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Posts Tagged ‘Coney Island Library’

Coney Island Library

Brooklyn Public Library Coney Island Branch Library on Mermaid Avenue. October 23, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

The Coney Island Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library reopened on Wednesday for the first time since it was severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy almost a year ago. The lobby and interior have been decorated with photos of Coney Island’s landmark Wonder Wheel, Cyclone and Parachute Jump from the library’s Brooklyn collection. The Jump itself is just down the block and can be seen from the Mermaid Avenue library’s plate-glass windows.

Coney Island Library

Vintage photos of Coney Island’s landmark rides adorn the walls of the Coney Island Library. October 23, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

A few weeks after Sandy, the Daily News reported that five Brooklyn libraries wrecked by Sandy would require $10 million in repairs with the Coney Island location being one of the most seriously damaged. 35,177 books and DVDs were lost. The photos were horrific. Built in 1956, the library not only has new books and DVDs, it was beautifully redesigned to reflect the history of the neighborhood and meet the 21st century needs of the community.

Coney Island Library

Computer stations, comfy chairs, and the Parachute Jump. October 23, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

The children’s books and the computers, which used to be on the second floor, are now located on the main floor. The new computer stations, comfy reading chairs, and kid-sized tables equipped with iPads were already popular on opening day. The second floor is now designated “the quiet room” for studying and its auditorium has been replaced by two meeting rooms on the first floor.

Coney Island Library

Recycled boards from the Boardwalk on the ceiling at the Coney Island Library. October 23, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

Recycled boards from the Coney Island Boardwalk are incorporated into the design of the ceiling. The $2.5 million rebuilding effort was supported by public and private funding. You can make a contribution to the Coney Island Library on the Brooklyn Public Library’s website. Make sure to select “Additional Options – I would like to direct my donation to Coney Island.”

Coney Island Library

Children using Coney Island Library’s new iPads. October 23, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita


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Friscia Pharmacy

Friscia Pharmacy, Mermaid Ave at W 15th St, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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“Mermaid Avenue that’s the street where the sun and storm clouds meet,” wrote Woody Guthrie in his 1950 song “Mermaid’s Avenue.” Four months after Superstorm Sandy devastated Coney Island, ATZ took a drive down the neighborhood’s shopping street to see how many stores had reopened. Our impression, seconded by people who live or work in the neighborhood, was about 70 per cent.

“A lot more places have opened up. It’s a credit to the Mom and Pops,” said Eric Levy, editor of Astella Action News. The local newspaper is published by Mermaid Avenue’s Astella Development. The not-for-profit community organization was one of several that lost everything and is currently sharing a trailer on West 17th Street with the Alliance for Coney Island, Coney Recovers, Project Hope and Brooklyn Community Services. Levy says they expect to move back to their rehabbed storefront at 1618 Mermaid Avenue next month.

7 N 7 Suprette

7 N 7 Suprette, Open 24 Hours, 3030 Mermaid Avenue, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The majority of the reopened stores are bodegas, drugstores, and small businesses like the local 7-Eleven lookalike in the photo above. Rebecca, whose family owns the pawn shop at Mermaid and West 21st Street, told ATZ that their store had a grand reopening party on December 15th. They brought in a pizza truck and gave out promotional items as well as raffle tickets for Nets games and cash cards.

It’s taking longer for some of the businesses that are part of the corporate world to rebuild after the storm. Among the stores that haven’t reopened yet are the MacDonald’s at 1403 Mermaid Avenue and 608 Neptune Avenue, which were still boarded up when we drove by. Cleanup efforts finally got underway over the past few days at the Mermaid Avenue restaurant. MacDonald’s Corporate Office did not respond to a request for comment. (A few days after this story was posted renovations started. In April they began hiring and expect to reopen in May.)

Citibank

Citibank, Mermaid Ave at W 30th St, Coney Island. February 22, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Citibank at 3002 Mermaid also remains closed. “Our temporary Citibank branch will open in July as we rebuild our previous location, which was severely damaged after Hurricane Sandy,” Catherine Pulley of Citi Public Affairs told ATZ. “Citibank is deeply committed to our customers and the community of Coney Island. We are working as quickly as possible to return to our previous location and reopen our doors.”

Chase’s branch on Mermaid at 17th Street is also closed due to storm damage, but the bank set up a mobile branch on December 6 and currently does business out of a trailer in their parking lot.

Coney Island Library

Coney Island Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. Mermaid Avenue at 17th St. February 22, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The post office, which was operating out of trailer until about a week ago, has reopened. But the saddest story on Mermaid Avenue has to be the shuttered Coney Island Library. When we drove by it looked even more abandoned than it did in December. Ruined books litter the boarded-up, fenced off entryway. Urban Librarians Unite’s mini-library box inviting one to “Take a Free Book” stands empty. The Brooklyn Public Library’s Bookmobile service is provided on Thursdays from 11am to 4pm in front of the library, but the children who used the computers must miss them. The branch of the Brooklyn Public Library is not expected to reopen until October at the earliest.

A few weeks after Sandy, the Daily News reported that five Brooklyn libraries wrecked by Sandy will require $10 million in repairs with the Coney Island location being one of the most seriously damaged. 35,177 books and DVDs were lost. You can make a contribution to rebuild the library on the Brooklyn Public Library’s website. Make sure to select “Additional Options – I would like to direct my donation to Coney Island.”

This set of photos was taken on Mermaid Avenue on February 22, 2013, and on December 5 and November 17, 2012. The most recent photos are first…

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