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

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.”