Coney Island’s Shore Hotel was built circa 1903 and demolished by Thor Equities on December 10, 2010. It took only a couple of days for the demo men to take down the century-old wood frame building. There’s nothing left but a pile of sticks to be hauled away. Vanishing New York’s post from August 2009, which we linked to on Friday could serve as its epitaph.
In the post-demolition photo below taken on Saturday, Surf Avenue looks like a dowager with a tooth knocked out. Demolition is also underway at the Henderson Building, seen on the right hand side of the photo. The buildings on the left–the Eldorado Bumper Cars and the Popper Building–are NOT owned by Thor Equities and are NOT endangered.
Last week photographer Lindsay Wengler took this photo of workers putting demolition scaffolding to the top of the former Henderson Music Hall. The building, which is at the corner of Surf and Stillwell across from Nathan’s, is next on Thor’s hit list of historic properties. You can see more pix from the set on the photoblog Single Linds Reflex.
UPDATE… Why Weren’t These Buildings Saved?
We’ve received a few emails asking why these historic buildings were not saved. The short answer is these Thor-owned properties were rezoned for high-rise hotels by the City in July 2009. The long answer is the effort to save these buildings goes back to 2004, when Coney Island USA received a grant from the JM Kaplan Fund to “protect the legacy of old Coney Island” and nominated six buildings for landmark designation. But the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission dragged its feet and would not calendar any of the buildings until 2010, months after the lots had been rezoned. Of the nominated buildings, only two–the Childs Restaurant (owned by CIUSA) and the Shore Theater (owned by Horace Bullard)– are under consideration for landmark designation.
The Municipal Art Society had the Shore Hotel and the Henderson Building on their list of seven to save in Coney Island when MAS testified at a City Planning hearing on the rezoning in May 2009. Among the other structures identified by Coney Island USA, MAS and Save Coney Island were Nathan’s Famous, Childs Restaurant (CIUSA Building), the Grashorn Building, the Bank of Coney Island and the Shore Theater. “Under the NYC Landmarks Law, structures can be designated as landmarks for architectural, historical and cultural reasons,” said MAS’s Lisa Kersavage in her testimony. “Although some of these structures have been altered over the years, their ties to the legendary Coney Island of the past gives them a cultural significance that should be recognized and protected.” The City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission denied landmark designation and also declined to create a historic district, which would have created tax incentives to rehab the buildings.
Related posts on ATZ…
October 9, 2009: A Rare Peek Inside Endangered Old Bank of Coney Island