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Coney Island Merry-Go-Round
June 18th, 2007

Joseph Sitt, the developer who bought the land in and around Coney Islands famed Astroland, has a new plan for this legendary patch of real estate. And to comply with the citys wishes, it does not include luxury condos, the Times reports today. All in all, Sitt says its a plan for everyone: Were asking for motherhood, motherhood. Apple pie, Chevrolet and Coney Island.

But the proposal seems unlikely to mollify those concerned about Coney Islands character (and characters). As Curbed describes it, Thor has scrapped the apartment buildings in favor of three high-rise hotels, including time shares, to go along with the new water park, amusements, restaurants, shops, movie theaters and everything else that will be coming to Coney Island sometime this century.

Robert Lieber, president of the citys Economic Development Corporation (parent of the Coney Island Development Corporation), has described the new plan as a wolf dressed up as a sheep. Liebers comments cant be good news for Sitt, chief of Thor Equities, since he needs the citys rezoning and financial help to make his plan a reality.

A Coney Island blog called Kinetic Carnival also has concerns. Some of the proposed buildings, it says, look like Donald Trump style boxes with windows. The blog questions whether there will be enough business to support the three hotels called for in Sitts plan and writes, Why time-shares? Isnt that similar to condos. Theyre still residential.

But Brownstoner sees the once glittery, now somewhat seedy seaside retreat as posing a challenge to developers Thor Equities or anyone else. The key to any plan for the area is finding a way to make Coney Island a year-round destination, it writes. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see how to accomplish that while maintaining the old-school vibe for which so many New Yorkers feel nostalgia.

For more on changes at Coney Island see Coney Islands Summer of Reckoning. And to find out how some Boardwalk stalwarts see the possible changes, click here.

By on June 18, 2007, 10:56 am
In category: Gotham City,Land Use,Waterfront | 3 Comments »

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