What was supposed to be a big day on Coney Island is already a bit of a bust. Today marks the grand opening of Festival by the Sea, the summertime amusement park and flea market set up by developer Joe Sitt on the former Astroland (pardon us, Dreamland) and other parcels owned by Sitt's Thor Equities. The hyped attraction is supposed to serve as Sitt's proof that he knows what's best for Coney Island's redevelopment, but a funny thing happened on the way to the freak show: the Brooklyn Paper reports that half the rides haven't arrived and the vendors will be "exposed to the element because of a tent mishap." The Coney Island message board has been lit up with chatter that the city wouldn't issue certificates of occupancy for tents (here are some photos of the grounds as seen on Wednesday). According to a Thor spokesperson, the Festival won't truly be running at full speed until Memorial Day. Hopefully the list of vendors will diversify by then.
Meanwhile, Sitt's Coney Island nemesis—the City of New York—recently convened a Carney Dream Team of amusement industry experts to brainstorm on what a redeveloped permanent Coney Island amusement park might include, should Sitt's 10.5 acres of land ever get pried away. The Post reports some of the panel's recommendations:
The panel said 12 acres along the fabled boardwalk is sufficient space to build 30 new major amusements, including a roller coaster with a drop tower, water rides, a "House of Horror," other thrill rides, and rides suitable for kids.
Panelists also said there's no need for a theme park like Disney Land in Coney Island and that while Coney Island's history should be celebrated, the city shouldn't get stuck on preserving artifacts but rather focus on enhancing visitors' experience at an affordable price.
A Coney Island roller coaster that doesn't induce whiplash? Now that might be the craziest Coney idea yet!