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Archive for December, 2010

Formal Pose, Members of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club at New Year's Swim. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

Formal Pose, Members of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club. January 1, 2010. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

The Coney Island Polar Bear Club’s New Year’s Day Swim is wacky fun, but they’re Freezin’ for a Reason. Support a Bear and make a pledge now. According to the Bears’ website, “There is no fee for swimmers or observers but we encourage all participants to make a voluntary donation to our partner Camp Sunshine.” The Coney Island Plunge has already raised more than $20,000!

On January 1, 2010, more than one thousand people took the plunge, including about 140 members of the Polar Bear Club (ATZ, “By the Numbers: Coney Island New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim 2010,” January 8, 2010). Tomorrow’s dip in the ocean is at 1 pm sharp, but get there early for festivities on the Boardwalk. You can register, pledge and buy Polar Bear Tee’s on the Boardwalk from 11 am.

Ruby's Bar

Ruby

On New Year’s Day Ruby’s Bar & Grill will be the place to raise a toast to the New Year and to the real Coney Island. If you missed the last of the “Last Call” party/protests at Ruby’s in November, tomorrow may be your final last chance to have a drink at Ruby’s. Of course, we hope not. Ruby’s & the other evicted Boardwalk businesses made Curbed’s 2010 List of Threatened Neighborhood Places that are not dead yet. What to do? Take a cue from the folks who showed up at November 6th’s Rally, Party and Last Call and bring along a hand-made sign. Ruby’s will open at 10:30 am. Live music from 12:30 till around 4 pm.

American History

American History Vanishing Before My Eyes. Coney Island Boardwalk, November 6, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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January 1, 2013: Videos of the Day: Coney Island Polar Bear New Year’s Day Plunge 2013

December 18, 2011: Playing Santa at the Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge

December 26, 2010: Video: Today’s Snow Swim with Coney Island Polar Bears

January 2, 2010: Photo Album: Coney Island Boardwalk, New Year’s Day 2010

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DOB

Screenshot of DOB webpage on Dec 30, 2010

Has Shoot the Freak won the latest skirmish in the Battle of the Boardwalk? Last week, Zamperla began constructing the entrance to Scream Zone after razing and boarding up Shoot the Freak without warning. The paintball game’s owner Anthony Berlingieri vowed to take the matter to court and have further construction stopped.

ATZ has learned that on Thursday the City’s Department of Buildings issued a stop work order at the Boardwalk property leased by Zamperla from the City’s Economic Development Corporation. The address is 1213-1223 Boardwalk West, between 12th and 15th Streets.

“This property has 1 open DOB ‘Work Without A Permit’ Violations and may be subject to DOB civil penalties upon application for a permit.

Received: 12/30/2010 10:18 Block: 8695 Lot: 104 Community Board: 313
Owner: NEW YORK CITY ECONOMIC DEVELOP

Last Inspection: 12/30/2010 – – BY BADGE # 2369
Disposition: 12/30/2010 – L1 – PARTIAL STOP WORK ORDER
Comments: DEMOLITION WITHOUT A PERMIT. STOP ALL DEMOLITION WORK, PAY CIVIL PENALTY, OBTAIN PERMIT
DOB Violation #: 123010BS13GI01
ECB Violation #s: 34875289N

Along with Ruby’s and Paul’s Daughter, Shoot the Freak is among the eight small businesses being evicted from the Boardwalk by CAI/Zamperla. The Coney Island 8′s court date for the eviction proceeding is scheduled for January 10. The property is owned by the City’s Economic Development Corporation and leased to CAI/Zamperla, which is allowing only 2 of 11 existing businesses to remain.

UPDATE… 9 am

This morning’s NY Post and Daily News report that the City fine for the violation is a whopping $5000! A DOB spokeswoman told the Post that the case is under investigation.

Formerly know as Shoot the Freak

The new boardwalk entrance to Scream Zone (Formerly know as Shoot the Freak). Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

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Surf Ave. Lot for Lease next to Stillwell Terminal

Surf Ave. Lot for Lease next to Stillwell Terminal. December 23, 2010. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

Last week leases went out to two fast food restaurants for space in a two-story commercial building to be built on the long vacant lot next to Coney Island’s Stillwell Terminal. Built to suit/subdivide, the new building will have 10,000 square feet on the first floor and 5,000 square feet on the second floor.

Although the broker could not disclose the names of the restaurants until the leases are signed, the Coney Island Rumor Mill has been saying for weeks that Popeye’s Chicken would reopen at this location. Popeye’s owner began looking at space on the north side of Surf after getting booted out of the Henderson Building by Thor Equities. Popeye’s had been at the Henderson location for 27 years.

ATZ obtained the plans for the 1223 Surf Avenue building from broker Joe Vitacco of Jacob Gold Realty. “We sent out leases for two spaces, both on the left side of the property. They will be fast food,” said Vitacco. But there’s still room for more. “The remaining space, which is about 4,500 square feet, could be a restaurant by itself or in conjunction with the 5,000 square foot second floor that will have a 4,500 square foot terrace overlooking Surf. There will be an elevator connecting the first and second floors. The second floor will be 22 feet above grade and will have a panoramic view of the ocean.” The plans for the second story show a terrace that is approximately 27 feet deep by 65 feet wide. Takers?

Plan for Surf Ave Building

Second Floor: Plan for Two Story Commercial Building at 1223 Surf Avenue in Coney Island

When ATZ asked what’s the other fast food restaurant? Vitacco said, “You’ll be surprised.” If you’d like to hazard a guess, go right ahead and post a comment. Keep in mind that Stillwell Terminal already has Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins and Subway franchises. There’s a McDonald’s Cafe at Stillwell and Mermaid Avenues.

According to Vitacco, the price of the lease depends upon how much work the tenant requires of the landlord beyond a shell. “We are leaving that on a case by case decision,” he says. “The plans have been filed we need approval then permits then we will have an idea as when it will be ready.” The 1223 Surf Avenue property was previously owned by Horace Bullard, who also owns the nearby Shore Theater, which is for sale for $12 million. Vitacco represented Bullard in the sale of this property to Fox 18 Realty LLC and now has the exclusive to represent the owner in the leasing of the property.

Plan for Two Story Commercial Building

First Floor: Plan for Two Story Commercial Building 1223 Surf Avenue in Coney Island

The lot has been vacant since 2001, when the Giuliani administration repeatedly ticketed and finally got rid of the flea market that had operated on the lot since the 1980s. The headline in the Daily News read “CONEY SMALL BIZ BLITZ STORM OF TICKETS TIED TO DEBUT OF CYCLONES.”

Prior to the flea market, independent rides have come and gone for as far back as anyone can recall. In the late 1940s and 1950s, the Pinto Brothers, who also manufactured kiddie rides on 8th Street in Coney Island, operated a Whip here and a Crazy Ghost ride nearby. In the 1960s this location was home to McCullough’s Illions carousel, which was moved from Surf and 15th Street, until it was dismantled in 1968. A Sky Rapids water slide a Jumbo coaster that resembled a Jumbo Jet, and go karts took turns operating there in the 1970s.

UPDATE August 2, 2012

New Building Breaks Ground Next to Coney Island’s Stillwell Terminal

Sky Rapids Ride

Sky Rapids Ride on Surf Avenue, Coney Island January 1, 1979. Photo by Abe Feinstein via Coney Island History Project

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December 2, 2010: Under Construction: Luna Park Coney Island’s $1.4M Sodexo-Run Restaurant & More

November 21, 2010: Goodbye (Or Maybe Not?) to My Coney Island Equivalent of Proust’s Madeleine

August 23, 2010: Vid: Thor’s Coney Island: After 3 Decades, Last Supper at Popeye’s & Au Revoir Souvenirs

May 11, 2010: 21st Century Bars: Coney Island’s Freak Bar Featured in New Book

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First Snow.  December 26, 2010. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

First Snow. December 26, 2010. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

Coney Island resident and photographer Bruce Handy went out yesterday to capture the first snow of the season on the beach and boardwalk. Our fave image shows a serene Coney Island Boardwalk and its signature Parachute Jump viewed through a snow-flecked lens. The pristine beauty of the scene makes the ugliness of the ongoing Boardwalk evictions and Surf Avenue demolitions recede temporarily.

Bruce also photographed the Coney Island Polar Bears Swim at the start of the blizzard. You can watch his slide show and video (with a soundtrack by Cirque De Soleil) on YouTube.

If you haven’t dropped by since before Christmas, yes it is indeed snowing on ATZ thanks to our blog host WordPress.com! Snow is expected through January 4.

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Related posts on ATZ…

February 26, 2010: Photo of the Day: Snow Mermaid on Coney Island Beach

January 8, 2010: By the Numbers: Coney Island New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim 2010

January 2, 2010: Photo Album: Coney Island Boardwalk, New Year’s Day 2010

December 4, 2009: Photo of the Day: Let It Snow! in Coney Island

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Historian Charles Denson‘s video tribute to Coney Island’s historic Henderson Music Hall is beautifully done and, of course, heartbreaking. In addition to rare archival material, the video features an unexpected recent look inside the building, which is currently under demolition.

Denson’s interior shots reveal what remains of the Velocity Nightclub on the building’s second floor. This performance space was exquisitely restored and brought up to code in 2004, before Thor Equities bought the building and began to blight it. The footage shows the space to be in surprisingly good condition and repudiates what Thor Equities CEO Joe Sitt told NY1 in May: “Every one of these buildings is just horrible, rundown relics with nothing exciting about them. I hate to say it, but the great buildings of Coney Island disappeared 80 years ago.”

Last time we wrote about Thor’s demolitions, readers asked: Why wasn’t this building saved? The City aided and abetted Joey “Bulldozer” Sitt by rezoning the Henderson parcel for a high rise hotel. 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 building.

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December 23, 2010: Coney Island Christmas Wish List: $12M Shore Theater

December 13, 2010: R.I.P Coney Island’s Shore Hotel, Henderson Next on Hit List

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

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

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Are you ready for the Coney Island Polar Bear Club’s New Year’s Day plunge? Whether you plan to swim or spectate, this high-spirited vid of today’s snowy Sunday swim should put you in the mood. “Water temp 40 outside is 24. Coney expecting 13″ of snow – the bears go for a dip at the start of the snowstorm,” says Rubyshost, who is a Polar Bear and shot the video both in and out of the water.

The Coney Island Polar Bears swim at 1 pm every Sunday from November through April. The club has 140 regular members, but the New Year’s Day event attracts hundreds of first timers. Last year about 1,000 swimmers participated, said Polar Bear president Dennis Thomas. The world-famous event is a fundraiser to benefit Camp Sunshine. Participants are requested to raise a minimum of $100 in pledges. The 2010 swim raised over $23,000 for the retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses. To register for the 2011 New Year’s Day Plunge or sponsor a swimmer, visit www.freezinforareason.com.

Coney Island Polar Bear Club, New Year’s Day Plunge, January 1, 2011 at 1 pm. Riegelmann Boardwalk, Coney Island


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Related posts on ATZ…

February 26, 2010: Photo of the Day: Snow Mermaid on Coney Island Beach

January 8, 2010: By the Numbers: Coney Island New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim 2010

January 2, 2010: Photo Album: Coney Island Boardwalk, New Year’s Day 2010

December 4, 2009: Photo of the Day: Let It Snow! in Coney Island

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Christmas Window at Caravansary, 115-A Greenwich Ave in the Village. December 23, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Christmas Window at Caravansary, 115-A Greenwich Ave in the Village. December 23, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The rides are closed for the winter in Coney Island, but in a shop window in the West Village, we found a toy carnival awhirl amid Christmas ornaments. There’s even a roller coaster called “Cyclone.”

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