The surprise announcement yesterdaythat the city bought part of Deno's Wonder Wheel Park for $11 million, a parcel of land that had been said to be "in contract" to developer Joe Sitt and Thor Equities hasn't gone unnoticed. In Coney Island terms it is the equivalent of the city chopping up a body leaving Mr. Sitt with the head (Astroland) and the ass and legs (two big lots around Stillwell Avenue) while keeping the torso for itself. The city has four of the nine acres that it wants for its "world-class" amusement park. (Itself a bone of contention among those who expect the originally-announced 16-acre park.) Here is some react to the outflanking of Mr. Sitt by Bloomberg Adminstration aparatchiks:
1) Apparently, Thor let the contract for the land lapse and one source says of Mr. Sitt: "I bet he's fuming right now." [NYP]
2) The land was owned by the Ward Family Trust. The family grandfather, William Ward, owned a hotel, bathhouses, a carousel and roller coaster in Coney starting in the 80s. Ward Realty CEO Christopher McGratty said: "It was to ensure the permanent legacy of Grandpa Ward...Joe Sitt had different plans." Burn! [NYDN]
4) "One imagines the person responsible for the screw up being blindfolded and taken out and shot on the roof of Thor corporate headquarters. "Oh, please, Mr. Sitt, I thought the deadline was November 10, not October 10. It said so right in the email ." Sound of fire squad cocking weapons and Mr. Sitt screaming, "Shoot the son of a bitch now, before I strangle all of you." [GL]
5) "This is fantastic. Sitt's dream of building a high rise in front of the Wonder Wheel thwarted. Honestly I'm shocked that in this economy that the city plunked down 11 million for an acre of land but this means they are serious. Sitt's empire will crumble. He doesn't have the backers for his project. Face it Joey, it's time to sell and move on. The people will finally respect you if you do the right thing. Let's get back to reality now. All of the plans proposed are unrealistic." [fixconey/Coney Island Message Board]
6) "This is all pointless if the city designates the property as park land. The Parks Department have in the past acted worse that Joe Sitt. They had evicted all amusements from the Steeplechase property and kept it vacant for about a decade. The Parks Department would rather use property in Coney Island for other purposes than amusements, hence the rarely open ice skating rink." [switchback/Coney Island Message Board]
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