Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Love From Chicago, Threats From Orlando

Sunday's Chicago Sun-Times had a really nice article about Coney Island. The article starts with the human interest story of Ruby's Bar & Grill, then segues into a solid recap of the Thor Equities redevelopment situation. Apparently, Chicago has had its own experiences with Thor: "In Chicago, Thor closed Trader Vic's at the Palmer House to create more basement retail space. Thor also turned the old Evans furrier building at 36 S. State into condos."

The article relies heavily on an interview with Dick Zigun, which is appropriate enough. Dick got in one really good line, saying, "As far as I know the developer did not buy the Atlantic Ocean."

He also enthusiastically talked up the possibility of Thor's holdings being sold to Disney. This idea does make sense in a certain way, because it would ensure that the amusement area continues to be an amusement area, rather than being converted to condos. However, this still seems like a sad compromise. Keeping Astroland open as a Disney subsidiary would be like keeping Nathan's open as a MacDonald's franchise. The essential function would be the same, but the Brooklyn flavor would be lost.

Boardwalk blues: Coney Island awaits its fate after developer devours land, makes plans [Chicago Sun-Times]

- post by Ben Nadler

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