Coney Island master historian and connoisseur, Charles Denson stepped into the New York Times City Room to answer questions on the preservation of Coney Island. In the first set of questions; July 15th 2009, Mr Denson answered questions on Coney's future appearance and the likelihood of its looming gentrification. According to his answers, Mr. Denons believes the city is playing a game of chance with the community.
Although I was an early supporter of the city’s efforts to revitalize Coney Island, I believe that the final plan has deteriorated into a “razzle.” A “razzle” is carny lingo for a complex carnival game, a flashy display designed to confuse or deceive its players. The Bloomberg administration and Thor Equities, the developer that recently bought up most of the amusement zone, seem to have mastered the razzle, and they’re using the technique to peddle their opposing Coney Island redevelopment plans to the public. Both entities claim that their primary goal is the restoration of the neighborhood to its former glory, but both use conflicting numbers and misleading architectural rendering to obscure what is actually at stake in Coney Island: the possible destruction and gentrification of one of New York’s last diverse neighborhoods. In the second set, July 16th 2009, Charles responds to concerns with the outer west parts of Coney Island by stating, "This is the trickle-down theory of neighborhood gentrification: maybe some of it will rub off on West End residents, maybe not".
How does the current zoning for Coney Island supposedly impede a renaissance of Coney Island, asks a poster? Mr. Denson replies, "The city’s rezoning rhetoric claims that the current C7 amusement zoning is too restrictive to allow redevelopment of the amusement area. The main use that C7 forbids is residential development, and this is what has kept Coney Island from disappearing altogether. There would be absolutely nothing left of Coney Island amusements if not for C7 zoning".
Charlie will be answering the last set of questions today, so go to the City Room and post your questions at the bottom in the comment section. Pose your questions to Charles Denson on the preservation of Coney Island's magnificent history.
Labels: Charles Denson, New York Times