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September 4, 2007

The Coney contrast: the city sticks to its guns, challenges developer

Atlantic Yards Report

It's a tale of two cities — the Bloomberg administration bends over (backwards) for one developer while keeping another in a headlock:

On Sunday, I caught the annual “State of Coney Island” address, delivered by Dick Zigun, the unofficial mayor—“I’m not a real mayor; the truth is, I’m an arts guy”—of the amusement zone, the founder of Coney Island USA, the organization that sponsors the Mermaid Parade and the Sideshow and the Coney Island Museum, maintaining and advancing the district's raffish spirit.

Zigun’s speech at the museum, preceded by a rendition of Amos Wengler’s song “Save Coney Island,” came as the future of the amusement district is very much up in the air, as developer Joe Sitt of Thor Equities has purchased about three-quarters of the central area, and has proposed putting lucrative residential units (originally condos, now apparently time-shares) near the beach as part of a ten-acre amusement and entertainment project.

The city has said no; next season could leave much of the amusement district razed and boarded up; meanwhile, a land swap, in which Sitt instead got city land west of KeySpan Park, is under discussion.

For Atlantic Yards watchers, it was stunning to notice:

  • city government hailed
  • a city plan adhered to (so far) rather than bent for a developer
  • a developer denounced as duplicitous by a person of authority.


Posted by lumi at September 4, 2007 11:39 AM