Your last chance to submit public comments to save the long neglected Coney Island Pumping Station designed by Chanin Building architect Irwin Chanin is just three days away. [Note: comment period was extended through Octover 22.] The city-owned building on Coney Island Creek would be Coney’s only landmark outside of the amusement area, which has six official city landmarks–The Wonder Wheel, Cyclone and Parachute Jump, the two former Childs Restaurant buildings, and the former Shore Theater.
Prior to the Landmarks Preservation Commmission’s October 8, 2015 public hearing to address a backlog of calendared buildings, the LPC is asking speakers to register in advance and submit written statements by October 1st. The email address for comments is email@example.com. If you are unable to attend the hearing, your written submissions will be entered into the record and distributed to the Commissioners, according to the LPC’s website. A link to a pdf with information about the hearing, at which 29 buildings are on the agenda, is here.
If the Coney Island Pumping Station wins designation, the Pegasus statues, which were removed to the Brooklyn Museum’s Sculpture Garden for safekeeping 35 years ago, could return in triumph to their Coney Island home. After being proposed for landmark designation in 1980, the building was to be mothballed and protected for future use, according to a 1981 article in The Society for Commercial Archaeology News Journal.
However, the city proved unable to protect the building from vandals who removed the nickel silver, steel, aluminum and granite trim, and chiseled away at the facade and the winged horses at the building’s entrance. “In an attempt to protect the sculpture from further vandalism, Charles Savage, director of the Commission’s salvage program, managed to have them removed to the Brooklyn Museum for safekeeping. Local press applauded the preservation of this portion of the so-called ‘off-beat Coney Island landmark.’”
Decommissioned as a fire pumping station in 1976, the long vacant structure is listed as a “non-residential structure with no use” in the database of city-owned property. Nothing ever came of a plan reported by the NY Times in 1990 to spend $23 million to revive the structure to connect two wings of transitional housing for homeless families.
“Numerous proposals have surfaced recently to repurpose the building for community usage including as a Coney Island ferry terminal, ecology center, or museum,” writes Charles Denson on the Coney Island History Project’s blog in a plea to save the building for future generations. “The Art Deco structure was unusual for Coney Island and much different than most municipal structures which were commonly utilitarian and devoid of ornamentation. Chanin commissioned a pair of winged horse sculptures for the entrance to the elliptical limestone and granite Moderne structure, creating a magnificent monument amidst Coney’s ephemeral landscape.”
In addition to submitting your comments to the Landmarks Preservation Commission by October 1st, we urge you to sign and share the Art Deco Society of New York’s petition to landmark the Coney Island Pumping Station, which will be submitted to the Commission.
Related posts on ATZ…
March 11, 2015: In Coney Island, Two Stores and One NYC Landmark Mark 95th Year
November 18, 2014: ATZ’s Guide to Coney Island’s Honorary Walks and Places