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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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Bank of Coney Island Demolition. November 17, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Bank of Coney Island Demolition. November 17, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Here are a few photos of the demolition-in-progress taken yesterday in Coney Island. As ATZ tweeted on Monday: “Alas funeral services for Bank of Coney back on track. In lieu of flowers send donations to National Trust @PresNation” and “Today in #ConeyIsland saw Thor’s crew resume work at doomed bank bldg. City rescinded Stop Work Order, required fencing put up #bknews”

Bank of Coney Island Demolition viewed from Jones Walk. November 17, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Bank of Coney Island Demolition viewed from Jones Walk. November 17, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The DOB web page for the building, which has a lag of about 48 hours is now updated. It says “STOP WORK ORDER FULLY RESCINDED. FENCE ERECTED RESCIND APPROVED” The reason for the Stop Work Order, issued on November 10th, was “FTSGP&P NO CONSTR FENCE PROVIDED FOR CREATING SAFETY ZONE DE BRIS FALLING IN ADJ PROPERTY, STOP ALL WORK COMPLY WITH VIOL”

Though the City’s “Full Stop Work Order” remained in effect for only a few days, it gave what’s left of this historic building a respite from the bulldozer. And it was immensely satisfying to be able to write a headline that began “DOB Stops Thor Demo of Coney Island…. “ while the Stop Work Order was in effect. The City has of course failed to stop Thor Equities from first blighting and now demolishing historic buildings in Coney Island.

For more info on the building, see “Photo of the Day: The Bank of Coney Island, Now & Then” (ATZ, October 14, 2010) and “A Rare Peek Inside Endangered Old Bank of Coney Island” (ATZ, October 9, 2009).

Bank of Coney Island Demolition. November 17, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Bank of Coney Island Demolition. November 17, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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Related posts on ATZ…

November 12, 2010: DOB Stops Thor Demo of Coney Island Bank, Cites Hazardous Conditions

November 9, 2010: Photos from the Demolition: Bulldozer Inside Bank of Coney Island

July 1, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Demolition Under the Radar?

June 14, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Caution! Asbestos Removal at Doomed Bank

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Stop Work Order issued by Building Enforcement Safety Team for 1124 Surf Ave. November 10, 2010. Photo © Mr Jones via ATZ

ATZ has postponed our funeral service for the Bank of Coney Island, which was expected to be completely demolished in two weeks. The partially demolished building is still doomed, but on Wednesday it got a respite from the bulldozer. The Department of Building’s BEST Squad –the Building Enforcement Safety Team– issued a “Full Stop Work Order” at the bank because debris was falling onto adjacent buildings. Our source said a wall coming down is shared with an adjacent property owner who according to city regulations must pay to build a new wall before work can proceed. There’s talk of a court order to force compliance. Who knows how long this will drag on? The demolition permit, which was originally issued in August, was re-issued in October and remains valid through June 11, 2011.

The DOB web page, which has a lag of about 48 hours, is now updated and cites “HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS OBSERVED AT SITE” and “NO CONSTR FENCE PROVIDED FOR CREATING SAFETY ZONE DEBRIS FALLING IN ADJ PROPERTY, STOP ALL WORK COMPLY WITH VIOL.”

These documentary photos are from a set shot inside the bank on Sunday by photo blogger Single Linds Reflex.

Bank of Coney Island Demolition. November 8, 2010. Photo © Single Linds Reflex via flickr

Bank of Coney Island Demolition. November 8, 2010. Photo © Single Linds Reflex via flickr

NYC Department of Buildings
Overview for Complaint #:3360583 = RESOLVED
Complaint at: 1124 SURF AVENUE BIN: 3245151 Borough: BROOKLYN ZIP: 11224
Re: HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS OBSERVED AT SITE

Category Code: 21 SAFETY NET/GUARD RAIL-DAM/INADEQ/NONE(OVER 6 STY/75 FT)

DOB District: N/A
Special District: CI – CONEY ISLAND

Assigned To: BEST SQUAD Priority

Bank of Coney Island Demolition. November 8, 2010. Photo © Single Linds Reflex via flickr

Bank of Coney Island Demolition. November 8, 2010. Photo © Single Linds Reflex via flickr

Received: 11/10/2010 16:36 Block: 8696 Lot: 37 Community Board: 313
Owner: WEISS SURF AVENUE,LL

Last Inspection: 11/10/2010 – – BY BADGE # 2342
Disposition: 11/10/2010 – A3 – FULL STOP WORK ORDER SERVED
Job Number:
Comments: FTSGP&P NO CONSTR FENCE PROVIDED FOR CREATING SAFETY ZONE DE BRIS FALLING IN ADJ PROPERTY, STOP ALL WORK COMPLY WITH VIOL
DOB Violation #: 111010BS13MI01
ECB Violation #s: 34860946M

Bank of Coney Island Demolition. November 8, 2010. Photo © Single Linds Reflex via flickr

Bank of Coney Island Demolition. November 8, 2010. Photo © Single Linds Reflex via flickr

Update… November 15

Alas, Thor’s demo crew resumed work at the doomed Bank of Coney Island again on Monday. The DOB rescinded the stop work order, noting that the required fencing was now in place. Though the Stop Work Order remained in effect for only a few days, it was immensely satisfying to read the headline “DOB Stops Thor Demo….” while it lasted, wasn’t it? Funeral arrangements are being planned. In lieu of flowers contributions may be sent to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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Related posts on ATZ…

November 9, 2010: Photos from the Demolition: Bulldozer Inside Bank of Coney Island

September 23, 2010: Demolition in Progress! Coney Island’s Surf Hotel in Henderson Building

July 1, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Demolition Under the Radar?

June 14, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Caution! Asbestos Removal at Doomed Bank

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