Posts Tagged ‘Mayor Bloomberg’

B&B Carousell Letter

B&B Carousell Letter Being Raised Into Place. May 23, 2013. Photo © Charles Denson via Coney Island History Project flickr

The large-scale neon letters spelling B & B CAROUSELL with a double L, of course, went up on the historic ride’s new pavilion on the Boardwalk today. Charles Denson of the Coney Island History Project happened to be there to take this spectacular series of photographs. On Friday morning, the grand opening of Steeplechase Plaza and the return of the 1919 carousel to Coney Island will be celebrated by Mayor Bloomberg and other elected officials, local residents and invited guests. The carousel was saved from the auction block in 2005, when the Mayor came to Coney Island for a hastily arranged press conference to announce the City would purchase the ride for $1.8 million.

B&B Carousell Letter

B&B Carousell Letter Being Raised Into Place. May 23, 2013. Photo © Charles Denson via Coney Island History Project flickr

“Dozens of carousels have left Coney Island forever but the B&B Carousell is the only one to actually leave and come back,” said Denson, when the first restored horse was exhibited last May at the Coney Island History Project. B&B is short for Bishoff and Brienstein, who brought the carousel back home to Coney Island from New Jersey’s Bertrand Island in 1932. The frame was the work of Coney’s William F. Mangels Carousell Works and the carvings were done by Charles Carmel except for the lead horse by M.C. Illions. Jimmy McCullough and Mike Saltzstein owned and operated the ride since the 1970s. Welcome home to the B&B!

B&B Carousell Pavilion

B&B Carousell Pavilion. May 23, 2013. Photo © Charles Denson via Coney Island History Project flickr


Related posts on ATZ…

May 26, 2013: A Portrait of Abe Lincoln on Coney Island’s B&B Carousell

April 24, 2013: Photo Album: Coney Island April 2013 Construction Update

December 4, 2011: Brass Ring Dept: Coney Island “Carousell” RFP Up for Grabs

February 1, 2011: Bring Back the Whip! A Birthday Gift for William F Mangels

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Mayor Bloomberg in Coney Island

Mayor Mike Bloomberg and City Councilman Domenic Recchia Jr on the Coney Island Boardwalk. November 18, 2012. Photo © Bruce Handy/Coney Island Photo Diary via flickr

Tom’s Restaurant, which “soft-opened” in late September on the Coney Island Boardwalk, miraculously escaped damage from Hurricane Sandy and is one of the few restaurants open in the neighborhood. This morning, owner Jimmy Kokotas welcomed Mayor Bloomberg and Coney Island City Councilman Domenic Recchia for a breakfast meeting with the Alliance for Coney Island and Community Board 13. Coney Island photographer Bruce Handy was there and shared his set of photos via flickr. Seen in the photo below to the right of the Mayor are Dennis Vourderis, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park; Jimmy Kokotas, Tom’s Coney Island; Jon Dohlin, New York Aquarium and Judi Orlando, Astella Development. Nicole Robinson-Etienne, New York Aquarium and Valerio Ferrari and Alberto Zamperla, Luna Park, have their backs to the camera. The Mayor’s Office later tweeted: “Today the Mayor met with Coney Island small business owners to talk about rebuilding…”

Breakfast at Tom's

Breakfast Meeting at Tom’s Coney Island: Mayor Mike Bloomberg, City Councilman Domenic Recchia Jr with members of Alliance for Coney Island and Community Board 13, November 18, 2012. Photo © Bruce Handy/Coney Island Photo Diary via flickr

In the days after the storm, the newly formed Alliance launched the #ConeyRecovers initiative which has brought in hundreds of volunteers and dozens of partners to help with relief efforts in the community. Tom’s has been a hub of activity, serving as a command center for volunteers and a host for breakfast meetings about storm relief for local business owners. While the Boardwalk businesses were untouched by the storm and a few have managed to reopen, Ruby’s Bar does not have electricity and Paul’s Daughter and Lola Star Boutique lack meeting space. Though Tom’s opened near the end of the amusement park season, the restaurant is expected to initially remain open at least nine months of the year. If Tom’s hadn’t been here, the meetings of the past few weeks would have had to be held in another neighborhood since most of the other restaurants, from the original Nathan’s and Gargiulo’s to Dunkin Donuts and McDonald’s, remain closed due to flood damage.

Tom's Coney Island

Breakfast Meeting at Tom’s Coney Island with Alliance for Coney Island and Community Board 13, November 18, 2012. Photo © Bruce Handy/Coney Island Photo Diary via flickr


Related posts on ATZ…

November 9, 2012: Update on Coney Island’s Amusement Area After Sandy

October 31, 2012: Photo Album: Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath in Coney Island

October 29, 2012: Photos of the Day: Hurricane Sandy Approaches Coney Island

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CLOSED: Coney Island Souvenir Shop, 1987-2011. Its signs were put in the dumpster. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

One of Coney Island’s oldest Mom & Pops quietly went out of business after losing their lease due to Zamperla USA’s redevelopment of the City-owned Boardwalk. Coney Island Souvenir Shop, located next to Ruby’s Bar on the Boardwalk, was started 25 years ago by Tommy Suh. After he died last year, his wife Sue and their son Rob carried on the family business.

Last week in Coney Island, work crews were busy cleaning out whatever had been left behind by the evicted Boardwalk shops. It was sad to see the familiar red-and-white sign from the Souvenir Shop about to be rolled into a dumpster. A second sign was already inside, its yellow lettering peering over the top. For as long as we’ve been coming to Coney Island, the Suh family has been rolling these signs in and out of the shop at the beginning and end of the business day.

Mrs. Suh in her family's souvenir shop on the Boardwalk. Photo © Tricia Vita//me-myself-i via flickr

Mrs. Suh in her family's souvenir shop on the Boardwalk in happier days. April 1, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita//me-myself-i via flickr

Compared to Ruby’s or Paul’s Daughter, the closing of Coney Island Souvenir and the other small businesses on the Boardwalk attracted very little media attention. In Bloomberg’s New York City, seeing a shuttered store where a longtime business was yesterday is so common that it’s not newsworthy unless the place is a local legend or the last of its kind. Even the blog Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, which has paid tribute to hundreds of vanished places since 2007 couldn’t possibly cover them all. After looking up VNY’s first year-end tally— “Combined, we’ve seen close to 1,000 years of New York history vanish in 2007”– we didn’t have the fortitude to continue the count.

Last November, when the Boardwalk Mom and Pops were fighting their eviction, we first came across this 2009 article on the web: “New York Closes Shop” by small business advocate Stephen Null. It contains some stunning statistics on the number of small businesses that have closed during the Bloomberg administration:

A reliable way to evaluate the stability of New York City’s small business community is to examine the number of Commercial Warrants for Eviction. The majority of these warrants are issued to “holdover commercial tenants” whose leases have expired, and who can’t afford to pay the new, higher rent. The consensus of business organizations is that these warrants represent about one third of small businesses; the ones that stay and fight in court. The other two-thirds walk away without a fight.During what many consider the reign of terror for small businesses — 1986-1989, the last 4 years of Koch’s term — 17,433 warrants were issued to evict small businesses, out of approximately 53,000 total small business failures. During the last full four years under Bloomberg, 2005-2008, 27,809 warrants were issued to evict, with about 83,000 small businesses forced to close. Since the successful businessman Bloomberg took office, around 152,964 small businesses have been forced to go out of business.

Keep in mind Null’s article was published in August 2009 and the stats do not cover the last three years of the Bloomberg administration. Is anyone still keeping track? To these statistics, we add six of the original Coney Island 8: Coney Island Souvenir Shop, Steve’s Grill House, Beer Island, Shoot the Freak, Cha Cha’s and Gyro Corner Clam Bar.

Zamperla’s policy of squeezing out Boardwalk businesses through evictions and offering ridiculously expensive lease deals is counter to the Coney Island Development Corporation’s mission of encouraging the development and retention of existing businesses. If the Coney Island 8 hadn’t fought in court and won a one-year reprieve, it’s very likely we’d have a shuttered Boardwalk and a Miami restaurateur would be bankrupt. The CI8 did the City and Zamperla a favor.

Now let’s see if Ruby’s and Paul’s Daughter can afford to sign those leases that they were offered more than one month ago by CAI, operator of Zamperla’s Luna Park. Sources tell ATZ that negotiations were extended another two weeks. Nobody wants to see the last of the Boardwalk Mom & Pops join the sad statistics of small businesses forced to close during the Bloomberg administration.

souvenir shop

Closed: Coney Island Souvenir Shop, 1987-2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr


Related posts on ATZ…

November 13, 2011: The End of Paul’s Daughter As We Know It–Will They Return?

October 20, 2011: Reversal of Fortune on the Coney Island Boardwalk

March 3, 2011: The Lowdown on Sodexo’s Sweet Deal in Coney Island

November 1, 2010: Out With the Old in Coney Island: Only 2 of 11 Boardwalk Businesses Invited Back

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