Posts Tagged ‘lawsuit’

Landmark Childs Building

Landmark Childs Building, Coney Island Boardwalk. January 25, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

Tourists often ask “what are those ruins on the Boardwalk?” Some locals tell them the crumbling palazzo by the sea is an old bathhouse. The former Childs Restaurant building has been been vacant for so long, between stints as a chocolate factory, a roller rink, and a warehouse, most people have no memory of its glory days.

Last weekend, ATZ took these photos of the 1923 landmark, which is now in hibernation, awaiting restoration as part of a $53 million dollar City project. Terra-cotta fish and seashells and Neptune the god of the sea peek out from above the sidewalk shed and plywood fencing, which was recently installed around the property.

Childs Building, Coney Island Boardwalk

Detail of terracotta ornamentation on Childs Building, Coney Island Boardwalk. January 25, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

The construction of the shed and fencing and work on the floors are the only permits currently approved by the Department of Buildings. Several other permits are still listed as on hold pending the outcome of a lawsuit by the New York City Community Garden Coalition (NYCCGC) and the Coney Island Boardwalk Community Garden members vs the City and developer iStar Financial. The clerk for Judge Peter Sweeney, who got the case after a prior judge recused himself, told ATZ last week that the judge has not yet made a decision. At a hearing in December, Judge Sweeney asked both sides to submit briefs arguing for or against a jury trial.

“There is a chance that, given his willingness to bring the parkland issue before a jury, he might break up the case along its two issues and rule separately on each,” writes Aziz Dekhan on the NYCCGC’s website.”Or he might wait to rule on either issue until after he or a jury decides on the parkland issue.”

Former Community Garden on the Boardwalk

Site of former community garden adjacent to the Childs Building. January 25, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

The crux of the suit is the gardeners’ claim the land is public parkland and that the development project is an alienation of parkland without the required approval of the state legislature. In December 2013, the garden was razed without warning to make way for construction of the seating area for the amphitheater, which was initially expected to open in June 2015.

ATZ previously wrote about the project when it was under consideration (Clock Ticking on Plan for the Landmark Childs Building, September 25, 2013) and after the razing of the garden (Pre-Dawn Bulldozing of Coney Island Community Garden, December 29, 2013).


Neptune medallion on Childs Building, Coney Island Boardwalk. January 25, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

Designated a landmark nearly twelve years ago, on February 4, 2003, the building operated as a restaurant until the early 1950s. Childs was one of the largest restaurant chains in the country with 107 restaurants in 33 cities in the U.S. and Canada by the 1920s, but it was not a formula business. According to the Landmarks Preservation Commission report, the Boardwalk restaurant was designed specifically for Coney Island “in a fanciful resort style combining elements of the Spanish Colonial Revival with numerous maritime allusions that refer to its seaside location.”

UPDATE December 12, 2015:

What is going on here? The Boardwalk Community Garden lawsuit is on its third judge with no end in sight! On Monday morn, NYCCGC in court again vs the City and iStar.

Childs Building

Childs Building, Coney Island Boardwalk. January 25, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

Related posts on ATZ…

January 29, 2015: Coney Island 2015: Subway Cafe, Sushi Lounge, IHOP, Checkers, Johnny Rockets

January 19, 2015: An Historic First As Elected Officials Join Community’s Fight to Save Coney Island Boardwalk

December 20, 2014: Save the Boardwalk for Future Gens! Sign Brooklyn Pols Petition to Make it ‘Scenic Landmark’

September 13, 2013: Coney Island Always: Visiting the Big CI Year-Round

Read Full Post »

Public Design Commission Hearing

Public Design Commission Hearing on the Coney Island Boardwalk, March 12, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

UPDATE September 28, 2012…The date of the hearing is now set for Thursday, October 25th. According to an email from Rob Burstein, all of the other information- location, time, etcetera-mentioned below remains the same.

After the Public Design Commission’s shameful approval of the New York City Parks Department’s boondoggle of a Concretewalk, we’re happy to know the Coney Island Boardwalk will get its day in court next month. “We desperately need you and all of us to SHOW UP ON OCTOBER 4th OCTOBER 25!” wrote Rob Burstein of the Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance on Friday night in an email to supporters of keeping the boards in the Boardwalk. “Please take this one morning to stand — or in this case sit — with us, and collectively let’s once more attempt to save this beautiful icon!”

In July, the advocacy groups Friends of the Boardwalk and Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance along with neighborhood residents filed a lawsuit against the New York City Parks Department to stop the agency from replacing additional sections of the Coney Island Boardwalk with concrete and plastic wood. A ten-foot-wide Concrete Lane for so-called “emergency vehicles” and an adjoining Plasticwalk had been unanimously approved by the Public Design Commission for a pilot project in Brighton Beach. Sections of the Boardwalk in Brighton Beach and Coney’s west end near Sea Gate are already a Concretewalk. You can see what it looks like here and here and the photo below.


Section of Coney Island Concretewalk at West 36th Street near Sea Gate. June 22, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

According to Burstein’s email…

As most of you know, the law firm of Goodwin-Proctor is representing us in a lawsuit against the Parks Department. The suit alleges that they failed to perform the required environmental impact studies to assess the numerous negative impacts that their intended plan will have for our community and all who make use of the Boardwalk were it to be implemented, and asks that the Court compel them to do so before going forward.

We need a huge number of people to show up to achieve our desired effect. There are few times in life when by virtue of our presence we may affect the outcome of something we care deeply about. This is one of those times.”

The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, October 4th, starting at 9:45am. The case will be heard in Kings County Supreme Court at 360 Adams Street in downtown Brooklyn near the Court Street station. The Hearing Part number is 38 and the judge hearing the case is Martin Solomon. Burstein asks supporters to meet outside the hearing room at 9:30am sharp and then enter and sit together. “My cell phone number is 718-449-7017, in case you want to call me about something between now and the 4th, or on that day,” he says. “Please send me an email letting me know that you’ll be coming, robburstein@hotmail.com.”

Let’s hope the Supreme Court hearing room is bigger than the one at the Public Design Commission, which was not designed to accommodate the public. Many of us were left standing in the hall and missed some of the testimony. You can read ATZ’s report on that charade of a hearing in “The Coney Island-Brighton Beach Concretewalk Blues” (ATZ, March 22, 2012)

UPDATE September 11, 2012:

Is Maryland’s Ocean City, which has a new wood Boardwalk, more innovative than NYC? Read Todd Dobrin and Ron Bursteins’s op-ed in Monday’s New York Daily News. Dobrin and Burstein are founders of the two advocacy groups who are bringing the case against the Concretewalk to court.

Public Design Commission Hearing

Public Design Commission Hearing on the Coney Island Boardwalk, March 12, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr


Related posts on ATZ…

December 8, 2014: City Councilman’s Proposal to Landmark the Boardwalk Could Halt Concretewalk

July 13, 2012: Coney Island Boardwalk Advocates Sue Parks Department

March 9, 2012: The 10 People Who Will Decide the Fate of Coney Island Boardwalk

January 24, 2012: Parks Postpones Do-Or-Die Hearing on Coney Concretewalk

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: