(Cristian Fleming - editorial cartoonist)
Last week the launch of the seven-month public review process for Coney’s rezoning set off the buzz that Nathan’s Famous hot dog eatery was threatened of being devoured because it sits on land that will become highly valuable when the rezoning for Coney redevelopment happens. Somewhere, almost hidden, in the draft of the environmental impact statement released by the city last week states:
The report, referring to “impacts” of the rezoning of Coney Island, indicates that Nathan’s Famous “is assumed to be replaced under the proposed actions with a new building containing hotel, amusement, retail and enhancing uses.”
But Andrew Brent, a spokesman for the mayor, said that Nathan's is not leaving for now. He said, “Nathan's is one of Coney’s treasured assets, and its continued success on its current location is absolutely a part of the administration's plan to grow and revitalize the amusement district."
Other buzz is that the rezoning could have the eatery expand with "possibly a sit-down restaurant, catering facility or even a hot-dog ride."
Ruby’s Host posts on CIUSA board
Nathans already had designs for 15 stories, of which part would be condos. They are planning on using the first 3-5 floors for Nathan’s expansion like; in-house seating, a mini museum for Nathan’s history and for the eating contest.
But above all the hoopla, chairperson for Nathan’s Famous, Eric Gatoff wrote a letter to the Gowanus Lounge blog and had this (in part) to say to GL:
....we believe the information relating to Nathan’s is being misinterpreted and that there is no intention to replace or demolish our flagship location. In fact, the Coney Island Development Corporation’s own drawings of its intended redevelopment continue to show Nathan’s Famous in the same location on which it has stood for 93 years, on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues, at the front door to the “People’s Playground.”
But if you gave a sigh a relief – wait – because Coney Island USA director Dick Zigun says: The historic building is, YES INDEED, very very very threatened by this zoning plan.
The rezoning creates enormous economic pressure on the Handwerker Family to demolish the current building when the lease is up in 20 years. The city is economically encouraging (almost forcing) the family to upgrade to a 15 story building with a new home for the Nathan's Restaurant. The city has shown NO RESPECT for the historic building where fast-food was invented. The city should be zoning for a tall building BEHIND the current two story structure.
Understandable is the importance to keep the building's character and history by landmarking but then again...why? Nathan’s is a simple two story building which can't be seen because it’s covered with billboards. It will not blend in with a sprouting new Coney around it. Sure there is plenty of space in the lots behind it to go up but adding another a few more stories above it with new billboards (for a Nathan's expansion) would fit in nicely (keeping the same logo and design) with its future surroundings. Okay okay...keep the first floor because we want to keep the original intact.
As worry of Nathan’s iconic signature for Coney was threatened, others were busy vanishing from Coney forever like Gregory & Paul’s long standing food stand on the corner of Surf Avenue and W. 10th street across from the Cyclone – as it was auctioned off. Their stand on the boardwalk, however, will most likely be open this summer as some reports indicate.
The Astroland rocket sat quietly in the almost-vacant Astroland lot until Wednesday when it was announced that Astroland was donating it to the city for Coney’s future.
Well, since Belgium porn was expelled from the future of Coney Island by Davina Cukier who decided to sell the domain left to lapse by Thor Equities, it appears she gave up and the hosting company put up a generic page.
And finally, left for birds was the 6 million dollar potato chip that nobody wants for the amphitheater at Asser Levy Park made its rendering debut. The public’s opposition to Marty Markowitz plans for the theater grows.
Coney Island Nathan's in Danger Under Bloomberg Plan [Eatery]
Coney Offensive Begins, But Nathan's Dogged By Questions [Curbed]
Nathan’s Calls BS on Talk of Demolition [Gowanus Lounge]
Nathan's Staying at Coney Island, At Least [Village Voice - runnin's scared]
Coney Is. Plans Bites Nathan's [NY Post]
Hot Dogs To Go Go -Brooklyn May Lose Original Nathan's [Brooklyn Hall of Fame]
Dick Says Nathan’s Could Go to the Dogs [Gowanus Lounge]
City Saving Astroland Rocket (In Space Saving Vacum Bag) [Neil deMause - The Website]
Astroland, Gone But Not Forgotten [the Architects Newspaper Blog]
Coney Island's Rocket ride saved for new NYC park [Antiwar Newswire]
Coney Residents: Asser Levy Alone! [The Brooklyn Paper]
How to Have Fun with Boring Planning Maps [Gowanus Lounge]
Future of Coney Island Farce Continues & Get Curiouser [Gowanus Lounge]
After 6-Ton Donation, Astroland Rocket Sets a Course for Re-entry to Coney Island [NY Times]