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Posts Tagged ‘Astella Development’

Friscia Pharmacy

Friscia Pharmacy, Mermaid Ave at W 15th St, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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“Mermaid Avenue that’s the street where the sun and storm clouds meet,” wrote Woody Guthrie in his 1950 song “Mermaid’s Avenue.” Four months after Superstorm Sandy devastated Coney Island, ATZ took a drive down the neighborhood’s shopping street to see how many stores had reopened. Our impression, seconded by people who live or work in the neighborhood, was about 70 per cent.

“A lot more places have opened up. It’s a credit to the Mom and Pops,” said Eric Levy, editor of Astella Action News. The local newspaper is published by Mermaid Avenue’s Astella Development. The not-for-profit community organization was one of several that lost everything and is currently sharing a trailer on West 17th Street with the Alliance for Coney Island, Coney Recovers, Project Hope and Brooklyn Community Services. Levy says they expect to move back to their rehabbed storefront at 1618 Mermaid Avenue next month.

7 N 7 Suprette

7 N 7 Suprette, Open 24 Hours, 3030 Mermaid Avenue, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The majority of the reopened stores are bodegas, drugstores, and small businesses like the local 7-Eleven lookalike in the photo above. Rebecca, whose family owns the pawn shop at Mermaid and West 21st Street, told ATZ that their store had a grand reopening party on December 15th. They brought in a pizza truck and gave out promotional items as well as raffle tickets for Nets games and cash cards.

It’s taking longer for some of the businesses that are part of the corporate world to rebuild after the storm. Among the stores that haven’t reopened yet are the MacDonald’s at 1403 Mermaid Avenue and 608 Neptune Avenue, which were still boarded up when we drove by. Cleanup efforts finally got underway over the past few days at the Mermaid Avenue restaurant. MacDonald’s Corporate Office did not respond to a request for comment. (A few days after this story was posted renovations started. In April they began hiring and expect to reopen in May.)

Citibank

Citibank, Mermaid Ave at W 30th St, Coney Island. February 22, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Citibank at 3002 Mermaid also remains closed. “Our temporary Citibank branch will open in July as we rebuild our previous location, which was severely damaged after Hurricane Sandy,” Catherine Pulley of Citi Public Affairs told ATZ. “Citibank is deeply committed to our customers and the community of Coney Island. We are working as quickly as possible to return to our previous location and reopen our doors.”

Chase’s branch on Mermaid at 17th Street is also closed due to storm damage, but the bank set up a mobile branch on December 6 and currently does business out of a trailer in their parking lot.

Coney Island Library

Coney Island Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. Mermaid Avenue at 17th St. February 22, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The post office, which was operating out of trailer until about a week ago, has reopened. But the saddest story on Mermaid Avenue has to be the shuttered Coney Island Library. When we drove by it looked even more abandoned than it did in December. Ruined books litter the boarded-up, fenced off entryway. Urban Librarians Unite’s mini-library box inviting one to “Take a Free Book” stands empty. The Brooklyn Public Library’s Bookmobile service is provided on Thursdays from 11am to 4pm in front of the library, but the children who used the computers must miss them. The branch of the Brooklyn Public Library is not expected to reopen until October at the earliest.

A few weeks after Sandy, the Daily News reported that five Brooklyn libraries wrecked by Sandy will require $10 million in repairs with the Coney Island location being one of the most seriously damaged. 35,177 books and DVDs were lost. You can make a contribution to rebuild the library on the Brooklyn Public Library’s website. Make sure to select “Additional Options – I would like to direct my donation to Coney Island.”

This set of photos was taken on Mermaid Avenue on February 22, 2013, and on December 5 and November 17, 2012. The most recent photos are first…

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February 27, 2013: Coney Island’s 24-Hour Dunkin Donuts to Reopen in March

November 24, 2012: Coney Island Post-Sandy: A Few Stores Reopen, Most Delayed by Damage

October 29, 2012: Photos of the Day: Hurricane Sandy Approaches Coney Island

June 21, 2012: Photo Album: Mermaid Avenue Murals and Public Art

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Gargiulo's Restaurant

Gargiulo’s Restaurant Will Host the Alliance for Coney Island’s Winter Celebration on December 13. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

On December 13, Coney Island’s newest nonprofit, the Alliance for Coney Island, is having its first fundraiser at the recently reopened Gargiulo’s Restaurant. Coney Island’s Winter Celebration will benefit Coney Recovers, an initiative launched in the days after Hurricane Sandy to organize volunteers and relief efforts. Tickets for Thursday’s benefit, which includes entertainment, cocktails and dinner are $100 via advance purchase and $120 at the door.

The Alliance’s board consists of owners of businesses in the amusement area including Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, the Brooklyn Cyclones, Nathan’s and Gargiulo’s, as well as the nonprofit New York Aquarium and Astella Development. Although the members of the Alliance suffered storm damage and most remain closed while they recover and rebuild, the priority of the new organization has been to aid neighborhood residents and businesses.

Astella Development

After Sandy: Astella Development on Mermaid Avenue, Coney Island. December 5, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Coney Recovers, which is a coalition of Astella Development Corporation, the Alliance for Coney Island, Coney Island Hospital, and the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island, recently received a $100,000 grant from the Brooklyn Foundation and $25,000 from Robin Hood’s relief fund. Their plan is to set up an office to organize rebuilding and immediate needs, create the “Coney Corps” to provide job opportunities and skills training for local residents to help in the rebuilding, and develop a long-term recovery plan for the community. The Alliance is a successor to the Coney Island Development Corporation and will take over the CIDC’s tourism marketing efforts for Coney Island.

Kiddie Whip Car

Amanda Deutch Cleaning Kiddie Whip Car at History Project After Hurricane Sandy. November 1, 2012. Photo © Charles Denson via Coney Island History Project.

Coney Island’s three nonprofit attractions–the New York Aquarium, Coney Island USA and the Coney Island History Project, were extensively damaged by flooding from Hurricane Sandy and have asked for donations via their websites. Their fundraising efforts have been decidedly low-key since many of their own personnel were flooded out of their homes and the focus of relief efforts has been residents without heat, electricity or basic services. If these nonprofits are to reopen as planned in the spring or summer, they will need to drum up more funds from supporters to recover and rebuild.

Coney Island USA

Patrick Wall Continues Clean-Up at Coney Island USA Sideshows by the Seashore. December 5, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

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Related posts on ATZ…

December 7, 2012: Photo Album: Signs of the Times in Post-Sandy Coney Island

November 24, 2012: Coney Island Post-Sandy: A Few Stores Reopen, Most Delayed by Damage

November 20, 2012: Coney Island Post-Sandy: Mini-Golf or Roller Rink to Replace Denny’s?

November 9, 2012: Update on Coney Island’s Amusement Area After Sandy

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Sand Sculpture

Sand Castle Contest, Coney Island. July 24, 2010. Photo © Bruce Handy/Coney Island Photo Diary via flickr

Coney Island’s 21st Annual Sand Sculpting Contest is tomorrow at noon. Somebody please do an artful champagne bottle and flute castle and win first prize! If you’re feeling creative, it’s not too late to register at the event, which is free of charge. Mounds of sand have been prepared for fifty sculptors.

According to the Parks Department, “In addition to amateur sand sculptors, a professional will wow spectators with an unbelievable ‘How did he do that?!’ creation in the sand, commissioned by the Aquarium.” The annual event is sponsored by Astella Development.

Thanks to Coney Island photographer Bruce Handy for his photo of this clever creature from last year’s contest.

The 21st Annual Sand Sculpting Contest and Unity Day, West 10th to West 12th Streets at the Beach, Saturday, August 6th, 12-5pm

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