The Fight for the Future of Coney Island


If you've been having a hard time keeping up with all the competing visions and infighting surrounding the future of Coney Island, The Times has a good overview of where things stand today. There are basically four visions:
1) Thor Equities: Developer Joe Sitt (the same one who wants to build an ugly mall on the site of the former Revere Sugar Refinery in Red Hook) has spent $100 million buying up property on and around the Coney Island boardwalk (and, more recently, shuttering decades-old businesses) in an attempt to create a Disney-like destination full of condos and time shares. The only problem for him: Current zoning doesn't permit these uses.
2) The City: Bloomberg et al want to create an L-shaped 9.4-acre, year-round entertainment destination (above) stretching along the boardwalk south of Surf Avenue; it would also create new zoning to allow a wide range of storefront entertainment (arcades, bowling alleys, breweries) to the north of Surf Avenue.
3) The Municipal Art Society: The influential non-profit argues that the City's plan is not ambitious enough. MAS is pushing for an amusement district three times as large as the City has called for with more iconic rides and attractions; it thinks hotels and housing should be a part of the plan but restricted to an area to the north of Surf Avenue.
4) Old schoolers and locals: Other stake holders include old-time business owners and preservationists who don't want to lose what was special about Coney Island and local residents who are concerned about issues like affordable housing and the short-term decimation of the local economy while everyone fights about what to do. “We might be looking at vacant lots for a long time to come,” said Charles Denson, executive director of the Coney Island History Project. “Everybody’s broke. These massive plans, these visions, don’t usually work. But I hope for the best.”
City and Developer Spar Over Coney Island Visions [NY Times]

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