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Posts Tagged ‘live music’

The New Childs Restaurant

The New Childs Restaurant on the Riegelmann Boardwalk, August 1924. Eugene L. Armbruster Collection, New York Public Library

Earlier this week, NY1 reported the excellent news that the City plans to develop the former Childs Restaurant building on the Boardwalk and an adjacent lot into an entertainment complex. It will be the new home of Borough President Marty Markowitz’s popular Seaside Summer Concerts. First we felt surprise, since the building was not on the market, and then a mixture of elation and relief.

It’s been sad to see Coney Island’s terracotta palace by the sea boarded up for the past few years after being enlivened by the Mermaid Parade Ball and Lola Star’s Dreamland Roller Rink. Yet it’s hard to pass by without taking photos of its ornamental ships, seashells, fish and King Neptunes. When a tourist recently tweeted a photo describing the Childs as “the ruins,” we didn’t have the heart to respond. The 1923 Spanish Colonial Revival style building was designated a City landmark in 2003.

Terra-cotta

Detail of terracotta ornamentation on Childs Building. July 30, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Luckily, the City has the funds to bring the building back to life since the Borough President will be able to use $50 million already set aside for a $64 million amphitheater in Seaside Park that was halted by a lawsuit. This is great news because if the money wasn’t spent by the time his third term ends in December 2013, it would go back into the public coffers and be lost to Coney Island.

Taconic Investment Partners, which owns approximately four blocks west and north of MCU Park, also holds a 99-year lease on the Childs building. The NY1 report didn’t say whether the City would acquire the lease from the development company or buy the building from the owner. Back in 2007, Brooklyn’s blogfather Bob Guskind described Taconic as “Coney Island’s Sleeper Megadeveloper” and it’s still an apt description. The developer began buying property in 2005 but has yet to develop anything in Coney Island.

“Taconic is in the process of evaluating the economics of a planned development for some or all of our holdings,” according to a web page about their “Coney Island, North and South Ventures.” That’s been the message for the longest time, probably because the economy and inadequate infrastructure put a dent in their plans. The 2009 rezoning allows Taconic to build nearly 2,000 residential units and more than 200,000 square feet of retail west and north of MCU. A restaurant and catering hall were part of the original plans for the Childs building. Dreamland Roller Rink operated rent-free for two years until 2010, when the high cost of insurance caused Taconic to shutter the space.

Dreamland Roller Rink

Lola Staar’s Dreamland Roller Rink. August 2, 2008. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

According to NY1, the lot west of the building will also be developed as part of the entertainment complex. The City-owned lot is the community garden pictured below. Right now it’s filled with tomatoes and sunflowers. Taconic owns the land east of the building, the former Washington Baths site. Thor Equities bought the vacant lot from Horace Bullard for $13 million and then flipped it to Taconic for an exorbitant $90 million because both parties were sure the City would rezone it for residential.

The Washington Baths site has been the temporary home of the Seaside Concert Series for the past two summers and for the Ringling Circus in 2009 and 2010. During the rest of the year, it is used as a school bus parking lot.

UPDATE September 26, 2013:

The City’s plan to convert the former restaurant into an amphitheater for live concerts is now working its way through City Planning and the City Council approval, though it was voted down by the community board. “Clock Ticking on Plan for the Landmark Childs Building,” ATZ, September 25, 2013.

community garden

Coney Island Community Garden adjacent to Childs Building. July 30, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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Brooklyn-based band Barefoot Walking’s first music video “Mermaid Day Parade” was filmed on Coney Island’s beach, Wonder Wheel and Sideshows by the Seashore’s stage. The song is from their first album “Running with Sprinklers,” which was released last year. On June 18th at 8pm, after the Mermaid Parade, lead singer Livia Beasley and the band will be singing their songs at Cha Cha’s, the “Home of Wild Women and Wise Guys” on the Coney Island Boardwalk.

Cha Cha’s Mermaid Day Party begins at 3:30 pm with Killer Joe’s classic rock and blues. Frederick the Victorious takes the stage at 7 pm. $5 cover charge pays for first drink.

Also on the Mermaid weekend schedule at Cha Cha’s: Punk Rock Show with 11 bands on Sunday, June 19th, from 2-10 pm. No cover, no minimum.

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Coney Island’s amusement rides reopen for the season on Palm Sunday, March 28. We’re already counting the days! But Coney Island the neighborhood is open year round. ATZ’s calendar of upcoming events includes a Save Coney Island meeting and country bluegrass jamboree fundraiser, live music at Footprints Cafe and the Freak Bar, and much more. The New York Aquarium, Nathan’s, Williams Candy and Coney Island Beach Shop are among the businesses that are open every day. During the winter, the Beach and the Boardwalk remain a popular destination for residents and visitors, including photographers, walkers, joggers, cyclists and even swimmers–if you happen to be a Polar Bear!

THURSDAY, JANUARY 21

Public Meeting on the Future of Coney Island sponsored by Save Coney Island

Info and discussion about efforts to landmark historic buildings such as Nathan’s and prevent the permanent reduction of the size of the amusement area. Learn about initiatives underway to bring in additional amusements for the 2010 season and other key projects to revive the amusement area as the Playground of the World.

January 21, 7:30 pm, Save Coney Island Meeting, St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Coney Island, 2801 W. 8th Street, Coney Island (F train to Neptune Ave)

Footprints round robin

TUESDAY, JANUARY 26

Arabian Knights Round Robin at Footprints Coney Island

Footprints Cafe, one of our favorite places to dine in Coney Island, just happens to be open year round and has live music on weekends. Sign up for their e-news to find out about upcoming special events like Brooklyn’s premier Round Robin on Tuesday, January 26. The round robin is held at over 18 bars and lounges in Brooklyn at a different location every week. This year’s theme Arabian Knights includes an appearance by a belly dancer. Pop/reggae singer Primadonna is the evening’s featured performer. ATZ highly recommends the seafood and vegetarian dishes on the cafe’s Caribbean fusion menu. Everything is carefully prepared with the freshest ingredients and always delish.

January 26, 9 pm until, Arabian Knights Round Robin at Footprints Cafe, 1521 Surf Ave between 15th & 16th Sts, Coney Island, 718-265-2530. No cover, no minimum. (B, D, F & Q trains to Stillwell Ave)

country in coney

SATURDAY, JANUARY 30

Gone Country for Coney: Save Coney Island Benefit

Country bluegrass jamboree and Wild West variety show featuring five bands–Animal Pharm, Central Valley Wildfire, Rob Hecht, Pinataland and Citigrass. Plus the Prospect Cowgirls dancers, burlesque show and food from Jake’s BBQ.

Proceeds from the fundraiser benefit Save Coney Island’s advocacy efforts on behalf of the People’s Playground. Tickets are $20, $15 till 5 p.m.

January 30, 3- 9:30 pm, Save Coney Island Benefit at Galapagos Artspace, 16 Main Street at Water Street, DUMBO. (A & C trains to High, F to York)

Vintage Mermaid Parade Poster

SUNDAY, JANUARY 31

Apres Polar Bear Swim: Live Music by Canonball at the Freak Bar

After the weekly Polar Bear Club Swim at 1 pm, the Bears and friends will adjourn to Coney Island USA’s Freak Bar for brunch and live music by Canonball. This is the band that rock and rolled on the Boardwalk in front of Ruby’s on New Year’s Day. Bagels, cream cheese, coffee, espresso and cappucino will be available for purchase at this Sunday’s Polar Bear Brunch at
the Freak Bar.

The Coney Island Museum and Gift Shop at CIUSA are also open. Where else can you find a vintage Mermaid Parade poster or a Madame Twisto Tee? Winter hours are Saturday and Sunday, 12-5 pm.

January 31, 1:30-5 pm, Canonball at Coney Island USA’s Freak Bar, Coney Island USA, 1208 Surf Ave, Coney Island. No cover, no minimum. (B,D, F, Q trains to Stillwell Ave)

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June 11, 2009: Coney Island Amusement Advocates Rally for More Acreage for Outdoor Rides

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