Posts Tagged ‘New York’

Parrots Ride Wonder Wheel

Parrots Ride the Wonder Wheel, Coney Island. May 18, 2014. Photo via Facebook.com/SonnyMushy

On Sunday, ATZ chanced to meet these four Brooklyn parrots and their humans boarding Deno’s Wonder Wheel. Ronen, who is seen in the above photo posing with Sonny Mushy, a 12-year-old Amazon parrot, and Sky Mushy, gave us his card: “Exotic Birds — Training and Consultations.” He’s taken his birds to Coney Island before but it was their first time riding the Wheel. “Sky was a bit skittish. Sonny was okay, but all in all it was a good experience for them,” said Ronen, who brings the parrots outdoors to socialize them. “They’re pretty intelligent animals. They have the mind capacity of a five-year-old.”

Ronen and his friends are part of a new group called NYC Parrot Adventures. A video of their Sunday adventure, “Parrots Visit Coney Island,” is posted on YouTube by Michael Sazhin, who writes the Trained Parrot Blog. Sazhin brought Truman, a Cape parrot, and Kili, a Senegal parrot, to Coney Island for their second visit.

Truman made headlines last month when he went missing for 48 hours. The parrot was found in Canarsie, where he’d flown from Bensonhurst, a distance of six miles. In Coney Island, the parrots fly in avian harnesses. “They flew at the beach, ate at Nathan’s, played with loads of people, and took a ride on the historic Wonder Wheel, a Ferris Wheel landmark built in 1920,” Sazhin writes on his blog. “The birds had a fantastic time. Not only did they get sun and fresh air, but also an incredible socialization experience.”

As for parrots riding the Wheel, it’s not unusual to see dogs and other pets riding the stationary cars accompanied by their owners, usually on the park’s annual Pet Day, which is June 14th this year and includes a pet costume contest. In the contest’s first year, one of the winners was Miss Columbia’s parrot Rosita, who clasped the prize-winning season pass to the Wonder Wheel in her beak.

Rosita the Parrot

Rosita the Parrot and Miss Columbia, Pet Day at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, June 11, 2011. Photo via Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park


Related Posts on ATZ…

January 27, 2014: AC Boardwalk, Disneyland Have Model Programs for Feral Cats–Why Not Coney Island?

September 19, 2013: Photo of the Day: Coney Island Parakeets Go for a Walk

June 17, 2013: Photo of the Day: Paquito the Chihuahua in Coney Island

May 8, 2013: Traveler: The Cats of Rimini’s Italia in Miniatura Park

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Casinos Mean Jobs Sign at Astroland, 1978. Photo © John Rea, Courtesy of the Coney Island History Project. All Rights Reserved

Last week, when Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz called Coney Island “a natural” for casino gambling, and said it would bring jobs and revenue, he gave voice to what Coney Islanders with long memories have been talking about since Governor Cuomo proposed legalizing casino gambling in New York. It brings back memories of the late 1970s when “Casinos Mean Jobs- Let the People Decide” was the slogan of a group of Coney businessmen who lobbied Albany. Will the casino gold rush of that era, which finally ended when Governor Carey nixed the idea of a referendum, replay in Coney Island and set off another wave of real estate speculation?

A chapter in Charles Denson’s book Coney Island: Lost and Found vividly documents the “casino fever” that seized Coney after casino gambling was legalized in Atlantic City in 1976 and the New York State Legislature began studying the idea. A billboard saying “Welcome to Coney Island, The Perfect Resort for Casino Gambling” was put up by a local business group writes Denson, who worried that casino gambling would wipe out the amusement area and wouldn’t benefit the neighborhood. He notes that “for a brief period during 1979, the asking price for property on the Boardwalk rose from $3 to $100 per square foot.” Interviews with Horace Bullard, whose Shore Theater was said to have caught Frank Sinatra’s eye, as well as with Astroland owner Jerry Albert and realtor Charles Tesoro portray the “Casinos for Coney” mania that prevailed during a four-year period.

“It was crazy,” Tesoro told Denson. “Limousines would pull up with guys coming up to the office from Las Vegas, in silk suits, saying, ‘sell to us now, get us some property, we wanna get in!’ It was like a crazy house, like the gold rush…They’d sit at my desk and say, ‘Waddaya got? We want options on everything you got. Everything!’ They wanted options because if gambling didn’t go through, they’re out. But if gambling went through, they’d pay triple the asking price for the property.”

One of the reasons gambling didn’t go through was behind-the-scenes lobbying of politicians by the Trumps, who were already involved in Atlantic City, Tesoro and others say in Denson’s book.


Detail of the CIDC's Coney Island Retail Opportunities Map. Fall 2011. Green = Property for Sale, Blue = Property for Lease

For Sale

Coney Island for Sale: Detail of the CIDC's Coney Island Retail Opportunities Map

When we first read that Governor Cuomo proposed legalizing casino gambling in New York and Mayor Bloomberg said as long as New York City shares in the revenue, we bet Joe Sitt began dusting off his Vegas-y renderings for the south side of Surf in anticipation. And we imagined that the mostly vacant, fantastically high-priced properties for sale or lease in Coney Island would sit empty for another couple of years, until the referendum on casino gambling could be put to a vote. That won’t happen until November 2013 at the earliest.

Horace Bullard still owns the Shore Theater, which currently has an asking price of $13 million, and his Thunderbolt parcel, a three-acre development site next to the Cyclones stadium, is up for grabs too. On the north side of Surf, there are the infamous furniture stores in buildings with price tags of $5.4 million and $3.39 million. These sites are among the 24 privately owned properties for sale or lease on the CIDC’s map of Coney Island Retail Opportunities Fall 2011, now called Coney Island Property Opportunities Winter 2011-2012. Will the map morph into Coney Island Casino Opportunities in 2013?

Coney Island Property Map

Coney Island for Lease: Detail of the CIDC's Coney Island Retail Opportunities Map, Fall 2011

The Washington Baths property, which Bullard acquired during the casino gold rush and later sold to Joe Sitt, who in turn sold it to Taconic Investment Partners, which got it rezoned for high-rise condos, would make a dandy casino complex. The 5.5 blocks of vacant land is just west of MCU Park. Blackjack and Baccarat on the Beach? Taconic also has a 99-year lease on the landmarked terracotta palace on the Boardwalk that was once the Childs Restaurant.

The monkey wrench in the plan for a Coney casino is a possible demand by Genting, which already operates a racino at Aqueduct, to ask the state for exclusive rights to casino operations in New York City. However, Governor Cuomo’s spokesman told the Post, “There’s no agreement on exclusivity.”

The Associated Press reports Malaysia-based Genting spent more than $774,000 on New York lobbying in the first 10 months of 2011, or 10 times its total for 2010. Their lobbyist is SKDKnickerbocker, the same firm that represents Thor Equities, Mayor Bloomberg, and other high-powered clients. Coney Island has already been impacted, and not in a positive way, by Genting’s venture at Aqueduct. The displaced Aqueduct flea market vendors moved to Thor Equities Stillwell Avenue property last summer. Their dismal debut was billed as a “festival” because a flea market is not a permitted use in Coney Island’s amusement zone.

September 2005: Thor Equities rendering in NY Magazine's The Incredibly Bold, Audaciously Cheesy, Jaw-Droppingly Vegasified, Billion-Dollar Glam-Rock Makeover of Coney Island


Related posts on ATZ…

December 27, 2011: Amusing the Zillion’s Top 10 Coney Island News Stories of 2011

December 7, 2011: Jones Walk’s “Miss Coney Island” Shimmies Over to 12th St

November 15, 2011: Coney Island 2012: What’s New on the Boardwalk

May 16, 2011: Thor’s Coney Island: Aqueduct Flea Vendors Make Dismal Debut

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UPDATE January 2010…
All of the Coney Island kitties pictured below were adopted a few months ago and we don’t know of any Coney Island cat ladies looking for homes for any more CI kitties as of Jan 1, 2010. However….

ATZ came across the cutest Greenpoint kitties on our friend Miss Heather’s blog: “People are leaving cans of food out for these kittens. What they need is TLC and a home. Anyone interested in adopting these kittens should contact me via email at missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com. I’ll hook you up with the “owner” of these kittens.”

ATZ also recommends visiting www.petfinder.com, the virtual home of 290,884 adoptable pets from 12,973 adoption groups! You can browse through their database of pets in your area and look at photos and bios. We found our cat on petfinder and highly recommend the site!

Luna Park Kitty Needs Loving Home

Luna Park Kitty Needs Loving Home

I’m a genuine Coney Island Kitten, born & raised by a fine feline-loving family in Luna Park Houses . You can’t get any more Coney Island than that. Please adopt me! My brothers and sisters, too! Contact the humans via flickrmail or amusingthezillion[at]gmail.com

Rub my tummy, pleez!

Rub my tummy, pleez!

A few months ago ATZ helped find homes for some of these “Adorable & Adoptable: Genuine Coney Island Kittens.” If you would like an older kitten, this pretty, sweet-tempered cat is now nine months old….

Coney Island Kitten Up for Adoption

Coney Island Kitten Up for Adoption


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