About these ads
Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Save Coney Island’

On Thursday, September 30, CUNY Graduate Center and Save Coney Island are co-hosting “Heritage, Rides, Redevelopment: What’s Next for Coney Island?,” a discussion moderated by Pulitzer prize winning historian Mike Wallace. This is one panel discussion we’re actually looking forward to because the panelists are not academic talk, no-action kind of guys. They’re in it to win it, as we say on the midway.

Speakers include Valerio Ferrari, president and CEO of Zamperla USA and Central Amusement International (CAI), operator of Coney Island’s fabulously successful new Luna Park; David Malmuth, former Disney vice-president, developer of Times Square’s New Amsterdam Theatre, and chief presenter of the Municipal Art Society’s “Imagine Coney”; and Michael Immerso, historian and author of “Coney Island: the People’s Playground” and a recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal on the benefits of preserving Surf Avenue’s historic buildings.

Bank of Coney

Save Coney Island released this architectural rendering of how a restored Bank Of Coney Building might look as The Banker's Ballroom

Admission is free to the September 30th event, which is being held at CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan, but it’s advisable to make a reservation online. The invite reads: “What lies ahead for Coney Island? Join us for a panel discussion on the latest developments in Coney Island and on how Coney’s past can shape its future.”

We’re eager to hear what Valerio Ferrari has to say about his company’s plans for next season and beyond. Zamperla/CAI has a ten-year lease to operate amusements on the 6.9 acres the City bought for $95.6 million from Thor Equities. As we pointed out in our article for IAAPA Funworld, the new Luna Park is a partnership with the City of New York, which receives $100,000 annual rent plus an undisclosed percentage of the gross. This arrangement represents a successful new model for government-owned amusement parks, which are a rarity.

Yesterday, the Mayor’s Office released figures that more than 400,000 visitors took 1.7 million rides during Luna Park’s inaugural season, prompting the City and the park to extend the season through Halloween. We’re thrilled that Scream Zone, set to open next spring at the Boardwalk and Stillwell, will bring in more new rides, including two Zamperla coasters and a SlingShot as well as Go Karts, which have been missed in Coney since Thor evicted them.

Scream Zone

Zamperla/CAI's Scream Zone with 4 new rides will debut in 2011 at the City's Stillwell & Boardwalk property. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

It will be interesting to see where David Malmuth takes up the discussion. His plan for Coney Island’s amusement area at MAS’s Imagine Coney event in 2008 was a huge hit with fellow amusement advocates. Though we lost the battle with the City to expand the acreage rezoned for outdoor amusements, Malmuth is still the guy who dazzled us with statistics: “Park sizing analysis suggests that Coney Island will require a minimum of 25 acres to support 3.4 million visitors, ” he said. “It can’t be done in 9 acres. No possible way you can create the variety, and the diversity and joy and excitement with only 9 acres. Minimally you need 25 acres to support that level of attendance.” Malmuth’s stats and charts of park attendance can be found in this pdf available on MAS’s website.

At CUNY, Malmuth and historian Michael Immerso are expected to make a compelling economic case for preserving and reusing Coney Island’s historic buildings. Unfortunately the City has already issued demolition permits to Thor Equities for two of the buildings, the Bank of Coney Island and the Shore Hotel. The heartbreaker is that the permits were issued by the City’s Department of Buildings one day after the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) declared that Coney Island meets the criteria for recognition as a historic district in the State and National Registers of Historic Places. That’s why we’re singin’ “It’s Gonna Take A Miracle.”

But as Save Coney Island notes on their website: “It is a miracle that any of these buildings survived the fires, land speculation, and urban renewal plans that decimated Coney Island over the years. It would be a shame to lose these rare survivors, just when their rehabilitation could provide a necessary boost to Coney’s revival.”

Bank of Coney Island

Bank of Coney Island Building, Coney Island. August 2010. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

“What’s Next for Coney Island?” is sponsored by the Environmental Psychology Program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, the NYC Graduate Urban Research Network, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, Save Coney Island, the Historic Districts Council, Coney Island USA and the Coney Island History Project.

“Heritage, Rides, Redevelopment: What’s Next for Coney Island?”
CUNY Graduate Center, Proshansky Auditorium, 365 5th Ave at 35th St,
Thursday, September 30, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, free event, online registration.

Share

Related posts on ATZ…

May 29, 2010: Photo Album: Preview of Coney Island’s New Luna Park

April 21, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Tattered Tents, Deathwatch for Historic Buildings

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

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

About these ads

Read Full Post »

Last Night at Faber's Fascination

Last Night at Faber's Fascination. Henderson Building, Coney Island. Sept. 6, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

After more than 50 years, the fabulous lightbulb lettering on the front of Faber’s Fascination, an arcade that was one of Coney Island’s oldest year-round businesses, will no longer light up Surf Avenue. The arcade’s last day of business was Labor Day. On Tuesday, arcade machines were being hauled out and trucked away. The sign is the last vestige of Nat Faber’s arcade empire, which dates back to the 1930’s, though the Fabers got into the business in the early 20th century. The iconic marquee is on the front of the historic Henderson Building, owned by Thor Equities and currently being subjected to pre-demolition asbestos abatement. Faber’s was the last remaining tenant in the building.

Faber's Fascination. Photo © Mister Pony via flickr

Faber's Fascination sign in 2006 photo. © Mister Pony via flickr

Nat Faber’s arcade once occupied the entire first floor of the Henderson Building. Faber’s Sportland had the corner location where Popeye’s Chicken flourished for the past two decades. Faber’s amusement empire once encompassed arcades on Coney’s Boardwalk and at Surf and Kensington Walk, as well as Rockaway’s Playland, Long Beach in Long Island and the heart of Times Square. In 1935, according to a report in the Billboard, “Following a year’s preparation, Nat Faber opened the showiest sportland in New York’s Times Square. Flags and bunting decorated the front and a series of ads in the New York Times heralded the opening. This is the fourth sportland Faber opened between 1933-1935.”

Last Night at Faber's Fascination. Henderson Building, Coney Island. Sept. 6, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Last Night at Faber's Fascination. Henderson Building, Coney Island. Sept. 6, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

In 1939, Faber’s Fascination in the Henderson Building got its name written in blazing, chasing lights! By the early 1950’s the arcade was advertised as the only air-conditioned place of its kind in Coney Island. Nat Faber installed 48 new Fascination tables and new balls, and flashed the place with merchandise brought in from Los Angeles. He prided himself on having the top mike man in Coney Island. Faber’s Fortune next door got redone as Faber’s Sportland with Skeeball, Shuffle Alleys and Pokerino.

fabers coupon

Most establishments encouraged patrons to book or open a points/coupons savings account within the store - as evidenced by the reverse side of this Faber 's Store ticket. Back in the mid 1950s, Faber boasted that they had been in business for 40 years and were operating in such places as Coney Island as well as the Seaside and Edgemere sections of the Rockaways. Photo & caption courtesy of rockawaymemories.com

Stan Fox, whose brother operated four arcades in Coney island, recalls Faber telling him, “There isn’t room on the Boardwalk for another arcade.” Stan’s brother coolly replied, “You’d better shut yours down.” In those days, Coney Island was busy enough to accommodate more than one Fascination parlor. In addition to Faber’s, there was Moe’s Fascination operated by Moe and Sadie Silverman. There was Eddie’s Fascination. A lot of people ask Stan Fox, who was Eddie? If you know, please drop us a line. But Faber’s was the one with longevity. The location in the Henderson Building was operated by the Faber family until 1971 or 72.

“When Hy Singer bought the building he tripled the rent,” says Fox, who notes that Nat Faber’s son Stanford, then in his 40s, struggled to keep the business going. “I don’t know if it was the stress, but he had a stroke and a few weeks later he died.” While the game Fascination hasn’t been played at the Surf arcade for decades, the sign, and its twin, Faber’s Playland, remained. Somebody, anybody, please rescue the Fascination sign! We contacted Tod Swormstedt, founder of the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, who assured us that this type of sign can be saved.

Last Night at Faber's Fascination

On Monday night, a skeleton surveyed the soon-to-be closed arcade. Henderson Building, Coney Island. Sept. 6, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Too bad the City doomed the Henderson building as well as the former Bank of Coney Island to demolition last July by rezoning the parcels for 30-story high rise “hotels.” If ATZ had a dollar for every time we’ve used the word “doomed” to describe a building owned by Joe Sitt, we could buy a round of Coney Island lagers for everyone in the Freak Bar and proceed to cry in our beer. Instead we urge you to join Save Coney Island’s David vs. Goliath effort to convince the powers that be to re-purpose the building as part of a historic district. Last month the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation wrote that “the historic core of Coney Island appears to meet the criteria for listing to the Registers as a historic district.”

UPDATE September 11, 2010:

Coney Island signage: Faber's Fascination signage coming down! Photo © missapril1956 via flickr

Coney Island signage: Faber's Fascination signage coming down! Photo © missapril1956 via flickr

As we noted yesterday in the comments below, the letters have been removed from the Fascination sign and the two Sportland signs! The signs are being dismantled piece by piece and saved from Thor’s demolition by Carl Muraco, who owns the arcade. He told ATZ that he plans to sell the letters and possibly the entire Fascination sign if there is a buyer for it. The arcade machines are also for sale. We hope that these Coney Island artifacts end up in the collections of people who appreciate them, including the Faber family. We’re happy the arcade owner was able to take down and “save” the signs from demolition. At the same time, it’s heartbreaking to see the building being emptied of tenants and stripped of its personality. The sign on Popeye’s was also removed. It makes the impending date with Thor Equities’ wrecking ball seem that much closer. As soon as the ongoing asbestos abatement is completed and certified, Thor will be able to get a demolition permit.

Related posts on ATZ…

November 29, 2011: Fascination: From Coney Island to Nantasket Beach

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

April 21, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Tattered Tents, Deathwatch for Historic Buildings

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

Share

Read Full Post »

Vintage Postcard of Henderson's Music Hall Stage in Coney Island. Cezar Del Valle Collection

Vintage Postcard of Henderson's Music Hall Stage in Coney Island. Cezar Del Valle Collection

On Sunday at the Coney Island Museum’s Ask the Experts series, theater historian Cezar Del Valle will give an illustrated lecture to celebrate the launch of his Brooklyn Theater Index. The first volume covering theaters from Adams Street to Lorimer has just been published. The topic of his talk will be drawn from the third volume, a work-in-progress devoted to Coney Island, Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach.

The subject is timely, since one of Coney Island’s historic theater buildings, the former Henderson Music Hall at Surf and Stillwell, has been doomed to demolition. Pre-demo asbestos abatement is currently underway by Thor Equities despite preservationists efforts to save the building and make it part of an historic district.

Del Valle told ATZ that the Henderson Music Hall will be part of his talk. “Twice in the past, I have been asked to work on landmarking Henderson,” he says. “First on a panel and then in an advisory capacity. Sad to say, nothing ever came of it. I thought the building was being held hostage for some future bargaining ploy but I was wrong. If you went around to the Bowery side, a few of the windows still followed the rake of the old balcony.”

The Henderson was one of six buildings nominated for city landmark designation by Coney Island USA in 2004, although its chances were thought to be slim since the building has been altered extensively. It was even cut in half in 1923 when Stillwell Avenue south of Surf was created!

Del Valle’s area of expertise is New York City popular entertainment between 1850 and the 1950s, including special emphasis on actual theater buildings. He has led walking tours of the lost theaters of Coney Island’s Bowery. “In its fabulous heyday, the resort was more than just rides and arcades; it was home to numerous cabarets, variety halls and movie shows – a training ground for a generation of legendary performers,” says Del Valle.

If you’re able to make a day of it, Save Coney Island will be offering a free walking tour this Sunday at 11 am and every Sunday through the end of September. The guided tour covers the historic buildings along Surf Avenue as well as some of Coney Island’s existing landmarks. According to the group’s website, “we will have historic pictures so you can see what the buildings once were and a few renderings illustrating how these buildings could be creatively restored and reused.”

August 29, 4:30 pm, Ask the Experts! Cezar Del Valle’s Brooklyn Theater Index Book Launch, Coney Island Museum, 1208 Surf Avenue, Coney Island, $5 admission, Free for members of Coney Island USA.

August 29, 11:00 am, Save Coney Island’s Walking Tour of Historic Coney Island, meet in front of the Shore Theater, on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Aves, Rain or shine. Free, but suggested donation of $10 appreciated

Share

Related posts on ATZ…

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

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

February 23, 2010: Feb 24: Theater Historian’s Talk Puts Spotlight On Coney Island’s Lost Stages

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

Read Full Post »

Men at work on roof of Thor Equities owned Henderson Building, morning of Aug 16, 2010

A Coney Island photographer took this set of photos around 9 am this morning of men at work on the roof of Thor Equities-owned Henderson Building. The former music hall where Harpo Marx made his stage debut is at the corner of Stillwell and Surf, directly across the street from Nathan’s Famous. What are Thor’s masked men up to? Asbestos removal or demolition? If it was not demolition work, but asbestos abatement, does yellow caution tape protect the public from inhaling asbestos fibers and dust? Look at the photos and decide for yourself. And check out a photo of the building taken two weeks ago when the brickwork was still intact.

When the demo crew saw the photographer taking pictures, they started scrambling around, hiding their faces, and calling on their cells. Fortunately they were too far away to make a grab for his camera, which is what happened to another photographer at the Bank of Coney Building in June.

Men at work on roof of Thor Equities owned Henderson Building, morning of Aug 16, 2010

Inspector #1027 from the City’s Department of Buildings responded to a complaint of “unsafe/illegal/mechanical demo” and had this to say in his report: “NO VIOLATION WARRANTED FOR COMPLAINT AT TIME OF INSPECTION. NO DEMOLITION WORK NOTED.” Okay, DOB, we get the message, you don’t have to scream at us in all caps.

Men at work on roof of Thor Equities owned Henderson Building, morning of Aug 16, 2010

Last time we posted about “Thor’s Coney Island: Demolition Under the Radar?” about Thor’s property at 12th St and Surf, the DOB’s assessment was frustratingly similar “NO VIOLATION WARRANTED FOR COMPLAINT AT TIME OF INSPECTION. NO DEMOLITION WORK NOTED AT TIME OF INSPECTION, NO WORK NOTED.” We were told the inspector has to see the violation happening before his own eyes, or there’s no violation!

Ironically, the demolition comes at a time when there’s fresh hope of saving these historic buildings. On August 12, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation wrote Save Coney Island that “the historic core of Coney Island appears to meet the criteria for listing to the Registers as a historic district.” State and National Register listing would make the buildings eligible for hefty tax credits, but unlike City landmarking, doesn’t protect them from Thor’s hammer. In a David vs Goliath moment, Save Coney Island’s Juan Rivero called on Joe Sitt to be a hero and redevelop Coney Island in the right way. We’re not exactly holding our breath, but after a hiatus of more than a month (it’s been an incredibly busy summer for those of us who work in Coney!), ATZ is back with a vengeance. On Aug 13, the DOB issued Thor permits to demolish the Bank of Coney Island as well as the Shore Hotel. According to the ominously worded documents: “This job is not subject to the Department’s Development Challenge Process. For any issues, please contact the relevant borough office.” Huh?

Men at work on roof of Thor Equities owned Henderson Building, morning of Aug 16, 2010

Save Coney Island posted a statement on their website: “Workers were seen and photographed this morning (Monday August 16) on the building’s roof using mechanical equipment to remove bricks from the top of the façade of the 1899 Henderson Music Hall, where Harpo Marx made his stage debut with his brothers Groucho and Gummo. Thor does not appear to have acquired any permits for this sort of work. According to the New York City Department of Buildings website, no new permits have been issued for the Henderson building in the past several years.Moreover, there was no scaffolding or sidewalk shed present to protect pedestrians during the demolition work.”

The building is slated for demolition this fall and asbestos abatement appears to be underway though the photographer did not see any permits posted this morning. The permits for this type of work are issued by the City’s Department of Environmental Protection, not the D.O.B, and are not listed on the City’s website. Back in June, when Thor did asbestos abatement on the Bank of Coney Island we wrote:

We’re shocked that the City has issued permits to Thor Equities for pre-demolition asbestos abatement during Coney Island’s summer season. Couldn’t Joe Sitt be persuaded to wait till October to get on with his dirty work of demolishing the historic buildings that he owns in Coney Island? Is the City monitoring the air around the doomed Bank of Coney Island or leaving it up to Thor’s team to keep us safe from inhaling asbestos fibers and dust? Here’s where we start to be concerned.

We’re still concerned. The issues we brought up in “Thor’s Coney Island: Caution! Asbestos Removal at Doomed Bank” (June 14, 2010) and “Thor’s Coney Island: Demolition Under the Radar?” (July 1, 2010) have been ignored.

UPDATE August 22, 2010:

In a dicussion about one of the above photos posted on our flickr photostream, flickr member Asbestorama, who has an archive of asbestos abatement-related photos, writes:

Looks like they’re removing roof mastic or sealant from the parapet coping. The usage of HEPA-filtered respirators and disposable coveralls give the impression that these activities involve removal of asbestos (mechanical removal, dry scraping ?)

The concrete block, bricks, equipment, tools, or even the hazardous material itself could fall, creating additional issues. The yellow caution tape below does seem inadequate for the potential risks associated with these activities. Also, doesn’t appear that the workers are being monitored for possible contaminant exposure (asbestos?) which is usually required for OSHA compliance, even for outside roof work.

Vintage Postcard of Henderson's Music Hall Stage in Coney Island. Cezar Del Valle Collection

Vintage Postcard of Henderson's Music Hall Stage in Coney Island. Cezar Del Valle Collection

Related posts on ATZ…

May 13, 2010: Scoop: Deal to Rent Thor’s Coney Island Lots a No-Go for Fair Producer

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

April 29, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Joey “Bulldozer” Sitt Is Baaack Playing Games!

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

Share

Read Full Post »

 What's behind the newly erected tarp atop Bank of Coney Island? Asbestos removal in progress!

What's behind the newly erected tarp atop Bank of Coney Island? Asbestos removal in progress! June 14, 2010

We’re shocked that the City has issued permits to Thor Equities for pre-demolition asbestos abatement during Coney Island’s summer season. Couldn’t Joe Sitt be persuaded to wait till October to get on with his dirty work of demolishing the historic buildings that he owns in Coney Island?

Joey Bulldozer Sitt, who has ZERO rides and attractions on his Stillwell lots this season, contributes ZERO to the Coney Island community. While Coney Island’s stakeholders are busy working to make this summer the best in decades, the only thing Joe Sitt is busy doing is turning the rest of his Coney property into empty lots asap. Too bad New York City is not ancient Athens, where citizens considered dangerous to public welfare were banished!

copywm176 (3)

The permit from the City’s Department of Environmental Protection is dated June 1, 2010 and runs through January 2011. Is the City monitoring the air around the doomed Bank of Coney Island or leaving it up to Thor’s team to keep us safe from inhaling asbestos fibers and dust? Here’s where we start to be concerned…

Workers have been doing asbestos abatement at the bank building on weeknights for the past two weeks. Last week another Coney Island photographer was threatened by a thuggish worker who made a grab for his camera as he was snapping photos. Did they have something to hide or were they merely camera shy? Today for the first time the crew worked daytime hours. Early this morning some kind of white covering appeared on the rooftop, but caution tape did not materialize on the street until 1 pm. Sounds of heavy machinery in bank. Observers tell ATZ it looked like they were cutting and removing pipes and metal. While some workers wore hazmat-type gear, others were seen working inside the building in street clothes, no hard hats. Around 3 pm, they put garbage bags full of material in the back of a closed unmarked truck.

Uh, do we have to point out that asbestos is considered dangerous? Since there is no known safe level of exposure, all asbestos exposure should be avoided. Anyone who is exposed to asbestos can get mesothelioma. “Workers who deal with this deadly material often carried microscopic asbestos fibers home with them in their clothes and hair, which caused secondary exposure to their families and friends. Over time, these innocent victims can develop mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other fatal conditions.”

NPU ducts protrude from second story of Bank of Coney Island.  Photo by Capt Nemo.

NPU ducts protrude from second story of Bank of Coney Island. Photo by Capt Nemo.

See “A Rare Peek Inside Endangered Bank of Coney Island” (ATZ, Oct 9 2009) for a look at a building that is not long for this world. The City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission rejected Save Coney Island’s proposal to landmark the bank building and three other historic buildings. The other three –the Grashorn and Henderson and the Shore Hotel — are probably next on the abatement list. One day last week when we passed by the vacant Shore Hotel, we saw the shuttered first floor open. A man was inside taking notes. Since the Henderson and Bank of Coney were doomed by last year’s rezoning for 30 story hotel towers, it’s doubtful that Save Coney Island’s continuing efforts to save them will succeed. So what’s your hurry, Joe?

UPDATE August 14, 2010:

We’re sorry to report the demolition permit for the bank building was issued yesterday– Friday the 13th. It was no surprise because on Wednesday the sidewalks around the Thor-owned building were being dug up to disconnect sewer and water lines in preparation. How inexpressibly sad to see the potential here and what will be gone forever in a matter of days. Don’t bother calling the DOB to complain either. It’s final! According to the permit: “This job is not subject to the Department’s Development Challenge Process. For any issues, please contact the relevant borough office.” Joe Sitt will soon have another empty lot to add to his collection of empty lots.

UPDATE June 14, 2010:

Soon after our post, we received an email from contributing photographer Bruce Handy with links to his flickr photo set of asbestos removal signs at the Shore Hotel, seen during Save Coney Island’s Historic Walking Tour on June 13. We bet the other two buildings have permits, too. Too bad the DOB doesn’t list these permits on the Bank of Coney’s and Shore Hotel’s pages on the DOB site, where people have been keeping an eye out for news! According to the DEP’s website, the City’s permitting process for asbestos abatement has been moved from the DOB to the DEP’s office in Lefrak City.

Shore Hotel Asbestos Set, June 14, 2010.  Photo © Bruce Handy via flickr

Shore Hotel Asbestos Set, June 13, 2010. Photo © Bruce Handy via flickr

Related posts on ATZ…

May 13, 2010: Scoop: Deal to Rent Thor’s Coney Island Lots a No-Go for Fair Producer

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

April 29, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Joey “Bulldozer” Sitt Is Baaack Playing Games!

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

Share

Read Full Post »

copywm176 (3)

Call to Action: Rally for Preservation on Wednesday, May 12

WHEN: Wednesday, May 12th at 10am SHARP

WHERE: City Hall Steps – 4,5,6, N or R Trains to City Hall

Tomorrow morning, Save Coney Island joins the Historic Districts Council and other preservation groups at a citywide rally at City Hall.

“Save Coney Island believes this summer should be about REVITALIZATION (with the opening of the new Luna Park) and PRESERVATION – NOT about “DEMOLITION,” said an e-mail from the grass-roots group. “Please join us. This will be a perfect opportunity to put Coney Island’s preservation battle in the citywide spotlight. We need you to make your voice heard.”

ATZ is sorry that rumors of Joe Sitt’s plans to demolish historic buildings which we reported in “Thor’s Coney Island: Tattered Tents, Deathwatch for Historic Buildings” (ATZ, April 21, 2010) have turned out to be true. On May 3, Thor Equities spokes-tool Loren Riegelhaupt told the Brooklyn Paper: “This summer is going to be about the demolition.” The reference is to the planned demo of four historic buildings in Coney Island owned by Joe Sitt.

Shore Hotel Nature's Paradise by the Sea. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Shore Hotel Nature's Paradise by the Sea. April 26, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The endangered buildings are the Grashorn, Coney Island’s oldest; the former Bank of Coney Island; the Henderson Building; and the Shore Hotel. The Grashorn and Henderson were nominated for landmark designation by Coney Island USA and all four buildings would be part of an historic district proposed by Save Coney Island. Stefan Friedman, another Thor spokes-tool, told the paper: “These buildings were thoroughly reviewed by the city [before] last year’s rezoning and determined to have no significant historic value whatsoever. Some of these buildings are asbestos-infested ramshackle buildings that pose a very real risk to the local community.”

We’ll counter Thor’s disinformation campaign by referring you to “Destined for Demolition? Historic Buildings Owned By Thor Equities” in the right column of our blog for articles by the Municipal Art Society, Vanishing New York and ATZ on the four buildings in question and Save Coney’s list of historic landmarks. As for Thor’s empty lots, check out “Thor’s Coney Island: What Stillwell Looked Like Before Joe Sitt”

The Historic Districts Council is hosting the rally…

We will be having speakers from neighborhoods across the city talking about their efforts and giving voice to the fact that people want preservation. For the past four years, HDC has helped organize a preservation day at City Hall that dozens of neighborhood preservationists have attended to show the strength of the preservation community. Through our efforts, the Landmarks Preservation Commission has grown in staff and has designated more properties in all five boroughs than ever – they designated more properties in 2008 than they had in any year since 1990. This record of accomplishment needs to continue; dozens of historic neighborhoods throughout New York City are still unprotected and prey to tear-downs and unregulated development. If we’ve learned one thing in 45 years of preservation practice in New York, it’s that landmark protection is good for the city. Without landmark protection, SoHo and Tribeca wouldn’t exist, the theater district would be an office park and Brooklyn Heights would be filled with high-rises. But as much as the LPC has accomplished, there’s still much more to do.

Coney Island’s Shore Theater and Coney Island USA’s Building (the former Childs Restaurant on Surf Avenue) are being considered for landmark designation by the LPC.

Thor-owned Henderson Building Being Cleaned Out, May 8, 2010. Photo © Capt. Nemo/Magical Theme Parks

Share

Related posts on ATZ…

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

April 29, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Joey “Bulldozer” Sitt Is Baaack Playing Games!

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

January 8, 2010: Coney Island 2010: Good Riddance to Thor Equities Flopped Flea Market, Hello Rides?

Read Full Post »

Save Coney Island Club of Agoura High School, Agoura Hills, California- 2009-2010. Photo © Boardwalklover via flickr

Save Coney Island Club of Agoura High School, Agoura Hills, California- 2009-2010. Photo © Boardwalklover via flickr

When we saw this adorable photo of the Save Coney Island Club of Agoura High School in Agoura Hills, California, it made us think– Wow, California really is ahead of the curve! We agree with the sentiments of the Brooklynite who found the photo on flickr and called it to our attention: “Maybe it’ll spawn Save Coney Island Clubs in New York City high schools!”

According to the photo caption “As of January 2010, we have raised apr. $130.00. It meets EVERY ODD FRIDAY in ROOM M5A at lunch! (periods 1-3-5).”

ATZ contacted the club’s founder, 15-year-old Taylor Stein, for more information. Taylor got the Save Coney Island T-shirt that he’s wearing in the photo when he visited Coney Island last summer with his Dad. The Stein family is originally from Brooklyn. Taylor returned to California more determined than ever to help save Coney Island’s shrinking outdoor amusement area from high rise development and to preserve its historic structures.

Taylor told us about the club’s activities: “We raised $130 by having a candy apple and fudge fundraiser, and also by getting donations and rewarding candy on a daily basis at school. Our club meets every other Friday at lunch and discusses key ways to raise money that will help cover the expenses of the Save Coney Island lawsuit against the city. We also watch historic Coney Island films while eating lunch, plus we talk about the history and current events happening in Coney Island. We hope to raise at least $400 by the end of the year.”

Mapquest’s total travel estimate from Coney Island to Agoura Hills is 43 hours 5 minutes or 2833.03 miles. We’re impressed by the California club’s long distance devotion to Coney Island. It’s proof that what Steeplechase Park creator George C. Tilyou wrote in 1886 is truer than ever: “If Paris is France, then Coney Island, between June to September, is the world.”

Share

Related posts on ATZ...

December 20, 2009: Coney Island Photo of the Day: First Snow on the Cyclone

July 27, 2009: Save Coney Island for the Kids: “Everything I Love is Here”

July 27, 2009: Tall, Skinny & Destined to Kill Coney Island: High Rises on South Side of Surf

June 2, 2009: Coney Island is Alive and Kicking in 2009 Photo of the Day: Dusk on the Boardwalk

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 309 other followers

%d bloggers like this: