Friday, December 29, 2006

Year-End HOOPLA !

photo by Harbor Arts (
Homegrown Brooklyn Weed: Sex-Crazing Drug Menace in Coney Island and Dumbo [Gowanus Lounge]

More Coney year-end wrap-ups from Gowanus Lounge:

Gowanus Lounge gives good cheers for 'best new ideas and things' to the ligthing of the Parachute Jump; calling it subtle but "we love it". Also to the NY Aquarium makeover calling them excellent visions..."let's get on with it".

As for some of the top 2007 Brooklyn Development Battles, GL points to Sitt and Company; "Will Mr. Sitt
get his way? Or will the community have a say? Stay tuned"

Among the most threatened Brooklyn Landmarks, GL speculates about the Wonder Wheel. "Protected in theory, but
a sneak attack by Thor Equities is not out of the question".

As part of the top ten stories GL states the following excerpt: "Coney Island Plan/Sale of Astroland. Developer
Joe Sitt's plans for Coney Island continued to develop with a number of iterations making the rounds in 2006. Most significantly, Mr. Sitt purchased Astroland, which will close at the end of the 2007 season, and began the process of evicting tenants on land he's already bought, making 2006 the last year before a long period of demolition, emptiness and construction. It remained very difficult to know what to make of the Coney plan, although Thor is best known as a developer of urban shopping centers and its Coney plan includes up to four 40-story highrises along the boardwalk."

And finally Kinetic Carnival is proud to be considered by GL as one of the top new Brooklyn blogs of 2006

And excerpt from the Daily News from their Brooklyn 2006: Pictures, places and people to remember
Coney's last ride
It was the end of an era for coney island and its ragtag, honky-tonk flavor as developer thor equities began squeezing out longtime tenants of the amusement mecca. first, more than a dozen businesses, including the owners of batting cages, go-carts and carny games, were told to pack up by the end of the year. But tempers really flared in November when the owners of Astroland, the neighborhood's oldest and largest park, announced they had sold the 3-acre site to thor.
by Jotham Sederstrom

Heroes, villains & a big stink [NY DailyNews]

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Thor May Bring The Circus To Town......Year-Round!

According to various reports as stated in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Thor Equities has been in talks with The Big Apple Circus. Philip Thurton, public relations manager for Big Apple Circus said, “They [Thor] approached us. We’ve had a couple of talks — you could call them preliminary talks — but there is no plan. Nothing has been decided.”

Circuses were always part of Coney in one way or another. Small ones were held in Steeplechase and Luna Parks. Upon hearing that Thor wants to bring a circus back to Coney Island, CIUSA curator/CIDC board member, Dick Zigun said, “That’s terrific. I love it.”

In addition to The Big Apple Circus, and according to various sources as of which has not yet been confirmed Thor has not only communicated with Viacom's Nickelodeon but Disney as well.

If any of this is true, then it seems that Sitt and Thor Equities must be a bit confused in what to make of Coney's new amusement "extension". Earlier in the year they hired Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects to help transform ten acres along the boardwalk - culminating in a series of renderings released throughout the summer depicting a flashy stretch of Coney main-street at the foot of high towers. Later hiding the towers and throwing in a weaving generic roller coaster. Then there were preliminary talks with kid network Nickelodeon about the family resort that was declined for Governor's Island. Now, just last week it seems the slate has been erased (for the amusement "extension") for something different when Thor announced in a Community Board 13 meeting that hey hired a top amusement designer and producer, ThinkWell to conjure up a new dream for Coney. What, if any, talks with Disney is taking place surely seems far fetched. Especially since there is little room to play with when it comes to anything Disney - except for retail or a single attraction.

With all the probing for partners and artist consulting Thor is doing, nothing definite yet seems to be shaping up. And that's perhaps because Thor yet doesn't know how the ground under them will shape up to be. The city still needs to approve the rezoning needed as part of the Coney Island Development Corporation’s (CIDC) effort to convert Coney into a year-round destination. “Until Thor gets the city approval, no one is ready to put down money or commit yet,” said Jake Lynn, a representative for Thor Equities. The property owned by Thor is zoned for low-density commercial and outdoor amusements only and not for high rises to be built on as hotels or condos - the components Thor keeps pressing is needed for revenue and year-round possibilities. And perhaps a component many are now beginning to accept as making sense.

The main worry has been whether Thor's
intentions are for the benefit of Coney's past, present, and future spirit.

Thor in Talks with Big Apple Circus;Could Bring Big Top Back to Coney [Brooklyn Daily Eagle]
Can see full article here on CIUSA bulletin board (Courtesy of Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Thor Hires Entertainment Design Firm

Things may be starting to look brighter now that Thor has called upon the imagineers to do the dream work. It's a matter of time before the release of some concrete master planning. Hopefully, they will inspire and enthrall us!

In an Economic Development Committee meeting held last week at Community Board 13 many leading local civic leaders gathered and asked questions that have been looming amongst Thor skeptics at their Coney redoing.

Thor Equities spokesperson Lee Silberstein announced that they have retained one of the world’s foremost destination designers and producers to help make their Coney amusements the state-of-the-art, year-round destination they have been proposing.

First up, as soon as the 2007 summer season ends, will be an aesthetically appealing fence around the future amusement site in preps for construction and taking the advantage to create promotion and buzz.

Courier Life reported:

The firm, ThinkWell Design and Productions, envisions, develops and manages some of the top theme parks, museums, sports franchises, casinos and hotels in the world. Among its clients are Universal Studios in Japan and Florida and Cirque de Soleil worldwide.

Among the key questions on everybody’s lips for Silberstein was Thor’s plan for residential housing on the amusement area site which is all currently zoned C-7, meaning for amusements only. Silberstein responded that a limited amount – hundreds and not thousands -- of residential units would be developed on a new street tentatively called Front Street between the Bowery and the Boardwalk. The housing component is important for a 365-day, 24/7 district for the same reason it is being utilized in the Brooklyn Bridge Park development – to help pay for the project.

Silberstein also argued that the residential could be strong enough to help pay for some of the amusement area that won’t pay for itself. “You cannot build roller coasters, carousels and indoor water parks in an urban setting and expect it to generate enough revenue to pay for itself,” said Silberstein. “If it did I don’t think Coney Island would be in the position it is in today.”

Skeptics at the meeting inquired what kind of people would want to live in the middle of an area that has 250,000 people flooding the area on a hot summer day. Silberstein responded that many people love living in the heart of everything such as Times Square. “If we’re wrong about that, then we got the problem,” he said.

Another person at the meeting asked about the height of any development, stating nothing should be talker than the Parachute Jump, the Wonder Wheel or the Cyclone, which are all Coney Island landmarks.
Silberstein responded that such thinking goes against the very nature of Coney Island where amusement developers were always doing bigger, better and brasher. “If people have an attitude that height was a problem, the Parachute Jump would have never been built,” he said. Silberstein did say that any design would allow for view corridors of the Wonder Wheel, Cyclone and Parachute Jump. Silberstein did not have any date when an actual project plan would be submitted, which the
city could then act on and begin a rezoning process.

Though Deno’s Wonder Wheel co-owner Dennis Vourderis has been dubious about the residential components, it seems he is starting to sway in favor of it - as probably most of the public will – that residential and retail is needed as a supplement to the amusements since the amusements can not support the project on their own. Though Thor is always calling it ‘an extension’ of the amusements, let’s hope they really don’t intend it as amusements being the extension of the residential.

It also looks like they mean to go high. As for those desiring to live in a Times Square setting - They'd most likey rather be on the higher floors, well away from the noise. So, it seems that the luxury high rises are their intentions.

Now it’s up to ThinkWell to start dreaming up the future of Coney.

Coney Set For Theme Pk Stamp - Top Designers Tapped to Reimagine ‘People’s Playground’ [Courier Life]

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Other Player On The Boardwalk To Dish It Out At The New Child’s Restaurant

Joe Sitt and his Thor Equities will be joined on the boardwalk by Charles Bendit and his Taconic Investment Partners. Having done recent business together they will be doing further business side by side in the New Coney. The only thing between them will be the Cyclone Stadium. Taconic, a real estate investment firm with properties across the country, recently acquired two important parcels west of the stadium: the lot next the park and the Child’s Restaurant building.

As reported by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:
Taconic signed a 49-year lease for the Child’s two-story building with an open-air mezzanine in August, with the option to extend the lease or purchase the property if the landlord decides to sell. That same month, the company acquired from the City Investment Fund, at no recorded cost, the 168,000-square-foot lot across the street, where the Washington Bathhouse once stood.

“We are developing our plan for Child’s right now,” said Bendit, co-founder of Taconic. “I think ultimately, we’d like to restore it to what it once was, which was a food-type enterprise,” with possibilities including a combination of a restaurant, market and catering service. “I think [plans for the lot] are really going to be predicated on what the EDC and the city come up with.” Bendit added that he didn’t want to go into specifics about Taconic’s wishes for the site before the city made its final zoning determinations. But according to Recchia, housing is definitely on the table.

The Fund bought the lot in June for $90 million from Thor Equities — $77 million more than Thor had paid for the property only a year earlier. The move has been criticized by some locals as a sign that Thor CEO Joseph Sitt also intends to flip the 13 acres he’s been buying up between KeySpan Park and the New York Aquarium.

Founded in 1997, Taconic Investment Partners is a fully integrated real estate investment company that acquires office and multifamily properties. The firm also manages its own properties and provides asset and property management, leasing and financial reporting services.

(can see full article here on CIUSA BBS {Courtesy of Brooklyn Daily Eagle}

InTENT For Year-Round Amusements?

The city may be intent, on forcing...uhum...rather encouraging any amusement operators to go year-round.....or sell - but how and how much? The how much is obviously too much (An option even too steep for the Astroland's Albert family) and the how has not exactly been explained by the developer that claims everything will be year-round by 2012 or so. Perhaps one solution is a plan going up in Central Asia.

Found on Gowanus Lounge and originally reported on BBC News; A 500 foot tent or dome is planned for Astana, capital of Kasakhstan and designed by UK architect Norman Foster. The tent which will be made of special material that absorbs sunlight to create the effect of summer inside it will be built in just over a year.

BBC reports:
Underneath, in an area larger than 10 football stadiums, will be a city
with squares and cobbled streets, canals, shopping centres and golf courses.
The idea is to recreate summer, so that when the outside temperature is

-30C, the residents of the Kazakh capital can play outdoor tennis, take boat
rides or sip coffee on the pavement cafes.
Called Khan Shatyry, the project
is designed by Lord Foster, who has recently built a giant glass pyramid in
"Nothing of the sort has been done before, and from the engineering
point of view it's an extremely difficult project," says Fettah Tamince, the
head of Turkey's development company Sembol that is building the tent.
Tamince is nevertheless confident the company can complete the construction in
just 12 months.

The architect firm further explains what Khan Shatyry will do for the city of Astana:

Held by a mast, the vast tent-like cable net structure is clad in ETFE, a
material that allows light to wash the interior spaces while sheltering them
from extreme weather conditions. A park steps up the height of the building in
undulating terraces providing public space and green oases for the visitors. A
tropical water park weaves its way through the landscape and its wave pools,
river and waterfall are lit by roof lights that are seamlessly integrated into
the design. The highest terrace is a viewing deck which will offer dramatic
views over the park.At the core of the building is a large flexible space that
will form the cultural hub of the centre, accommodating a varied programme of
events and exhibitions. Complemented by 40,000sqm of retail space with a wide
range of cafes, restaurants and cinemas, as well as ample covered car park
facilities, the Khan Shatyry will offer leisure facilities for all.

So far, Thor equities has not shown any visual plans on anything year-round. All the renderings, so far, have only shown activities for the outdoors. It would be interesting to see what the big developer in Coney comes up with to make their amusements year-round - without it all being housed indoors. Otherwise the New Coney may still end up as a seasonal destination to visit during the winter and leave the summers for the outdoor.

Then again, with all those beach goers on the Coney beach - Thor may still get their audience to come on up and step inside!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Vintage Coney Color-Film Gems

Great new Coney vintage film clips in full color found through Getty Images on Google Video. A Coney visitor in the 40's filmed these short footages probably on a Bolex or other 8 millimeter color film. They are probably rare and, so far, have not been seen on any other documentary of Coney that is known to be released. It would be interesting to know if there is more footage circulating around in someone's libary.

Here are the LINKS to 22 very short film clips of stock footage.
1940's Color film
No sound)

Low angle of people on rocket ride passing camera

PAN two subway trains entering + leaving Coney Island

Low angle of parachute going up People on an old ferris wheel sweeping passed camera

Close up of people on amusement park ride in Coney Part I

Close up of people on amusement park ride in Coney Part II

People on roller coaster passing passing by

Wide shot of large Wonder Wheel

People riding Tilt-a-Whirl

High angle of looping swinging ride

Low angle of parachute with couple going up and coming down on ride

Wide shot of people riding swing ride inside Steeplechase Pavilion of Fun Part I

Wide shot of people riding swing ride inside Steeplechase Pavilion of Fun Part II

Low angle tilt down of parachute Jump ride

Roller coaster point of view uphill and downhill (notice Trump building not there yet)

Women's skirts blow up as they exit fun house (though can't see skirt blowing up)

High angle of people on revolving Rocket ride passing by

People on Flying Scooter ride passing by

High angle wide shot of revolving Rocket ride

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Astrotower's Fate Stands In The Balance

Photo by gritchelle (

The 43 year old, 275-foot "Space Tower" (15 feet taller than the Parachute Jump) stands still in the balance as its fate is decided upon by the city's decision to keep it in the area. That's if the city is willing to split the cost (approximately $400,000) of relocating it to another spot in Coney Island - most likely west of Keyspan Park. Carol Albert, owner of the recently sold Astroland offered to share cost to move it if the city would accept it.

But Albert added, as the NYPost reported:

If the city doesn't accept her offer, she said, she has a buyer who wants to
move it to an undisclosed amusement park somewhere down South. "It's a real icon
for Coney Island that's just as visible as the Parachute Jump, and it would be a
real shame if it left the area," she said.

The city's Economic
Development Corp. confirmed it received Albert's offer and is considering

"The city, taking ownership of the Astrotower is an interesting
idea that warrants exploration, but we would first need to better understand the
associated costs," said Joshua Sirefman, interim president of the EDC and the
chairman of its Coney Island Development Corp.

Meanwhile, some
Coney Island residents are considering pushing for landmark status for the
Astrotower to ensure it stays.

Built in 1963, the ride is a
rotating, glass-enclosed compartment that takes passengers to the top of the
tower. It serves as a moving observatory, offering magnificent views of
the ocean and city. Astroland will open for a final season next year.

It's quite difficult to imagine the Astrotower to be part of anything Thor if it were to be landmarked. For them it would be an eye sore. And as had been proven in the past, landmark status is reversible. Many landmarked structures have had their landmark status lifted to make way for development. The only options for the fate of the tower would be for the city to cough up the $200,000 to move it and hope that doing so will not destabilize it for further operation - and plant it somewhere near their B&B Carousel. Or if not demolished, it would find itself in a new home showing riders 360◦ panoramic views of Busch Gardens or Weeki Wachee.

Coney I. "Tower" Struggle [NYPost]

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Thor's Hammer Smells Like Fish!

Photo by NYC Tom's (

Many Coney denizens and locals have been and scrutinizing Thor Equities's real plans for Coney Island with many conspiracy theories about what's really going on. As Courier Life reported: Several city officials including some on the city-created Coney Island Development Corporation (CIDC) are becoming skeptical of Sitt's Thor - or at least publicly doing so. And one, on condition of anonymity.

A theory that is becoming predominant is of "flipping". Sitt has a reputation for buying properties and then marketing them as something else, before “flipping” them for a large profit. As they did when they bought the former Washington Bathhouse House building at 2015 Boardwalk West in 2005 and sold it a little over a year later for a hefty $77 million profit.

CIDC President Lynn Kelly has announced that they will stay the course and see
to it that whoever and whatever is built in Coney will follow their guidelines for the enhancement of a year-round destination to facilitate the best economic growth and opportunities for the local community. She also states that any rezoning demands extensive amount of analysis. "Coney Island is unique in it has big and little picture issues that are very complicated,” Kelly said.

“This is history making. We don’t want to do anything in a vacuum and want to be thorough and transparent in our approach. I can understand why a landowner might want to say go faster, but what is paramount is to stay true to the vision,” she added.

Though her words may sound comforting for those who have been skeptical, they are not enough to convince the theorists of the probability that Thor is playing with a fishy hammer. Or for that matter that the city has their hands in the net as well. It would be interesting to see what realities surface as more develops.

Coney Under Thor’s Hammer [Courier Life]
Is Thor Coney Ticking Off City Officials? [Gowanus Lounge]

Costumed Characters Strolling Around New Coney

With the same gangly slumming Bugs Bunny and Batman do at Great Adventure, Sponge-Bob and Dora the Explorer want to emulate them and waylay children and adult visitors of the Nickelodeon resort they hope will thrive at the New Coney.

Upon the increasing rumblings of Coney gearing up its purposed “revitalization” the children network’s parent company Viacom has set their eyes on Coney to have their Nickelodeon themed resort (Similar to their resort: Nickelodeon Family Suites in Orlando, Florida) as part of the 3.1 acres of Astroland which was purchased by Thor last week. This comes after city and state officials previously axed plans for a children's theme park by Nickelodeon on Governor’s Island, which also included an indoor theme park.

Yet, as the NY Post reported yesterday, it is unclear whether the water park has come up again in preliminary talks with Thor. “Companies are interested in Coney Island now that there is a serious proposal for the area's revival." said Lee Silberstein, Thor Equities spokesman. Nickelodeon Senior VP Howard Smith said, "We think a Nickelodeon-themed family resort hotel would be hugely popular with New Yorkers."

Sponge-Bog & Pals Eyeing Move To Coney [NYPost]

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Vague Arquitectonica Designs for New Coney

Strange illustrations from Arquitectonica's landscape architecture and planning division: ArquitectonicaGEO. These drawings seem to be of structures on some part of the proposed Thor development. Cleary, noticeable, surrounding these structures, are what appear to be high rises. The same high rises that appeared in the earlier drawings found on the Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects website that were immediately retracted this past summer when they started popping up on blogs.

The recent Thor releases seemed cluttered and whimsical but these look vague and tamely dismal. The mini-parachutes that appeared to be a running theme seem to have morphed into jellyfish on sticks or mushroom lamps.
Whatever they are supposed to be - be it part of the midway, a hotel or condo's front entrance,
or another area away from the “amusement” side - it sure is in a completely different direction from what the last Thor renderings have presented. If those were unConey these are of another world very far from Coney.

Perhaps these are merely experimental sketches and only fodder for the ArquitectonicaGEO website.

ArquitectonicaGEO is a landscape architecture firm, focused on environmentally sensitive design. The firm explores the complex challenges of the contemporary built and natural environments, developing design solutions that balance a modern aesthetic with environmental concerns to create an aesthetic and sustainable landscape.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Thor UnHoopla!

photo by Stefan Falke (Stefan Falke's Eye)

Comments and reactions to sale of Astroland gathered by the great Brooklyn blog: Gowanus Lounge

Coney Island Deathwatch:
Reactions to Astroland Demise
More Eulogies

Gowanus Lounge's own emotional reaction:

Killing one of the last two Coney Island amusement parks--no matter how unspectacular Astroland might be--is like ripping out part of Coney's soul. It verges on being an act of cultural violence. This is the point at which a mayor with a sense of history and a borough president who utters more than empty cheers would step in to say, 'enough' and work to ensure that Astroland stays a genuine amusement park and that the amusement zone--which is Coney Island's historic heart--is protected by zoning.

We would love to know exactly what Mr. Sitt has in mind for Coney Island, especially in purchasing Astroland.

Other bulletin boards and threads.
Stern Fan Network excerpt: It also means that the entire area between the new baseball stadium and the aquarium
will all become private property, and that includes the beach in front. That means from now on if you want to go swimming you have to walk several blocks west from the train station. excerpt: Thor Equities Has Purchased Coney Island Yards from the MTA!!!

Cool Images: Taken by Stefan last night
Stefan Falke's Eye

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Astroland Sold To Thor Equities!

Coney’s Astroland amusement park announced yesterday – as reported through the Daily News – that is has been acquired by Thor Equities. Thor states, that the new development in place of Astroland will be an extension of enclosed amusements and attractions geared for the 21st century as a year-round destination. Thor is destined to create the 1.2 Billion project as a new kind of entertainment destination with a show that never stops. No longer are amusements in areas prone to cold climates useless during the winter. But perhaps may prove claustrophobic in the summer when we invite our relationship with the outdoors.

Joe Sitt of Thor Equities plans to develop everything from the Aquarium to the Cyclone stadium. Most likely Deno’s Play Land will be the next acquisition. And perhaps the Wonder Wheel will most likely be resituated somewhere else in the area - probably next to wherever they place B&B Carousel.

The three main criteria of the project’s fundamental principles are: To create thousands of jobs for the community, a promise to expand the amusement district, and a wide variety of mix usage bustling with shopping, dining, and of course the residential component.

All this to include a luxury high-rise hotel to accommodate the influx of visitors. As well as a year-round indoor waterpark. New Yorkers will have two water parks to visit if Randall's Island water park is realized.

What was beginning to sound like smoke and mirrors in order to flip the property and make a profit could now turn out to be an inaccurate speculation due to their continued push about amusements. Thor also announced yesterday that they are kicking off an ad campaign blitz to sway the public perception in order to generate support. And now with the purchase of the Astroland property and the intention of converting it into an ‘extension’ of the amusements it could more likely validate their claims. Perhaps…or perhaps not. Thor has done this type of flip with the purchase the Washington bathhouse. They purchased it for $12 million (well over the asking price) and sold it for an unheard of tag of $84 million. A huge profit within nine months.

What worries some about this speculation is the possibility that if Thor does not get the rezoning changes it seeks; they could leave empty lots in their wake. Like Fred Trump did when he couldn’t get the city to change the zoning variances and as a result the lot was left abandoned. But then again it was a different time. A time without the development boom that Brooklyn and the rest of the country is experiencing.

Still, more has yet to be seen. As part of their campaign, Thor has announced they will release newsletters and put up a website. It is still hopeful that these will result in more specific designs unlike the fantasy renderings that were dished out recently that included a generic roller coaster. An attraction that loops and weaves in and out of parts of the main structure would have to be the beacon of the ‘resort’ since it will be such a permanent feature competing with the buildings’ themes.

Renderings were laden with virtual holographic whales and mermaids that perhaps can only appear at night if the technology even exists. A 150 ft high attraction: The Coney Island Splash? The intention and maybe even heart are in the right place and in the right direction, as Dick Zigun commented. But all appears to lack concrete creative thought. It’s difficult to imagine an amusement park of the kind that Disney, Universal, or Las Vegas could produce. Let alone with the right balance of present and old Coney.
Thor has only developed malls and mix use space like Beach Place in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Ideas that marvel the public are the creation of highly talented experts from every aspect of the amusement industry as well as Hollywood. Like imagineers and story tellers supported by technical experts and special effects wizards, not concocted solely by business developers. Perhaps in the day of Tilyou, Thompson, Dundy, or Reyolds - but not today. At this point Thor has only utilized artists to create renderings with rampant ideas thrown into the mix at a conference room.

Through all the fantasy play, many Coney locals and enthusiasts still worry that Thor’s real attraction will be the residential components where the less-important aspects are the amusements themselves. Thos has commented in their releases that amusements do not generate much revenue and are too seasonal. If that is the case then it's highly unfortunate that the amusement part of New Coney’s main event will just be the sideshow...with a sideshow.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sitt And Company Kicks Off The Blitz!

Thor Equities to kick off a vigorous ad campaign to sway the public's opinion to their cause for realizing their vision of the New Coney Island with a massive mailing, newspapper ads, a web site, and five promotional newsletters.

The New York Post reported today.
Spokesman Lee Silberstein said the developer also planned to launch a Web site and to advertise in newspapers.
"Coney Island has a glorious past but fell onto hard times," the mailer reads. "It's our goal to bring it back."

The move seems to expand on the same direction taken by the Ratner group when selling their idea to the public with the Atlantic Yards project.

Thor wants to erect a hotel, stores, housing, new rides, an indoor water park, a multilevel carousel, and a 4,000-foot-long roller coaster that would weave around the 10 acres of boardwalk property that the developer purchased between West 12th and West 15th streets.
The project would require various city zoning changes and would have to pass public review.

It will be interesting to see how much of the amusement vision will be presented in contrast with pushing their need for the residential aspects of the project.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Coney's Year-Round Destination

Who says Coney isn't a year-round destination? At least one can still get a bit of that Coney magic at the Coney Island Museum which is open throughout the year. CIUSA website: Climbing the staircase to the second floor of our historic building at 1208 Surf Avenue (near West 12th Street) brings you to a small but fascinating museum of Coney Island memorabilia. The view from the windows overlooks landmark rides like the Cyclone Rollercoaster, the Wonder Wheel and the Parachute Jump. The museum itself is full of antiques and fun relics of old rides. A visit is certainly worth the modest admission price of 99 cents.
The museum is open on Saturdays and Sundays, year round, from noon to 5pm. Visiting hours may be expanded during the summer season.
The Coney Island Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated to interpreting and preserving the history of Coney Island. Our collection is continually growing and a walk around the gallery will give you a sense of the importance of this place to the nation and the world.

The Coney Island Museum
Open Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year

Zigun And His Freaks Take On Miami Ink

Our own Dick Zigun and the cast of the Coney Island Circus Sideshow will be featured guest stars on TLC's Miami Ink as Ami tattoos the famous Coney Island Wonder Wheel on Insectavora, the fire-breather. Yoji gives 'Roc-Roc It' a rubber chicken tattoo to remember his beloved prop. Check it out on the Learning Channel.

The Learning Channel
Miami Ink
"History of the Circus Sideshow"
(Cablevision channel 28)
November 28 @10:00PM

Monday, November 13, 2006

New Release Of A Thor Sitt Dream

Once again, it seems that Thor Equities is going with the flow and cautiously releasing yet another glimpse into their proposed redevelopment. Since retracting the drawings from the Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn (EE&K) Architects website this summer this has been the third time they give us a release of cluttered renderings. (Aside from the un-detailed high-rise blue-colored hotel drawings that were also retracted this summer.)

Perhaps Thor is paying attention to all the comments and rantings on bulletin boards and blogs in retort to their drawings because with each announcement they come closer to reflect what people are hoping for - which could be a positive sign. Since the last release, Coney locals and buffs have been shouting for more amusements. And just last week the CIUSA bulletin board comments were declaring a more desperate need for a big rollercoaster – one that could be incorporated into the design of whatever is built at the coasters base. So, now Thor throws in a generic roller coaster and promises the traditional Coney aesthetics combined with a modern take. Yet, the drawings still seem to be rehashing the same futuristic glam-rock glitzy vision.

And like it or not they are underlining the need for the residential structures and the high-rise hotels by stating that; including them are the only ways to assure revenues for the project because amusements do not generate enough money and are too seasonal. Though this is true, what most people want to see is a bit of that old traditional Conyesque architecture finally thrown into the mix. And also a bit more concrete clarity in the next designs. These renderings are too busy and in fact have an over-the-top Vegas feel or a Salvador Dali hangover- as if they are meant to confuse and stall for answers.

Again - as of yet it looks like Thor and company still do not have a concrete vision and merely improvising and presenting to us a muddled and vague colored sketching of a Sitt dream as he rolls out of bed before grabbing his coffee and heading to Thor headquarters.