooklyn arena when the club’s Coliseum lease expires in 2015, Bruce Ratner, the developer behind the Barclays Center. said, “I would hope that’s possible.”

Marty pushing hard for a casino in Coney!

Brooklyn Paper excerpt -

“We’re pushing hard for a casino on Coney Island,” he told luncheon attendees. “It would help Coney Island in so many ways.”

Yet the Beep denied some claims that putting a casino in Coney Island would destroy the People’s Playground.

“I’m not planning to make Coney Island into Atlantic City,” he said, recognizing that the “Las Vegas of the East” has problems with crime and poverty.

Governor Cuomo proposed legalizing table gambling in his State of the State address, saying that the Queens Aqueduct racino should be expanded to include the world’s largest convention center, as well as a casino.

But as far as Markowitz is concerned, Coney Island’s amusement area is “a natural” place for a casino — and if Queens is getting one, so should Brooklyn.

“I want to be sure that [Cuomo] knows that a casino should not just be in his home borough,” he said. “If there is going to be a casino in Queens, then there should be one in Brooklyn.”

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thanks to Nate

Home Reporter excerpt -

"It's going to be a new experience at the boardwalk...and we're very excited about it," Bliss said. He points to the recent wave of development as proof that his organization is getting closer to accomplishing their goal of a 365-days-a-year Coney Island. "Anyone who says we can't go year round -- we're getting there," Bliss said.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Barclays Center Roof Celebration


Forest City Ratner Companies, Hunt Construction Group, Inc., Banker Steel, J.F. Stearns Company, Onexim Sports & Entertainment, and NETS Basketball celebrated the topping out of Barclays Center in a ceremony today at the arena site in Brooklyn.

The event marked the significant milestone of the completion of the 10,400 pounds of structural steel for Barclays Center, the major sports and entertainment venue opening at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues in September 2012. Erection of steel commenced in November 2010.

Forest City Ratner Chairman and CEO Bruce Ratner, the arena developer, visited Barclays Center today and congratulated the more than 500 workers on their momentous achievement.

"From Day One, I said I want to develop great things that create jobs, and that's what we're doing by building this spectacular arena," said Mr. Ratner. "In just eight months we will open Barclays Center and bring many exciting events here, where your hard work will be appreciated by millions of people for years to come. I can't thank you enough for your dedication. And, most importantly, it's all union, union, union as we continue to build important projects for the city and the state."

"Hunt Construction wants to thank Forest City Ratner Companies and NETS Basketball for the opportunity to participate on this landmark project," said H. Mark Gladden, Project Executive for Hunt Construction Group, Inc. "We also congratulate our partners Banker Steel, J.F. Stearns Company and Ironworkers Local 361 in topping out the Barclays Center steel framing. We look forward to the grand opening and ribbon cutting this fall!"

The NETS thanked the workers by providing 1,000 tickets to upcoming weekend games, and Hunt Construction provided the workers with celebratory Barclays Center Topping Out long-sleeve t-shirts.

Nets move corporate offices to Metrotech


Wednesday, January 4, 2011

BROOKLYN – NETS Basketball has taken another major step toward its move to Brooklyn by signing a long-term lease for office space at 15 MetroTech Center to serve as the team's corporate headquarters.

The 35,145-square-foot workplace occupying the entire 11th floor of the 19-story building will be the home office for 150 employees on the business side of NETS Basketball and Barclays Center. It is expected that the staff will begin its relocation process from its current offices in East Rutherford, NJ next month. Serving as a convenient location for arena and team staff, MetroTech, developed by Forest City Ratner Companies, is just one stop to Barclays Center on several subway lines or an approximate 15-minute walk.

"Bravo to NETS Basketball for another great step in its move to Brooklyn," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. "Having the corporate offices of Brooklyn's first professional sports team since 1957 downtown will be a 'net positive' for the neighborhood. And what better place to house those offices than MetroTech Center – the office complex that helped kick start the revitalization of our borough – making it a "slam-dunk" to bring the NETS to Brooklyn."

"MetroTech is a terrific environment in the heart of Brooklyn's business district and a convenient location for our corporate headquarters," said NETS and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark. "We look forward to being part of the continued renaissance of downtown Brooklyn."

Bruce Mosler, Chairman of Global Brokerage at Cushman & Wakefield, represented the NETS in the transaction.

The NETS basketball team will begin playing in the world-class Barclays Center, being developed by Forest City Ratner Companies, in the start of the 2012-13 NBA season.

Located atop one of the largest transportation hubs in New York City, Barclays Center will be accessible by nine subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road.

Randazzo's to open 2nd location in Sheepshead Bay

Bay News Excerpts -

New Randazzo’s ‘hoagie hub’ coming to Sheepshead Bay

Get ready for a sub shop smack down!

Randazzo’s Clam Bar is opening a small sandwich shop a mollusk’s toss away from its Emmons Avenue eatery — a move that will pit the famed Sheepshead Bay seafood restaurant against Jimmy’s Famous Heroes, a Sheepshead Bay Road staple, and other popular neighborhood delis.

Starting this month, the new Randazzo’s Sandwich Shop will hawk breakfast fare, hot Italian heroes, and hot meals like baked ziti, on Sheepshead Bay Road between E. 15th and E. 16th streets.

But don’t expect to find Randazzo’s signature seafood dishes there. Joey Randazzo, whose family has owned the clam bar since the 1930s, said his informal hoagie hub will focus on slinging sandwiches for hungry commuters using the bustling Sheepshead Bay Road train station.

“There’s a lot of people coming and going [along Sheepshead Bay Road],” he said. “We think it’s a great location.”

Randazzo decided to expand in Sheepshead Bay after he lost a bid to open a new food spot on the Coney Island Boardwalk. Central Amusements International, the company charged with turning the Boardwalk into a glitzy, year-round resort town, ultimately gave the coveted spot to Tom’s Restaurant in Prospect Heights.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Recchia is for Coney Casinos with a caveat

Politicker NY excerpt -

Though the councilman is worried about the effect a casino could have, he thinks Coney Island could be a good location for gaming as long as the plan includes gambling addiction programs.

“It’s up to the governor to make a determination, but we already have certain parcels of land that are zoned for hotels, so we are ready to go,” Councilman Recchia said. “But if we do this, we have to have funding in place for programs to help people that get addicted to gambling so they dont go bankrupt.”

Councilman Recchia also wants to make sure any plan to build a Coney Island casino brings jobs into the area.

“A lot of times, they build these casinos and they bring in people from the West Coast, from all over. “We want jobs, jobs, jobs. Yes, we want jobs but those jobs have to stay in Brooklyn and especially Coney Island,” Councilman Recchia said.

Savino is for Coney Island Casinos!

Politicker Ny excerpt -

“I’m sort of amused, because first the Post did a piece on it and the Advance had a piece yesterday and it was very odd to me that they interviewed Marty, and Dominic and Alec– and I’m the senator. Nobody called me and I’m the senator for Coney Island,” Senator Savino said.

In his State of the State address last week, Governor Cuomo discussed his desire to pass a constitutional amendment lifting the state ban on casino gambling. Though most of the discussion of the potential for a New York casino has focused on the Aqueduct racetrack site, Mr. Markowitz has floated the idea of having a casino in Coney Island. Senator Savino said “the big question” remains whether the ban will be lifted, but if commercial gambling does come to New York, she thinks Coney Island has great potential.

“I’m sure part of the conversation between now and the passage of the amendment is about where these casinos going to be located. Is Coney Island a good place for it? I think there’s tremendous opportunity for a casino in Coney Island because it’s already zoned for recreation in some spots,” Senator Savino said.

Senator Savino also cited the recent redevelopment in the area that will allow for “hotels and destination retail.”

“The groundwork is already laid,” she said.

Though Senator Savino thinks a Coney Island casino has potential, she wants to make sure the people in the community want gaming in their neighborhood.

“I would sit down with the borough president in Brooklyn and the Community Board. All the people who live there, they expect that Coney Island is going to be a huge development. They’re already anticipating the retail and hotels, but we have to see how they feel about a casino.”

Ultimately, even if the residents of Coney Island clamor for a casino, Senator Savino expects the gaming companies will make the final call about casino locations.

“In the end, the people who determine where to build casinos will be the industry. They’re going to do a market analysis, Senator Savino said. “The state isn’t running or operating the casinos.”

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Coney has zoning for 4 hotels on Surf Avenue

There is a lot of internet chatter that somehow residential zoning would have to be changed in Coney North and West in order to accommodate Casino hotels in Coney. Nothing could be further from the truth. Coney is already zoned for 4 hotels in Coney East, right on Surf Avenue, as pictured here

The issue is getting casino gambling legalized in NY (which the Governor has proposed) and getting Coney to be part of the plan for casinos in NY along with Aqueduct (which Marty has proposed in his latest public statements).

Video - Eddie Mark talks Coney Casino

Eddie is the Chairman of the Community Board. A lot of this video is in Chinese so I don't understand it but Eddie's and others comments are in English starting at the 36 second mark.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Aqueduct casino a huge success already

NY 1 excerpt -

The money is flowing at the new Aqueduct racetrack casino in Queens.

The racino brought in close to $90 million in revenue in November and December -- more than five other gambling operations in New York made all last year.

Video here

Marty, Zamperla and Zigun pro Coney Casinos

Metro excerpts

"If serious discussions begin on bringing a casino to New York City, certainly Coney Island is a natural location and should be part of the mix when considering possible sites," Markowitz said yesterday.

Boardwalk businesses back casino idea

Valerio Ferrari, president of Central Amusement International, the company that owns Coney Island’s Luna Park and Scream Zone, said that a casino would be a welcome addition to the boardwalk.

"A casino certainly has the potential to bring new visitors, jobs and economic opportunity, and is worth assessing further," Ferrari said.

Dick Zigun, the self-proclaimed “Mayor of Coney Island” and founder of the Coney Island Circus Sideshow is all in too.

"We had gambling here from 1860-1910— everything from three-card monte to race tracks and heavyweight championship boxing," Zigun said. "I am for Coney casinos.”

Marty and Ziggy want Coney Casinos

Brooklyn Paper excerpt -

Let’s roll! Marty wants casinos on Coney Island

Wonder Wheel, meet the roulette wheel.

Borough President Markowitz wants to see casinos on Coney Island if Gov. Cuomo makes good on his plan to legalize table gaming in the state.

“Casino gambling ... would bring jobs and revenue to potential locations in New York City, especially Coney Island, which is a natural,” Markowitz said in a release.

In the latest lofty vision for a revitalized Coney Island, gambling would help draw visitors to an area that the city hopes to turn into a glitzy, year-round recreation destination boasting amusements, restaurants, arcades and hotels.

“It could be the savior for Coney Island as a major destination,” said the neighborhood’s unofficial mayor Dick Zigun, who runs Sideshows by the Seashore.

Zigun hopes casinos will one day do business on a swath of land currently slated for residential use, which had been largely set aside for amusements before the Bloomberg administration controversially rezoned the neighborhood in 2009.

“I’d like to rezone the rezoning — to take that from condos and turn it into casinos,” Zigun said.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Marty Press Release


“I commend Governor Cuomo for his outstanding first year as governor and for outlining during today’s State of the State Address his vision to deal with the critical issues facing all New Yorkers—including job creation, fiscal discipline, economic development, fixing our crumbling infrastructure, long overdue campaign finance reform and protecting tenants’ rights—as well as his support for a constitutional amendment allowing casino gambling, which would bring jobs and revenue to potential locations in New York City, especially Coney Island, which is a natural. And I say bravo to the proposed convention center in Queens—even if it can’t be in Brooklyn, it’s about time. During his first year in office, we have seen the Governor work with both sides of the aisle to bring order to Albany, oversee an on-time, balanced budget, pass a property tax cap and—beyond anyone’s expectations—make marriage equality a reality in our state. I am confident that under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the best days of New York State are yet to come, and I look forward to working with him, the legislature and our local elected officials in—as the Governor put it—‘building a new New York.’”