Coney Expansion OKd, But Protestors Want More

The City Planning Commission's near-unanimous approval of a plan to make Coney Island more entertaining didn't seem to amuse everybody Wednesday.

The 12-0-1 vote gives the green light to expand the entertainment and amusement district of Coney East. One of the voters abstained because she wasn't present.

Those who were present, however, included protestors arguing that the expansion doesn't go far enough. While more entertainment options and amusement attractions will add jobs to the immediate area, activists from New York Jobs With Justice protested that there's no guarantee of affordable housing and friendly wages for those who do get hired there.

A city spokesperson said 4,500 new housing units are included in the expansion plan, 900 of which are described as affordable. Twenty thousand temporary construction jobs are estimated, as are another 6,000 permanent jobs for the amusement district.

"Redeveloping Coney Island without including a significant amount of affordable housing would leave low- to middle-income New Yorkers with fewer housing choices and put current residents at risk of losing their homes," protestor Carmen Gonzalez said. "As residents of Coney Island, we want our children to be able to afford to live here in the future. Any redevelopment must include a significant portion of affordable housing.”

Though summer seems to be arriving late this year, the Mermaid Parade is still on the schedule for Saturday, followed by Father's Day on Sunday, making for a busy weekend at Coney.

"Everything is set up for this to be a record-breaking weekend," Coney merchant Anthony Berlingieri told The New York Post. "But if the forecasts hold up and it rains, it hurts the parade, and people who go to the circus are not going to be hanging around to see the rest of Coney Island."

And just two weeks later, on July 4, the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest will likely bring another capacity crowd to the boardwalk.

The full city council is expected to vote on the plan this summer.

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