Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lots Of Janes For Coney

Pictured above: Angie Pontani in Jane Jacobs garb
Image courtesy of Kevin C. Downs

On Monday, yesterday, July 13, 2009, admirers of one New York's most outspoken civic activists, Jane Jacobs had plenty of lookalikes parading the streets in her name proclaiming she would've been on the forefront in today's fight to Save Coney Island.

Yesterday, as New York City honored the late Jane Jacobs by naming a portion of Hudson Street in Manhattan's Greenwich Village in her name, many Coney Island amusement activists celebrated in her honor. Her son Ned Jacobs recently was quoted as saying that he is "appalled" by the City's current plan for the rezoning of Coney Island.

Pictured above: Juan Rivero of 'Save Coney Island' and Michael White of Noticing New York
Image courtesy of Kevin C. Downs

A press release by 'Save Coney Island' states:

“While I cannot speak on behalf of my mother, the late Jane Jacobs, or predict what she would think about particular proposals today, in my view, this rezoning plan for Coney Island does not appear to reflect the urban values and planning principles she espoused,” wrote Ned Jacobs, a community activist in Vancouver.

He urged Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Council “to prevent this dysfunctional, developer-driven proposal for the Coney Island amusement district from being adopted in its current form.”

The City’s current rezoning plan would obliterate Coney Island’s historic and distinctive character. The City’s plan rezones most of Coney Island, leaving only a narrow strip of 12 acres for a shrunken amusement park. It inserts four high-rise hotel towers — soaring up to 27 stories — into the very heart of the historic, low-rise, seaside amusement district. The placement of these towers invites developers to tear down some of Coney Island’s most historic buildings, some more than a century old.

“If the City really wants to honor the memory of Jane Jacobs, it should respect her ideas and fix its plan for Coney Island,” said Save Coney Island spokesman Juan Rivero. “Otherwise, it might as well rename Coney Island’s Surf Avenue ‘Robert Moses Way.’”

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