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Posts Tagged ‘go karts’

Coney Art Walls Marie Roberts

Coney Art Walls Mural painted by Marie Roberts in 2015 will be replaced by a new Roberts mural this season.

Coney Art Walls, an art project curated by Jeffrey Deitch that turned Thor Equities’ vacant lot behind Nathan’s into a pop culture destination last summer will be back in 2016. Seven murals painted on concrete, will stay for another season. Most of the other walls have been sandblasted and are blank canvases awaiting a new group of artists set to begin painting this spring.

“We are working on the artist line up for Coney Art Walls upcoming season,” Ethel Seno, who manages and coordinates the project for Jeffrey Deitch, told ATZ.

Jeffrey Deitch at Coney Art Walls

Curator Jeffrey Deitch at Coney Art Walls. May 23, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

The art walls are interspersed with colorful shipping containers that housed Red Hook Lobster Pound, Home Frites, Bon Chovie and several other Smorgasburg vendors last summer. The cafe tables and chairs amid the art walls were a welcome amenity in Coney Island where there is a dearth of public seating. Thor Equities is close to finalizing an agreement to bring a new food operator because Smorgasburg will not be sending its vendors to Coney Island in 2016. “Not this year for us,” Eric Demby, co-founder of Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg told ATZ.

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Smorgasburg vendors Blue Marble Ice Cream and New Yorkina in shipping container pop-ups at Coney Art Walls. May 23, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

Last year, Thor’s vacant lot across the street, bounded by Stillwell Avenue and West 12th Street, hosted a popular trapeze school, wrestling matches and other entertainments, and an outdoor cafe. A banner advertising the lot for lease went up in the middle of March. On Thursday, some heavy machinery was brought it to break up the asphalt, lending credence to the idea that we heard from the Coney Island Rumor Mill. A go kart track is said to be the next new thing there, and possibly a miniature golf course.

If it turns out to be true, it’s great news and proof that everything old is new again in Coney Island. Go karts and mini golf were among the amusements evicted by Thor CEO Joe Sitt when he first bought the property in 2007.

As for Thor Equities newly acquired properties on the Bowery, sources tell ATZ the mom and pop concessionaires and food operators got a new lease with only a slight rent increase – due in three payments– but the cost of their insurance policy has tripled. Please patronize Coney Island’s independent operators this summer!

Thor Equities lot

Thor Equities lot on West 12th Street may get a go kart track. March 10, 2016. Photo © Tricia Vita

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Thor Equities abandoned flea market on Stillwell Ave in Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Thor Equities abandoned flea market on Stillwell Ave in Coney Island. October 30, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

One month ago, ATZ asked “What is Joe Sitt planning for Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island 2010?” Still no word on Stillwell from Thor Equities, though Coney Island’s 40-plus rides and diverse attractions will open in just 20 days. Palm Sunday– March 28th this year— is the traditional season opener in Coney Island.

The Cyclone roller coaster, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, McCullough’s Kiddie Park and the Eldorado Bumper Cars are busy getting ready for the big day. In fact, the Eldorado as well as Paul’s Daughter, the Grill House and Gyro Corner on the Boardwalk were already open last weekend! Yet Thor Equities property on Stillwell, the gateway to Coney Island’s beach and Boardwalk, still looks like the ghost town of last summer’s failed flea market.

Here’s why: The Coney Island Rumor Mill says that Sitt is asking $500,000 for both sides of Stillwell and he wants all of the money up front!

According to sources, Sitt is not willing to negotiate on the amount either. This lack of flexibility doesn’t surprise us. Half a million is actually a 75 per cent reduction from Sitt’s original asking price! As ATZ reported last month, sources said several carnival and amusement park operators balked at Thor’s initial asking price, a cool $2 million for the two 50,000 square foot parcels.

New Sign on Stillwell. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

January 7, 2010: New Sign on Stillwell. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

Some of the interested parties were contenders in the City’s RFP for a Coney Island Amusement Operator, which was won by Zamperla. The Coney hopefuls who put in bids for Thor’s parcels were said to be balking at the slew of onerous lease terms such as a 30-day-vacate clause. (“Coney Island: Amusement Operators Balk, Money Talks at Stillwell,” Feb. 10, 2010).

Negotiations continue for carnival rides and a go kart track though rumor has it that one of the potential amusement operators told Sitt’s agent where to take his lease and shove it. Good negotiating strategy or goodbye Coney Island?

When all is said and the deal is done, we may see Geren Rides back on Thor’s property for the third year in a row. The Georgia-based carnival operator did after all buy a Schwarzkopf Wildcat roller coaster, Reverchon Himalaya and other rides last year with the intention of coming back to Coney.

UPDATE  March 10…Sources say amusement operators from Wildwood, New Jersey, are close to signing a 5-year lease with Sitt for a go-kart track on one of his Stillwell parcels.  If they ink the deal and if CAI/Zamperla goes ahead with their plan for go-karts on the City’s Stillwell parcels in 2011, Coney Island will have duelling go karts on the site of the much missed Coney Island Batting Range and Go Kart City.  Why not bring back the Batting Range? As one of our friends says, “I still miss the batting cages. Without a doubt, they were the best in the entire city. Watching the balls fly off your bat with the Wonder Wheel in the distance was a thing of beauty.”

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Related posts on ATZ…

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

February 10, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Amusement Operators Balk, Money Talks at Stillwell

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

June 4, 2009: Coney Island Ride Count: Veteran Ride Ops 40, Joe Sitt 10!

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Are you ready for a time warp tour of Coney Island’s Stillwell Avenue before Joe Sitt bought the property in 2006 and promptly turned it into “Thor Equities Corridors of Blight”? Welcome back to Coney Island Batting Range and Go Kart City! The other day ATZ discovered that the website of this popular and much missed Stillwell Avenue attraction lives on!

Before Thor: Batting Range at Coney Island Batting Range and Go Kart City

Before Thor: Batting Range at Coney Island Batting Range and Go Kart City on Stillwell East. Photo via coneyislandbattingrange.com

Largest Batting Range in NYC (9 Cages)

$2.00 for 14 Pitches
Open 11 am 7 days
Discount for Leagues
Gloves and Bats Sold at Discount Prices
See Your Balls Hit out into the Open Field
100% Accurate
Speeds from Underhand to 95mph

Voted #1 by New York Magazine

Never mind that Thor Equities evicted amusement operator Norman Kaufman and bulldozed the property to make way for “redevelopment” years ahead of the City’s rezoning. You can view photos of the batting range, go karts, bumper boats, mini golf course and climbing wall on the web and see what we’ve been missing! You’ll catch a glimpse of the Jumbo Jet, which was sold to China, and can print out discount coupons as a souvenir.

We want to stress that the ghostly Coney Island Batting Cage and Go Kart City website was not reached via the wayback machine. It is a live site despite the poignant farewell message: “Sad to announce we will not be open for the 2007 season!! Please look for us in the near future.Thank you for your support and business.”

Before Thor: Miniature Golf Course on Stillwell West. Photo via coneyislandbattingrange.com

Before Thor: Miniature Golf Course on Stillwell West. Photo via coneyislandbattingrange.com

This attractive mini-golf course was located on the west side of Stillwell behind the Grill House.

Miniature Golf
Challenging and fun for all ages.
2 Courses in 1.

The course design is very creative – with lots of mounding and varying elevations accented by rippling streams, waterfalls and colorful landscaping.
Sand traps and water hazards come into play on many of the holes to add a whole new element of excitement.

Before Thor: Bumper Boats on Stillwell East at Bowery. Photo via coneyislandbattingrange.com

Before Thor: Bumper Boats on Stillwell East at Bowery. Photo via coneyislandbattingrange.com

We miss the bumper boats and the games on the Bowery most of all. Tubs of Fun, the Balloon Dart and the other games in the Thor-owned Henderson Building were shuttered last summer.

Bump your butt off in the water!

Boats Hold up to 3 People

Each Boat Has an Automatic Water Gun so You Can Wet Your Friends on Hot Days And Explosions Just Make This Ride More Fun

No Age Limit

Before Thor: International Speedway on Stillwell. Photo via coneyislandbattingrange.com

Before Thor: International Speedway on Stillwell. Photo via coneyislandbattingrange.com

When the International Speedway Go-Kart track was bulldozed by Sitt in March 2007, it was widely viewed as a tactic to pressure the City to rezone for high rise condos in the amusement area. The New York Times said it “harked back to the bad old days of empty lots,” the Brooklyn Paper said “Coney Island looks like a bomb hit it,” and Amos Wengler wrote his protest anthem “Save Coney Island.”

Largest Go-Kart Track in NYC.
Represent different countries as you race around NY’s largest Go-Kart track.
54″ to ride. Too small? The speedway has 2 seaters for those young-ins’.

$6.00 for 10 laps
Race Each Other Around Turns and Bends
Age Limit 12 and up
2-Seat Passenger – 6 and up

Slick Track

$5 MON-FRI
$6 SAT-SUN
Fastest Karts in NYC.
Race on a Circular Track at High Speed and
Slide Around the Turns.
Age Limit – 15 and up.

On Stillwell Avenue, where the Tornado Roller coaster (1927-1977), the Bobsled (1941-1974), and Stauch’s Baths and Dance Hall (1930-1998) once stood, where Norman Kaufman’s Batting Range and Go Kart City amused the zillion until Joe Sitt emptied out the amusements, a question mark remains. As ATZ wrote last month, Sitt appears to be playing a high stakes game with amusement operators to lease what’s left of his Stillwell lots to the highest bidder. But sources say several carnival and amusement park operators have balked at Thor’s initial asking price, a cool $2 million for the two 50,000 square foot parcels. (“Thor’s Coney Island: Amusement Operators Balk, Money Talks at Stillwell,” Feb 10,2010)

The great news is the rest of Coney Island–more than 40 rides including the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel, plus 19 new rides from Zamperla in the brand-new Luna Park–will open this season on March 28 and May 29, respectively. CAI will bring Go-Karts, roller coasters and thrill rides to a new Scream Zone on the City’s recently purchased Stillwell parcels in 2011. This is cause for celebration.

Last Trace of Coney Island Batting Range and Go Kart City. April 16, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Last Trace of Coney Island Batting Range and Go Kart City. April 16, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

But what’s left of Sitt’s sandbox on Stillwell Avenue is a desecration of the amusement district. After four years of ownership, Thor Equities has erased all trace of amusements from the landscape with the exception of the Batting Range mural on the back wall of a Boardwalk building sold to the City. With Coney Island’s opening day just 27 days away, Thor Equities has yet to reveal plans for the 2010 season. ATZ recommends that Joey Coney Island get with the new program of “interim amusements” and bring in some rides including a Zipper ride to replace the one he evicted back in 2007!

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Related posts on ATZ…

February 11, 2010: Photo of the Day: NYCEDC Signs Herald New Coney Island Amusement Park

February 10, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Amusement Operators Balk, Money Talks at Stillwell

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

October 30, 2009: Video: Joe Sitt Talks Sharing his Coney Island Sandbox, Hotels & Brazil

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