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Posts Tagged ‘Lindsay Wengler’

Gyro Corner/Clam Bar

Gyro Corner/Clam Bar, Coney Island. April 17, 2010. Photo © Lindsay Wengler

The packing up and moving out has begun for at least one of the Coney Island Boardwalk businesses. On Friday the owners of Gyro Corner Clam Bar removed their awning as well as the hand-painted signage to re-use at their second location at Bowery and West 12th Street. The good news is the popular sign featuring top-hatted clam waiters serving clams on the half shell will be back next season. Hey Joey!, the Dreamland Artist Club mural painted on the side of the building, is out of luck.

On Facebook, there were a flurry of comments– “noooooo,” “Already? WOW!!!” and “sad”– when news of the signage being taken down was posted by a friend. Some of the other stores are also starting to break down and throw stuff out while remaining open for business. Seven Mom & Pops must vacate the City-owned Boardwalk property by November 4, 2011. Unlike the other businesses Gyro’s owners have a second location in Coney Island, though it is much smaller than their Boardwalk restaurant. Last week we saw them pull off the signage from its facade.

Thanks to photographer Lindsay Wengler, whose photos documenting the Boardwalk storefronts and vernacular signage were mostly taken last fall, though her series “Coney Island in Flux” is an ongoing project. “Definitely was one of my favorites, ” says Lindsay of Gyro Corner’s facade. “When I heard the news about the boardwalk being threatened, I had to take a lot of photos of Gyro Corner and Paul’s Daughter so I could at least remember what they looked like.”

A farewell message to the businesses posted on her photoblog Single Linds Reflex last November 1st is just as relevant today: “The absence of these businesses will tremendously change the heart of Coney Island. I cannot imagine the boardwalk without the glorious, hand-painted signs and the distinct character each storefront provides.”

ATZ is saying goodbye to the “Coney Island 7″ Mom and Pops with a Photo (or Two) a Day from October 8 through November 4. Click the tag “Countdown to Corporatization” for links to all of the photos.

summer(night)time, Gyro Corner Clam Bar, Coney Island. June 19, 2010. Photo © Lindsay Wengler

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Related posts on ATZ…

October 20, 2011: Reversal of Fortune on the Coney Island Boardwalk

October 13, 2011: Photo of the Day: Coney Island Americana Looking for New Beach

October 10, 2011: Photo of the Day: Coney Island’s Famed “Hey Joey!” Doomed

November 1, 2010: Out With the Old in Coney Island: Only 2 of 11 Boardwalk Businesses Invited Back

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DNALSI YENOC is CONEY ISLAND spelled backwards. The letters frame the view as visitors exit Stillwell Terminal onto Surf Avenue. “After seeing two of my flickr contacts take amazing shots of this within a week, and having taken a photo of it myself, a flickr group was inevitable,” writes photographer Barry Yanowitz, who started the group almost a year ago. Contributors include Coney Island photographers Bruce Handy, Amy Dreher, Lindsay Wengler, agent j loves agent a, and me-myself-i.

In recent months, the favorite view of this flickr group has changed irrevocably due to Thor Equities demolition of the century-old Henderson Building and the Shore Hotel. As I commented on Lindsay Wengler’s latest photo in the pool: The emptiness where Henderson used to be is hard to look at, but I also dread whatever Thor will put there next.

Untitled from DNALSI YENOC Group on flickr. March 26, 2011. Photo © Lindsay Wengler/SingleLindsReflex

Buried in today’s NY1 interview with Joe Sitt about the Aqueduct flea market that he’s bringing to his lots on Stillwell Avenue was one sentence about his newest empty lot: “This week he will give the site a new start, laying in foundation for a one-story building to use as an indoor amusement and retail space next summer.” Next summer? What about now? No reason was given for the long delay in construction.

As we wrote last week in “Thor’s Coney Island: Building Plans ‘Disapproved’ by DOB” (March 31, 2011), Sitt has yet to break ground because the DOB “DISAPPROVED” the building plans as many as 16 times over the past six months. Sitt also says in the interview that his dream is to build a hotel, but it will take seven years to put in the electricity and the utilities and the infrastructure that’s needed. Sounds like another excuse by the real estate speculator to keep the lot empty. Zamperla managed to build the new Luna Park in just 100 days.

Enjoy the view, both present and past. Here is one of my favorites by photographer Amy Dreher. The Fascination sign, which greeted visitors year round for over 50 years went dark and will never be seen again, except in photos and videos.

Coney Island Snow from DNALSI YENOC flickr group. January 10, 2009. Photo © Amy Dreher/luluinnyc via flickr

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April 5, 2011: Thor’s Coney Island: Joe Sitt Scores Puff Piece in NY Times

March 3, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: What Stillwell Looked Like Before Joe Sitt

February 23, 2011: Double Exposure: Photographer Barry Yanowitz & Coney Island on BCAT TV

September 12, 2010: Video: Coney Island’s Faber’s Fascination by Charles Denson

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Demolition of Thor Equities-Owned Shore Hotel, Coney Island. December 10, 2010. Photo © Eric Kowalsky

Demolition of Thor Equities-Owned Shore Hotel, Coney Island. December 10, 2010. Photo © Eric Kowalsky

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.

View of Surf Avenue after the Demolition of the Shore Hotel. December 11, 2010.  Photo by Anonymouse

View of Surf Avenue after the Demolition of the Shore Hotel. December 11, 2010. Photo by Anonymouse

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.

Demolition Scaffolding at Thor-Owned Henderson Building. December 9, 2010. Photo © Lindsay Wengler/Single Linds Reflex via flickr

Demolition Scaffolding at Thor-Owned Henderson Building. December 9, 2010. Photo © Lindsay Wengler/Single Linds Reflex via flickr

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.

After the Demolition of the Bank Building, Coney Island. December 9, 2010. Photo © Lindsay Wengler/Single Linds Reflex via flickr

After the Demolition of the Bank Building, Coney Island. December 9, 2010. Photo © Lindsay Wengler/Single Linds Reflex via flickr

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Related posts on ATZ…

March 8, 2010: March 23: Rescuing Coney Island’s Shore Theater from 35 Years of Neglect

April 29, 2010: Photo of the Day: Interior of Coney Island’s Doomed Henderson Music Hall

October 9, 2009: A Rare Peek Inside Endangered Old Bank of Coney Island

July 7, 2009: Tall, Skinny & Destined to Kill Coney Island: High Rises on South Side of Surf

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Shore Hotel Demolition. December 9, 2010.  Photo © Lindsay Wengler/Single Linds Reflex via flickr

Shore Hotel Demolition. December 9, 2010. Photo © Lindsay Wengler/Single Linds Reflex via flickr

This week Thor Equities’ demo crew continued to wreak havoc on historic Surf Avenue. By Thursday afternoon, they had knocked off the top story of Coney Island’s approximately 107-year-old Shore Hotel. Photographer Lindsay Wengler also got some apocalyptic shots of the rubble that once was the Bank of Coney Island and a bulldozer poised to attack on Henderson Walk. War is hell. Oh wait, we mean Coney Island redevelopment is hell.

For photos and stories of the Shore Hotel in its glory days as well as its seedy days, see Vanishing New York’s post from August 2009. Thor’s ownership destroyed the building. As VNY wrote: “Plywood went into the windows in the summer of 2007, as Thor and the city aimed to blight Coney in preparation for its demolition. When the City’s Plan goes through, a massive high-rise will stand here.” The City’s rezoning of Coney Island, passed by the City Council in 2009, allows four high rise hotels of up to 27 stories along the south side of Surf Avenue.

In the other out-with-the-old in Coney news story of the week, this morning’s 10 a.m. court date for the eviction of the “Coney Island Eight” was adjourned till January 10, 2011.

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