Friday, October 27, 2006

Related HOOPLA!

A slight error on the map that was posted here outlining the Thor properties was brought to our attention by a Coney-Isle-O-Phile who goes by the name of Thor-Hater, a business operator in Coney and also a frequent commentator on the Coney Island USA bulletin boards, which is in fact where KC first learned about the Thor tenants being given 'eviction' notices.

Also, to correct a misstatement in the Gothamist web site:
Kinetic Carnival did not speak with Mr. Dick Zigun. Zigun was replying to Thor-Hater on the CIUSA board.

map correction:
Thor does not own the building on the corner of W.12th & Surf Ave housing the Coney Island USA to the Surf Express car service.

Related links:
Coney developers forcing out rides, games, shops [Daily News]
New Home for Coney Island Sideshow and Museum? [Gowanus Lounge]
Rides, Games and Shops Being Forced Out of Coney Island [MetaDish]
Developer Starting to Empty Out Its Coney Properties? [Gowanus Lounge]
Some Coney Island Rides Won't See Another Summer [Gothamist]

ABC reporter went to Coney Island to interview Thor tenants

click to view

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Thor begins to stomp out development foot print on Coney

First structure to possibly go to make way for the new Coney is the Henderson building on the corner of Stillwell Ave./Henderson Walk & Surf Ave to the Bowery. The property now owned by Thor Equities, which as early as last week assured their tenants not to worry about being evicted for the next year has now turned around and handed most of its tenants a 90 day notice to vacate the premises.

[photo by betty blade -]
Speculation had it that the building was structurally unsound and must be taken down. But Dick Zigun, of Coney Island U.S.A. and on the board of directors at CIDC, Coney Island Development Corporation has confirmed and said, “Bringing in a structural engineer or the Buildings Department to certify that Henderson's might be in bad shape would obviously be a strong arm tactic to negotiate a sooner rather than later vacancy by tenants in Henderson's who do have leases such as Popeyes.” But, he adds, “...all in all this seems to be more about a general emptying of newly acquired properties of tenants rather than a specific issue with the structural integrity of Henderson's building.
For the sake of accuracy, I have been told that Thor's tenants on the Boardwalk including Ruby's and Cha-Cha's and Ocean Grill House were not given notice. And Norman Kaufman says he was not given any notice for his miniature golf or batting cage or go-karts.”

With that, Zigun confirms that Thor has given notice to most of their newly acquired tenants in the Henderson's building and beyond! Those include owner and operator of the Zipper and Spider rides on West 12th, McCullough's Kiddie Park at Bowery & West 12th, Caesar's games on the Bowery, and Slim who operates Balloon Racing game on the Bowery.

[photo by jessrawk -]
Regardless, of who has been given notices as of yet. This is just the beginning of Thor clearing its land up for the zone that will mark the first construction site towards the revitalization of the New Coney.

During the last year Zigun and his organization attempted to save the Henderson’s Building as well as other structures in the amusement area by nominating them for landmark status with the Landmark Preservations Society.

The building, known as the Old Henderson Dance Hall on Stillwell has hosted fleabag hotels (Surf Hotel) and amusements and a night club (Velocity)

Zigun laments, “Although this all breaks my is not unexpected. If tenants are seasonal and do not have leases...and if Thor is the new owner of property then they have a right under the American system of capitalism and private property to do this. If they are going to build something new then we all know they have to demolish what is old and not land-marked. Let us not be naive and admit that this is what is coming to some of old Coney Island whether for summer of 2007 or 2008".

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Coney Island Book - Past and Present

Originally posted on the Gowanus Lounge blog where they were invited to download the book from its author - this 152-page book rummages through history and old stories about Coney Island. It is a rare glimpse into photos and a different prospective on Coney’s history.

Through his journey in the book, Author Professor Solomon meets with old timers, searches for antiques, and shares his personal accounts of his childhood memories of Coney and what he felt was a huge change for the worse as he revisited the fabled site years later.

Fun Find: Free PDF of Coney Island Book [Gowanus Lounge]

Coney Island - Past and Present
by Professor Solomon
152 pages. Illustrated.
Free download of entire book:
coneyisland.pdf (41.2 MB file)
Paperback Edition available from

Friday, October 13, 2006


Seems as though all the recent activity in Coney has been happening at Coney Island U.S.A.
And it's not over yet!
This weekend:
Avast! This year's Creepshow at the Freakshow is more lavish and frightening than ever! Come see "Pirates of Coney Island”, a guided tour of Coney Island’s newest immersive entertainment experience... presented by the briny magnate of amusements himself, Dead Disney!

Sideshows by the Seashore
3006 W. 12th St. @ Surf Ave.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday, October 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22
And all week October 25-31
Shows run continuously from 7 to 11 PM
Tickets $8 for Adults, $5 for kids under 12

Monday, October 09, 2006

Coney Island Film Festival 2006 AWARD WINNERS

" Pervert!" - Jonathan Yudis. South Pasadena, CA USA, Feature 01:24:00 Sex. Death. Freedom. These three ingredients combine to create an orgiastic homage to the outrageous -- perhaps the most outrageous movie ever to be committed to celluloid -- Pervert!

"The Day of the Grackle" - Michael Berry. Los Angeles, CA USA, Short 00:14:50 A mild-mannered man's world is invaded by a ferocious, territorial bird, thrusting him into an escalating, action-filled battle that inadvertently transforms his life into something far beyond his dreams.

" Holes In My Shoes" - David Wachs. United Kingdom, Documentary Feature 01:30:00 94-year-old New Yorker Jack Beers, has broken the age barrier full force!

"Messenger" - Gary Beeber.
Sag Harbor, NY USA, Documentary Short 00:27:52 We follow Kamikaze (the legendary bicycle messenger, and world-class character) for one year as he works the gritty streets of Manhattan. Kamikaze, who just turned 50 has worked as a biker in NYC for over 25 years.

" I Live In Brooklyn" - Bombonia Bombonia. Brooklyn, NY USA, Documentary Short 00:06:20 The arrival of an alien to NYC.

"Guide Dog" - Bill Plympton. New York, NY USA, Animation 00:05:15 'Guide Dog' is a sequel to the Oscar nominated short 'Guard Dog'. This time our hero dog helps blind people with typical disastrous results.


" I Wonder" - Chris DePierro & Amanda Jencsiks. Fort Lee, NJ USA, Short 00:05:30Based on a true story. Amy visits Coney Island in search of precious childhood moments that she shared with her now deceased father; but can she let go of past regrets and leave with the memory of a lifetime?

The Coney Island Film Festival thanks you for making this our most successful
festival ever! Photo gallery coming soon!

Dunking The Nets Into Coney

The local community organization opposed to the location of the Nets basketball arena in Prospect Heights as part of the Atlantic Yards Project - Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn is making the case about having Prospect Heights be spared of the Nets arena and letting Coney deal with another sports complex to the already diminishing amusement district.

In a study by urban planner Simon Bertrang on behalf of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, Bertrang sets out to prove the failure in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) issued by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) for determining the Prospect Heights site as the most feasible site for the arena by ignoring two out of three studies conducted three decades apart. The last two which designates Coney as the most suited site for the arena.

In the
Bertrang study he goes on to mention the following:
There is NO evidence or argument made in the DEIS as to why an arena should be located at FCRC/ESDC’s chosen Prospect Heights location or why a proposed Brooklyn arena must be developed in conjunction with a major residential development. ESDC has made a gross error by ignoring the results of the 1984 and 1994 studies that found Coney Island to be the best site in the borough for a multi-use arena.

The two Coney sites mentioned in the last two studies are the “Gateway site” owned by KeySpan Energy and the “Waterfront site” adjacent to Keyspan which holds two possible positions there. First being right over the parking lot of Abe Stark Rink or slightly off to the west which are part privately-owned underutilized parcels and would require acquisition. In addition the rink would have to be demolished.
The “Gateway site” seems no longer the ideal site due to the fact that it would require easier access from the belt and a pedestrian bridge to cross the creek. Plus it would be tucked further away from the bustle of Coney’s waterfront. Who says Neptune Avenue can’t be part of Coney’s revitalization. Neptune Avenue has been neglected. One can envision Neptune with office buildings and even museums.

Other issues the studies debate are the transportation centers of both Stillwell Station and hub at Atlantic Terminal

Bertrang writes:
The Coney Island subway lines have low existing passenger loads and substantial reserve capacities. In addition, the Stillwell Avenue station is a newly renovated jewel – with wide ramps and platforms designed to handle a surge in crowds and efficient vertical movement from platform to street. The Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street station on the other hand has no reserve capacity – the platforms and trains are overcrowded, the platforms narrow and the maze of underground corridors connecting the various platforms confusing. If mass transit’s capacity to absorb new riders, especially the kind of surge in riders associated with the beginning or end of an NBA game in New York City, is taken into account, the Coney Island sites are far superior.

Atlantic Yard Report

blog writes:
Moreover, an arena in Coney Island would help revitalize the area--indeed, the neighborhood still awaits major investment and refurbishing or replacement of vast public housing complexes. Bertrang suggests redevelopment in Prospect Heights "with appropriately scaled development" would be appropriate and welcomed. He adds:However, nothing in the economic development goals of the Prospect Heights neighborhood necessitates an arena - in fact, an arena may be a drag on the project – creating an infrastructure headache, requiring the expensive relocation of the rail yards, and necessitating the use of eminent domain and the delays associated with its application.Unmentioned here, or in the DEIS, is one of the main reasons for the arena: to leverage state and city funds, and political support, for a much larger development project. As the Slatin Report last month

quoted a pro-development city official:The arena, the official complained, is a "Trojan Horse" that the developer used to sneak an overly dense project into Brooklyn.

All in all many agree that the Nets arena should be housed in Coney Island. But with proposed high-end retail, luxury hotels, and more residential buildings - let’s be careful not to eradicate, almost completely, what Coney has meant since the days of Sodom by the Sea and that is the fervor of its amusement district.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Highlights For Last Day Of The CI Film Festival


Coney Island Film Festival special event:

The Coney Island Film Festival is delighted to present the first public screening in 27 years of Stephen Verona's BOARDWALK. Don't miss your opportunity finally to see this classic Brooklyn film! Director Stephen Verona will be in attendance for a Q&A after the screening.

SYNOPSIS: David Rosen and his wife Becky have lived in the same Coney Island neighborhood for nearly all their married life. But the area is not what it used to be, and a gang leader named Strut has decided to make it his new turf.

FROM THE DIRECTOR: "In 1979 I made a film in Brighton Beach and Coney Island titled "BOARDWALK" - It starred Ruth Gordon, Lee Strasberg and Janet Leigh. It was photographed by Billy Williams (GANDHI and ON GOLDEN POND). It was a runaway success at the Cannes Film festival. We entered into a distribution agreement with Atlantic Releasing. The film opened December 1979. In a week the distributor had gone bankrupt, no fault of our film... Since then the film has languished in bankruptcy court and various film libraries. No one has seen it."

For more see the festival program page

Sunday Oct. 8th, 1:30pm
Sideshows by the Seashore, 3006 W.12th St. @ Surf Ave.
Tickets are $6.00.

Jill Wisoff, New York NY USA, Feature 01:44:00Karma, up-tight columnist at Bangles Magazine, becomes a poet after moving in with her loathed half-sister, a new age therapist; thrown into the mix is her British sixties 'it girl' mother; their father's lover, a pop star sitarist; and the love interest, an inappropriate guy who talks to an obnoxious puppet.

(For more see the festival program page)

Sunday Oct. 8th, 3pm
Coney Island Museum, 1208 Surf Ave. @ W. 12th St.
Tickets are $6.00.


David Wachs, United Kingdom, Documentary Feature 01:30:00 94-year-old New Yorker Jack Beers, has broken the age barrier full force! He can do what most young men can (and some!), and his many diverse lifetime achievements, helping to shape New York City and more, would take many men to accomplish. This is an inspiring, funny and moving film – a true rags to riches story, overcoming adversity

Jack Beers & director David Wachs will be in attendance for a Q&A after the screening. Live music before and after the show by Margot Leverett & the Klezmer Mountain Boys.

(For more see the festival program page)

Sunday Oct. 8th, 5:30pm
Coney Island Museum, 1208 Surf Ave. @ W. 12th St.
Ticket are $6.00 and go on sale 30 minutes prior to showtime.

Also 3 full programs throughout the day of about 30 shorts films.

Plus: Special Event WALKING TOUR
Famous Coney Island film locations. Departs from the street level entrance of the Coney Island Museum at 4pm sharp!
Free with a ticket stub from any of our festival programs.

The film festival closes with the Awards Presentation!

Coney Island Film Festival Web Site for more info.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Highlights For The CI Film Festival This Weekend


Boris Gavrilovic Jersey City NJ USA Documentary Feature 01:23:30
Suzanne Muldowney wants to be a famous artist. For the past thirty years she has been taking her interpretive dances of the cartoon superhero “Underdog” to parades, community events and cable access television in an attempt to make her dream come true. Spanning over a course of seven years this film follows one strangely fascinating person's struggle to find the true meaning of life.
(For more see the festival program page)

Saturday Oct. 7th, 1pm

Coney Island Museum, 1208 Surf Ave. @ W. 12th St.
Tickets are $6.00 go on sale 30 minutes prior to showtime


Ben Meade, Lenexa KS USA, Documentary Feature 01:07:12
From the birth of cinema through the 1960s in the United States, most pornographic films were brief, black and white, anonymously produced films known as 'stag films', 'blue movies', or 'smokers,' so called because of the smoke-filled rooms where men would gather for private screenings.
(For more see the festival program page)

Saturday Oct. 7th, 5pm

Coney Island Museum, 1208 Surf Ave. @ W. 12th St.
Tickets are $6.00 go on sale 30 minutes prior to showtime.


Matt Chertkoff & Jason Campbell, Weehawken NJ USA, Feature 00:94:00
Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life ... that is unless you are John T. Piscatowski, aka "Pisser." As a second generation hot dog vendor, Pisser takes to the streets of New York City in pursuit of his dream of revolutionizing the industry by unionizing his fellow vendors, but the hot dog mafia has other plans. Fat Lenny, the head of the 'Hafia', unleases Luigi, an enforcer with a criminally low IQ
(For more see the festival program page)

Saturday Oct. 7th, 7pm

Coney Island Museum, 1208 Surf Ave. @ W. 12th St.
Tickets are $6.00 go on sale 30 minutes prior to showtime.

Jonathan Yudis, South Pasadena CA USA, Feature 01:24:00
Sex. Death. Freedom.
These three ingredients combine to create an orgiastic homage to the outrageous -- perhaps the most outrageous movie ever to be committed to celluloid -- Pervert! A modern cult classic, Pervert was lovingly shot as an homage to the work of the late great Russ Meyer and is a cinematic ode and update to his filmic style.

For more see the festival program page)

Saturday Oct. 7th, 9pm
Coney Island Museum, 1208 Surf Ave. @ W. 12th St.
Tickets are $6.00 go on sale 30 minutes prior to showtime.



You love Coney Island, you love the subway, you love expressionistic street gangs - in short you love THE WARRIORS, Walter Hill's 1979 action film classic. Show your love at this special screening which will be so much more than just the film that you already know by heart. You are a part of the film in this special interactive version: shout along with your favorite scenes, beware of roaming Furries in the audience, and join us in our Warriors Tough Talk competition. Plus, trivia and a subway challenge, with prizes awarded at the end of the show! CAN YOU DIG IT??

(For more see the festival program page)

Saturday Oct. 7th, 10:30pm

Sideshows by the Seashore, 3006 W.12th St. @ Surf Ave.
Tickets are $10.00 and go on sale 30 minutes prior to showtime.
Advance purchase highly recommended. NO PASSES.

With 5 full programs throughout the day of more than 30 shorts films, including about nine featuring Coney Island itself. Plus: Kill Your Darlings: A Panel Discussion on Editing!

Visit Coney Island Film Festival Web Site for more info.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Highlights For The CI Film Festival Starting This Weekend



Little Brooklyn photo by Amber De Vos. Serpentina photo courtesy of Coney Island USA
Our opening night parties are legendary, don't miss it! Join The Great Fredini (This or That!) for an astounding show featuring performances by Insectavora, Serpentina, Roc Roc It, Remy Vicious, Scott Baker, Little Brooklyn, Dottie Lux, Lady Satan, Balloonhedz with Mini Malicious, Bambi the Mermaid, Bunny Love & Fisherman ! 21 & over. Open bar.

This event is a benefit for Coney Island USA

Friday Oct. 6th, 9:30pm
Coney Island Musuem, 1208 Surf Ave. @ W.12th St.
Tickets to this event are $25 and include admission to our opening night screening American Carny: True Tales of the Circus Sideshow.
Advance purchase is highly recommended!


True Tales of the Circus Sideshow

Photo by Norman Blake.
STEP RIGHT UP! and come on the inside -- Beyond the banners and into the morbid curiosity that is the American Sideshow. Join Carnival Maestro Todd Robbins and award-winning filmmaker, Nick Basile, on a journey into a world of circus freaks, fire eaters, human blockheads, magicians, contortionists, professional lunatics, and much, much more.In this in-depth documentary, you will travel the historic road of the American sideshow from the circus tents to the American Dime Museum in Baltimore, to the last 'ten-in-one sideshow' that exists today on Brooklyn's infamous Coney Island.

Friday Oct. 6th, 7:30pm
Sideshows by the Seashore
3006 W.12th St. @ Surf Ave.
Tickets for the opening night screening & party are $25.
Tickets for the screening only are $6.

Visit the Coney Island Film Festival Website for full week's program.

The Country’s Oldest Aquarium To Get a 21st Century Whale of a Makeover

Starting from its original home in lower Manhattan from 1896 to 1941 then to 1957 where it was moved to its 14 acre hiding place in Coney Island - the Wildlife Conservation owned and operated New York Aquarium is getting a 21st Century makeover. City officials yesterday unveiled three finalists in the competition to design a new exterior for the New York Aquarium

From its isolated fortress tucked snugly between Surf Avenue and the boardwalk the low-key aquarium could rise and show off a new whale-like structure well above the confinement it's been operating in all these years.

Of the new designs, by the firms WRT; Smith-Miller & Hawkinson Architects; and West 8 in collaboration with Weisz & Yoes Architecture, which city officials unveiled yesterday for the exterior of the aquarium - one replaces the concrete wall with an undulated wave fence, exposing the aquarium along with entrances at several points. And another design, by contrast, hides areas of the parking lot with manmade sand dunes cut through with looping pathways.

“It’s very important that people going to the aquarium have the experience of going to the beachfront again,” said Jerry van Eyck of West 8.

Included in one of the three designs of the competition which dictates in its guidelines to be another “beacon for Coney Island”, is a giant jelly fish resting on it’s tendrils.

Another rendering has one side of exterior structure interpreting its neighbor, the Cyclone roller coaster and the other a gigantic whale-like giant veil. The structure will surely be the kind of thing the new Coney Island will call and stand for.

“The aquarium is a critical anchor for Coney Island, especially if it's that much more physically integrated into Coney Island,” said, Mr. Sirefman, interim president of the development corporation. “People who come to a Cyclones game or to the amusements should be going to the aquarium.”
With the promised renaissance of Coney Island on the horizon , which will most likely come with some sort of hotel, high-end retail, and the ever-pressed mention of the indoor water park, the revitalization of Brooklyn’s new Riviera will be the year round destination the New Coney is meant to be.

City officials, community leaders, and the conservation society, expect to choose a final design this fall.

See more drawings from Weisz & Yoes Architecture

Thursday, October 05, 2006