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

Monday, December 30, 2013

NY1 video - Community Garden destroyed, Amphitheater construction to begin

Marty talks Brooklyn development

Brooklyn Paper excerpt -

During his tenure, Borough President Markowitz has achieved many of his visions for the Borough of Kings — not least bringing the Nets, Ikea, and a succession of cruise ships to Brooklyn. But the Beep’s ambitions for the borough were as big as his personality, so inevitably some dreams must be deferred.

Many of the projects he championed have been completed during his term, but others — such as the Loews Kings Theater renovation that got under way this year — will not be finished until Markowitz’s successor has taken the throne.

“While I am proud of what I have accomplished as Borough President, there are several projects that I will not get to see completed under my tenure,” said Markowitz. “I will be the Borough President Emeritus when this ‘wonder theater’ reopens its doors for the first time in this millennia.”
His vision for a Coney Island amphitheater in the Childs building is also on its way with the near-unanimous blessing of the Council in its last vote of the year. The initiative made its first concrete progress early on Saturday morning, when backhoes cleared out a community garden in the venue’s footprint.

Other pet projects remain on the drawing board, but Markowitz remains optimistic that he will one day see their completion. But for all his tireless cheerleading, Markowitz will admit that even his best efforts could not always yield the desired results. 

“There are several projects that were simply beyond my control,” he said.
Markowitz has long dreamed of returning Brooklyn to its industrial roots, and hoped to lure high-tech electronic manufacturers to the working-class neighborhoods of Brownsville and East New York. But alas, that task will be left to his successors.

“We cannot give up on bringing manufacturing back,” said Markowitz. “Our communities want to work, and we must provide them with good-paying jobs. I am disappointed that I was unable to accomplish this, but I have high hopes that the next administration will.”

Markowitz’s other dreams include a casino in Coney Island and bringing the world’s sport — professional soccer — to the borough that is a crossroads of the world.

“What better place than Brooklyn for a soccer stadium and a team to call it home?” Markowitz said.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The New Yorker - A Whole Foods Grows In Brooklyn


On Tuesday in Gowanus, an industrial neighborhood that is still somewhat affordable to artists and middle-class workers, Whole Foods Market opened its first store in Brooklyn. A rooftop greenhouse grows produce for the store, and indoor fruit displays are constructed out of wood salvaged from the Coney Island boardwalk. The in-store bar, which features sixteen microbrews on tap, will host a monthly “drink and draw” event in conjunction with a local nonprofit called Arts Gowanus. And the store stocks over two hundred products from bakers and food makers from the borough, including a cage-free, Sriracha-spiced mayonnaise and chocolate-peppermint almond milk.

Slate - Bill De Blasio Supports Real Estate Development—As He Should

Excerpt -

For some, however, Mr. de Blasio's support for new high-rise towers—even with more affordable housing—is dissonant with his campaign's theme of easing income inequality. As a City Council member in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, Mr. de Blasio was a strong supporter of the three major Bloomberg-backed development projects, including the project known as Atlantic Yards, which critics say has hastened gentrification and helped deepen the economic divide in that area.

You can start to get into very complicated neighborhood-level discussions of amenities and spillovers and the difference between gentrification and displacement and all the rest, but I really think it's important to start at the simplest level. If you have a city whose geographical boundaries aren't expanding, and that city is located in a country whose population is growing, and that city is also a global destination in a world whose population is growing, and if quality of life in that city is improving in terms of safer streets and better transportation and schools, then there are really only two things that can happen. One thing that can happen is that the quantity of physical structures inside the boundaries of that city can increase, in order to accommodate the increasing number of people who would like to live there. The other is that the fixed pool of physical structures inside the boundaries of that city can all get bought up by the richest people around. 

There's no other way around it.

De Blasio's goal - Build 200,000 units of affordable housing

Brooklyn Eagle excerpt -

Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio on Monday appointed Alicia Glen as his new Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development. Glen is currently head of the Urban Investment Group at Goldman Sachs, which provides capital to underserved urban communities.

In addition, de Blasio named Laura Santucci, currently the Executive Director of his Transition, to serve as his Chief of Staff.

De Blasio said in a release that Glen will lead his administration’s efforts to “invest in emerging industries across the five boroughs, re-target unsuccessful corporate subsidies, build a new generation of affordable housing, and help New Yorkers secure good-paying jobs that can support a family.”

In announcing Glen, de Blasio reiterated his commitment to pass stronger living wage requirements tied to city subsidies and said he would use “strategic investments to foster economic growth across the five boroughs.”

De Blasio strongly backed the plan to create a new Film, Post-Production and Animation School at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which includes a $6.7 million investment by the city. While the development of a Graduate School of Cinema in partnership with Brooklyn College at the Navy Yard is already in the works, de Blasio supports an expansion of the CUNY school to include a wider range of degrees at the associate and bachelor’s level. This school currently aims to enroll up to 400 students. 

He also said he would launch economic development hubs in at least a dozen immigrant and low-income neighborhoods. 

De Blasio also charged Glen with coordinating his administration’s efforts to build and maintain 200,000 units of affordable housing, and turn around the troubled Housing Authority.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Marty on the Amphitheater

Brooklyn Eagle excerpt -

“The Seaside Park and Community Arts Center will add even more energy and excitement to one of our nation’s top destinations for family amusement and entertainment, which will increase local tourism and stimulate our economy,” the borough president said. “The city’s first covered seasonal amphitheater will create hundreds of quality jobs; the developer has committed to prioritizing local residents both for construction jobs and when the amphitheater is up and running."

The development of the area will have long-term positive effects on Coney Island, he predicted.

“This project will catalyze residential and commercial development and keep our city’s attention focused intently on the needed infrastructure improvements that residents of Coney Island’s West End have been seeking for years,” Markowitz said. “By adaptively reusing the Childs building, which has been closed to the public since the 1940’s, we can breathe new life into this under-utilized section of the Riegelmann Boardwalk. By building a lush neighborhood park, we can jumpstart the Coney Island Plan and deliver on the city’s promise of building green spaces."

To pave the way for the project, the council passed resolutions that included the creation of a special zoning district, the acquisition of land between West 21st and West 22nd streets, and the elimination of the street between West 22nd Street and West 23rd Street, the Bensonhurst Bean reported.

In his statement, Markowitz thanked several city officials, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilman Domenic Recchia (D-Coney Island). He also thanked Community Board 13 leaders, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert Steel, City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden Economic Development Corporation (EDC) President Emeritus Seth Pinsky, current EDC President Kyle Kimball and his former chief of staff Carlo Scissura, now president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

Scissura called the council’s action “yet another step in the transformation of Coney Island.”

The amphitheater “will make Coney Island New York City’s top destination for family entertainment -- and not just in the summer, but all year around,” Scissura wrote in an email to the Brooklyn Eagle.

“It will help grow the local economy, create jobs and increase the number of visitors to Brooklyn from all over the country and the world,” he wrote.

In a nod to his former boss, Scissura wrote that he thrilled “that a project near and dear to Borough President Marty Markowitz will be realized in the next two years.”

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Coney will have 4 anchors lined up in a row

From east to west -

1. NY Aquarium
2. Luna Park
3. MCU Park -8000 seats
4. Seaside Park Amphitheater -5000 seats

It is quite an impressive lineup by the beach. What a destination to build around. Restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, retail, condos. With 4 subway lines and the Belt Parkway right there it is an ideal setup for year round development.

The Alliance is correct. This amphitheater will be transformative for Coney Island.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Alliance for Coney Island Press Release


CONEY ISLAND, December 20, 2013 – The Alliance for Coney Island releases a statement on the newly approved amphitheater for Coney Island – Seaside Park Community Arts Center.

“The Alliance for Coney Island would like to thank Borough President Marty Markowitz for the wonderful parting gift he has bestowed to Coney Island, our very own amphitheater,” said Dennis Vourderis, Alliance for Coney Island, Chairperson and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, Co-Owner. “The Seaside Park Community Arts Center promises to be a historic and transformative asset for Coney Island. The Alliance is grateful to iStar for their visionary efforts and investment in our neighborhood, and to Councilman Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. for his efforts in bringing this project to fruition.”

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Crains NY

Excerpts -

Rebirth of legendary Coney Island eatery likely

A plan for the renovation of the landmarked Childs Restaurant and creation of an amphitheater and public park get the thumbs up from a key City Council committee. Full council approval likely Thursday.

 “The improvements proposed in this project will undoubtedly restore this iconic structure’s use to the community, provide multiple cultural and educational benefits, and greatly contribute to the area’s ongoing cultural and economic revitalization,” Mr. Recchia said in a statement.

The amphitheater would be used for the free Seaside Summer Concert Series that was started by out-going Borough President Marty Markowitz, who also supports the project, as well as for paid concert events. In the off-season and between performances, it would be available for the community’s use. During the concert season, a removable cloth canopy would cover the area.
The proposal is also viewed as something that could stimulate more residential development in the area.


Land Use/Zoning committee just voted to approve the Amphitheater

I still don't know yet if there is a full council vote necessary. Perhaps tomorrow?? I will update.

Update - Full Council vote tomorrow.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Alliance for Coney Island Annual Report - Page 20

Looking Ahead

Summer of 2014 is going to be an exciting time, with several new attractions planned for the amusement district. The Thunderbolt Coaster will be built on the site of the historic Thunderbolt Roller Coaster. It will be a 125–foot–tall, state–of–the–art steel roller coaster capable of reaching speeds of 65mph.
Additionally, several new retail establishments are expected to open on Surf Avenue, including Johnny Rockets and Red Mango.

In 2015, the Seaside Park and Community Arts Center is slated to open and will include public open space, an amphitheater, and a restoration of the historic Childs Building.

In 2016, the New York Aquarium is scheduled to complete “Ocean Wonders:Sharks,” a $150 Million redevelopment project which will feature a 55,000 square-foot, three story space which includes a roof-deck overlooking the ocean, a cafĂ©, seating, and sculptures on the Boardwalk below.!annual-report/c2o

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Marty's still pushing for a casino in Coney

Bisnow excerpt from November 26th

Who loves Brooklyn? 350 of our attendees at the New York Marriott-Brooklyn Bridge. Here's what Marty would like to see for the borough: more healthcare, as it has the talent and incubator space; more manufacturing; outlet stores; a casino in Coney Island; a Google Store (Brooklyn's obviously too cool for Apple); and a pro soccer team, "which is the only true world sport," he says. (Brooklyn's made up of residents from 130 different countries.)

Only problem - A Coney casino is at least 7 years away -

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dunkin Donuts joins the Alliance for Coney Island

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Coney Island Job Fair!events/c12cx

NY1 Video - New Coney Island YMCA

 Marty and Domenic at the opening


Brooklyn Daily excerpt -

The Beep’s seaside amphitheater plan has taken its first big step forward.

A major public oversight board voted unanimously on Dec. 4 in favor of outgoing Borough President Markowitz’s controversial dream of turning the former Childs Restaurant in Coney Island into a venue to host his summer concerts series.

The City Planning Commission, a 13-member panel charged with approving major real estate projects, endorsed Borough President Markowitz’s pet project of converting the landmarked and derelict Childs building into a restaurant and arena complex — to the chagrin of residents who fear the Beep’s baby is bound to be unruly. 

Markowitz was overjoyed at the decision — and reiterated his argument that the project will benefit the neighborhood’s impoverished residential area by supplying jobs and necessary infrastructure improvements. 

“I’m thrilled about it — thrilled,” the Beep said. “And I’m confident that they did not vote for it for any reason other than the good it will do to that part of Coney Island and its residents.”

Markowitz said he would encourage iStar Financial, the company that will renovate and operate the building, to hire residents. But he refused to commit to supporting a community benefits agreement — and claimed that such an agreement could only come after the Council has voted in favor of the amphitheater.

“There’s no community benefits agreement until the project is approved,” said Markowitz, comparing the project’s opponents to the foes of the Atlantic Yards development. “No project has ever met with everyone cheering. Atlantic Yards has benefitted Brooklyn, and this will benefit Coney Island.”

The mayor appointed seven of the commission’s members, including the chairwoman, while the five borough presidents and the public advocate each appointed one. The Council will vote on whether to approve the project on Dec. 16.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

After the Planning Commission vote tomorrow

City Council is next

Daily News has the story

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s signature effort to convert the historic Childs Restaurant into a massive amphitheater is coming down to the wire — and it’s anyone’s guess whether the outgoing captain of Kings will complete his much-desired coup de grace.

The City Council is expected to hold a hearing on the complicated proposal to renovate the boardwalk building on Dec. 16.

City lawmakers will likely vote on it three days later, when the council holds its last full meeting of the session.

“I’m hopeful that the city council will approve it,” said Markowitz.

Tomorrow's a big day for Coney

City Planning Commission votes on the Amphitheater. I won't be a near a computer for a few days so I will post any news concerning this during the weekend. Go New Coney!