Friday, November 09, 2007

Coney Island Inches Further Into Its Future

A day of new plans with familiar ideas have emerged from a new power. The city has stepped in and displayed their intentions on making Coney Island the largest open urban amusement park in the country.

Micheal Bloomberg and city agencies in conjunction with the Coney Island Development Corporation have thwarted recent proposals from Thor Equities and hopes to swap or "acquire the developer's [Thor Equities'] property in a friendly manner", said CIDC president, Lynn Kelly at Coney Island Development Corporation's meeting held last night at Our Lady of Solace. The city believes Thor Equities does not have the necessary "world-class experience in developing a one of a kind amusement park", said Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff. The city is expected to pay large amounts to Thor Equities for their property if Thor does not agree to swapping city owned park land in exchange for their parcels inside the amusement district.

Though the announcement seemed like something entirely new, many of it came refurbished and similar to what Thor Equities had already proposed. The pressure to eradicate any thought of hotels within the amusement area seems to have fizzled. In what is now called the East portion of the plan, which consists mainly the heart of amusements, a mention of a hotel has sneaked back into the picture.

Coney East, which is bounded by W. 8th Street to W. 19th Street and between Surf Avenue and the Boardwalk has been divided in two. The portion closest to Surf Avenue will comprise of large structures and buildings which will house indoor amusements and other entertainment-based venues. The other half will consist mainly of the exterior half of the park. Both halves will coincide with and compliment each other to give the feeling that that they are part of the same. this approach is a great idea in order to have both summer and winter amusements in the district.

The other two areas that have been divided are Coney North and Coney West, both consisting mainly of high density residential and mix-use commercial components.

Today's conceptual drawings are a good guide to go by in what may be built for Coney Island. But by no means are they accurate designs. Anything out of scale may hinder it to exist. The area in the East that divides the indoor and the outdoor amusement, for example, looks too big to fit in that actual footprint.

All in all, the reason this day is pivotal to the future of Coney Island is the city's commitment to finally have Coney Island begin to wake up from the comatose it has been sitting dormant in for so many years.

More story and images on the new plans here tomorrow.


Ethan Callender said...

Thanks so much for all of your posts and excellent info on the fate of Coney. Its been a big help.

Anonymous said...

Omar - You are incorrect. Yes Coney East south of Surf is split into 2 parts - one for hotels theaters, waterparks, restaurants, music venues etc. But the Parkland part is NOT just for outdoor amusements. Its for Indoor amusements and restaurants as well as outdoor amusements and performance space.

Omar Robau said...


One should not take these specifics as marked in stone. These are just guidelines. Basically they want to incorporate both indoor in outdoor to complement each other in the same space. City planning director Purnima Kapur told me herself this. And furthermore, when it comes to actual designing, all this may not even fit in the space that is there. And again going back to the same issue: if you take amusement space and put hotels then there is less to see - hence less of a need for all the 'hotels'.

Anonymous said...

Omar - Just pointing out that your reporting on this was inaccurate.

"The portion closest to Surf Avenue will comprise of large structures and buildings which will house indoor amusements and other entertainment-based venues. The other half will consist mainly of the exterior half of the park."

Not an accurate statement. Bloomberg specifically stated that C-7 was too restrictive and indoor and outdoor amusements plus restaurants and performance space would be going is the lower half.

Anyway I am skeptical about all of it. As you can read on the CIUSA message board Joe Sitt emailed me yesterday and he said he hasn't given up on Coney yet.

Just a personal opinion Omar, but I think zoning may end up in hands of the next administration and may be very different. I'm not sure Thor will just swap properties or take a buyout from this administration. I may be wrong. We shall see.

Omar Robau said...


I see what you mean now. I was not clear on that, specifically. Thanks for clearing it up.

Always feel free to correct us! We appreciated it.

And I agree with you that things will probably change again with the next administration.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to have an internet guy agree with me Omar. I rarely get that. Hopefully we can agree more in the future...... But you know my style.


Anonymous said...

Hello everyone...

I am affraid that next administration will take this great idea and turn into shit hole.