WiredNewYork ROCKS ^^^ !!!
New York Sun
August 8, 2006
Multiple Architecture Firms Work on Coney Island Overhaul
By LEON NEYFAKH - Special to the Sun
The architects responsible for the 45-story Westin Hotel in Times Square have been quietly working on plans for a new Coney Island.
The flashy Miami-based firm Arquitectonica said yesterday that since March it has been working with the city's Coney Island Development Corporation on plans to restore the area surrounding the storied but relatively rundown amusement park. The project stretches roughly from Surf Avenue to the boardwalk, all the way from the Brooklyn Aquarium to 24th Street.
The crown jewel of the area, the corner of Stillwell and Surf avenues, is being simultaneously developed by Thor Equities and designed by architects at Ehrenkrantz Eckstut and Kuhn. A spokesman for EEK and Thor Equities, Lee Silberstein, said yesterday that the developer is collaborating with the city on the site.
A recent error on the architectural firm's Web site, however, illustrated a lack of communication among the various parties involved in the redevelopment project.
EEK recently posted a preliminary rendering for the 10-acre site on showing that a residential high-rise, a luxury hotel, and a new pier, complete with a new ferris wheel, have been proposed during the planning process.
Mr. Silberstein said yesterday that the renderings were "inaccurate" and that they had been posted "erroneously."
He called the posting of the proposal "unauthorized," saying that it "was not accepted by Thor."
He added that an updated proposal for the site may be released in about three weeks.
Arquitectonica would not comment on its vision for the surrounding area, directing all inquiries to the Department of City Planning.
EEK's renderings for the Stillwell site, since removed from the firm's Web site, show the lot from several different perspectives, offering some clues about what the condo high-rise and the luxury hotel that the developers have discussed may look like.
The rendering places a massive entertainment complex there, including a movie theater, dense signage, an indoor waterpark, and scattered concession booths shaped like Coney's storied Parachute Jump. A plaza would be enclosed by two tall beachside buildings, which would presumably house the condominium apartments and the 500-room hotel that the New York Times has reported that Thor Equities is considering.
Mr. Silberstein said the corner has been allowed to deteriorate over time, and that whatever ends up going there will "enliven" it.
The EEK renderings were labeled "conceptual" plans and dated to June. A caption called the site "a mixed-use entertainment complex which will include residential, hotel, retail and a new waterpark."
The caption also noted that the redevelopment "fits into the master plan as developed by the Coney Island Development Corporation."
The director of public affairs for the CIDC, Andrew Brent, said the city had not seen the renderings.
"While we have not seen their specific renderings, we are encouraged that Thor Equities is looking to bring private investment to the area," Mr. Brent told The New York Sun in an e-mailed statement. "At the same time, we are also working to ensure that the goals of the City's strategic plan and the interests of the community are a priority as we move through the rezoning process, and we will work with any private investor including Thor to ensure that a balance is met."
Mr. Brent did not specify when a final plan for the site would be announced, and the CIDC's Web site does not provide a schedule for upcoming board meetings.
EEK's renderings were first linked and discussed on the Wired New York online forum, where Brooklynites anonymously but vehemently criticized the plan.
© 2006 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC.
WiredNewYork ROCKS ^^^ !!!
Im hearing coney island is revamped, I haven't been back in a few years to see the drastic changes. Everytime I search for pics I just see the same old boardwalk and the cyclone. Where the pics of the projects? I know they still exist. It seems like coney island is trying to become a vaction spot, only showing you the positive pics & then when you get there they tell you to stay in one area. Instead of trying to get more people to move in and vacation they should continue to create job opportunities. There are a lot of family owned stores that only employ family, which force people to find work outside of brooklyn, which is hard already, then the commute. I grew up on 80's & 90's coney island, crack house Next to my building, and 1 across the street. In my eyes the people who love coney island the most are the ones barely keeping their head above water, not the people in the duplexes and condos. Instead of building new shit, why not improve on the poorer areas. Carey Gardens, the "pink" building, 2828, 2955. I don't think it will happen because there is a negative view of that area (from the train station down to sea gate), but that's the heart of coney right there. The people may be poor, but they bust their ass daily to barely make it. From $1 cabs, chineese food establishments, pizzeria's to the bodegah's these are the people of coney island that i'll always have love for.
As I said before I dont see how you can remake the area without addressing the poor/ghetto projects and rundown streets, they need to clean that up before they start building mega hotel residential projects. I drove through the area last week and I accidentally turned down on of the streets and heard gunfire very close by. Safe to say I will not be going to coney island anytime soon again.
^ That is an issue of paramount impact. I dont see how they plan on making this area all glitsy when you have a bunch of projects that run down the area. I wonder whose brilliant idea it was to put those housing projects there??
Coney Island: Revival For the ‘People’s Playground’
Historian Michael Immerso Calls Redevelopment ‘Long Overdue’
by Brooklyn Eagle
published online 09-01-2006
CONEY ISLAND — America’s most famous seaside amusement resort is preparing for a billion-dollar makeover.
“A century ago Coney Island was the epicenter of America’s mass amusement industry,” according to Michael Immerso, author of Coney Island, The People’s Playground. “It was the home of Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park, the birthplace of the hot dog and the roller coaster. But it long ago fell into decline. After decades of neglect New York has at long last committed itself to Coney’s revival.” This past year, the City of New York unveiled plans for a billion-dollar revitalization of Coney Island’s amusement district and surrounding neighborhoods. The city wants to transform Coney Island into a “year-round visitor destination.”
The plan outlined by the Coney Island Development Corporation (CIDC) anticipates a billion dollars in private investment over the next ten years that is expected to generate 2,000 permanent jobs and 10,000 construction jobs over the next 20 years. The redevelopment envisions new amusement and entertainment venues along Surf Avenue, an amusement park midway on Stillwell Avenue, and an expansion of the New York Aquarium.
The focal point of the redevelopment is Coney Island’s historic amusement district. As the Eagle has mentioned in the past, Thor Equities has acquired $100 million in property in the heart of the amusement zone. Its chairman, Brooklyn native Joe Sitt, wants to build a year-round resort and amusement complex with a luxury hotel, a water park and other rides and attractions. Sitt envisions a 100-foot-tall waterslide, a giant carousel, amusement arcades and a landing pad for blimps atop the complex. Another developer, Taconic Investment Partners, has acquired property along Surf Avenue and hopes to spearhead redevelopment beyond the amusement district. Both developers must conform to the city’s redevelopment master plan.
Ferry Service a Possibility
One of many ambitious ideas under consideration is a proposal advanced by the New York Aquarium to rebuild the historic Iron Pier and initiate ferry service to Coney Island. At one time Coney Island had two piers extending 1,200 feet out into the ocean where steamboats docked bringing tourists to the beach.
“Coney’s piers were engineering marvels and were attractions in their own right,” according to Immerso. “The new Coney Island will require additional means of transportation for the many new visitors the city hopes to lure. A state-of-the-art amusement pier at Coney makes perfect sense.” The CIDC is presently conducting a feasibility study to determine whether ferry service to the resort is viable from an engineering and marketing standpoint.
The city’s redevelopment plan marks the third time Coney Island has undergone a nearly complete makeover. Coney Island was first transformed in 1875 and in the years immediately thereafter when Manhattan Beach and Brighton Beach opened, and the Iron Piers, Ocean Parkway and Coney Island Concourse were built.
Two decades later (1903-1904), it underwent another transformation when Luna Park and Dreamland opened, prompting many to dub it the New Coney.
“The Coney Island landmarks most of us are familiar with — the Boardwalk, the Cyclone roller coaster, the Wonder Wheel and Parachute Jump — are in fact vestiges of the Coney Island that existed between the two World Wars when the resort had already begun to fall upon hard times,” Immerso explains.
Despite years of decline, Coney Island continues to attract large crowds that come to walk its beach, ride the historic Cyclone roller coaster, and dine on a hot dog at Nathan’s. As many as ten million people visit each year, and the city hopes that the redevelopment will greatly increase that number.
Others worry that redevelopment threatens to trade away the honky-tonk that has long defined Coney Island for a flashy new resort.
“Redevelopment is long overdue,” according to Immerso, “but it must respect Coney Island’s legacy as the people’s resort and preserve some of the features that made it so unique.”
© Brooklyn Daily Eagle 2006
October 26, 2006
Some Coney Island Rides Won't See Another Summer
By Jen Chung
As the redevelopment of Coney Island keeps moving ahead, it's starting to become clear what will be around next summer and what won't. Thor Equities, the developer with 10 acres of Coney Island land, has been letting various tenants know whether their leases are up or if they get to stick around. The NY Post put a positive spin on things, noting that "11 boardwalk businesses would be allowed to remain open at least one more summer" and that the attractions - "including Ruby's Bar and Grill, Cha-Cha's and Shoot the Freak paintball - will be given the opportunity to move into the proposed complex."
The Daily News takes a more dire approach, reporting that eight tenants were given notice, including the Zipper, the Spider, go-carts, batting cages and carny games. "Six tenants are in the Henderson Building on Stillwell Ave., a turn-of-the century structure that once housed a dance hall and hotel. The other two are are along W. 12th St. and Stillwell Ave. Combined, they operate more than a dozen businesses."
Kinetic Carnival spoke to Dick Zigun of Coney Island U.S.A. who said:
More about Coney Island redvelopment here at the Coney Island Development Corporation and Curbed's been wondering if the new Coney Island will be Glam Rock or Empty Death Rock. And there's more redevelopment afoot as the New York Aquarium in Coney Island is reviewing new designs."Although this all breaks my heart...it 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".
Photograph of Coney Island at night by chinycjo on Flickr
2003-2006 Gothamist LLC.
Just keeps on shrinking.
Is this thread correctly titled?
still - as long as the area is zoned for amusement, only amusement related businesses will be built - and as far as I can tell the zoning will remain in place.
I do feel bad for the little guys that are getting pushed out.
By RICH CALDER
October 31, 2006
Here's a sneak peek at Coney Island's glamorous future.
Architectural renderings obtained by The Post show a grand vision of the famed summer amusement area's rundown streets being transformed into a glitzy year-round playground and public attraction.
In one image, Stillwell Avenue becomes a fantasy-filled boulevard marked by larger-than-life street furniture, such as a mermaid swimming in a martini glass and a gigantic tattooed elephant.
The landmark Cyclone roller coaster can still be seen from down Bowery Street - which itself is reinvented as a permanent festival and sideshow area.
Thor Equities has purchased 10 acres of boardwalk land in the hope of building a $1.5 billion entertainment destination.
The project is awaiting city approval, but the company hopes to break ground in 18 months and wrap up in about five years.
Copyright 2006 NYP Holdings, Inc.
The biggest problem with this and other projects like that one is that approval and red tape take such a damn long time.
More Coney Island Aquarium Redo Renderings
Wednesday, November 1, 2006
After yesterday's publication of a couple of more "visions" of the future Coney Island in all of its odd dystopian glory, the additional renderings and models from one of the finalists vying to redesign the butt ugly utilitarian New York Aquarium are almost a breath of fresh air. (At least, there are no mermaids with pumpkins on their asses.) It may or may not win and get built, but they're pretty cool. This is the propsal from WRT and Cloud9. More images after the jump if you click through.
Aquarium Design Proposal
BONUS: The city digs the Thor Coney vision. Coney Island Development Corp. interim president Joshua Sirefman tells the Post their latest renderings "show the right kind of energy that we've always talked about for Coney Island." But, Coney blogger Kinetic Carnival says they look like "lesser quality rejects" of drawings mistakenly released this summer and a "rehash."
Copyright © 2006 Curbed
Hopes soar for Coney coaster
Futuristic plan for Coney Island's redevelopment envisions new roller coaster twisting
Originally published on November 14, 2006
Hold on to your hats, Coney Island fans.
A new state-of-the-art roller coaster could someday be weaving between buildings and bulleting along Coney's famed Boardwalk.
With more than 4,000 feet of swirling steel tracks, the yet-unnamed coaster would soar above Stillwell Ave. and spiral along the Boardwalk at breakneck speeds.
The coaster, which would be an instant rival to Coney's classic Cyclone, is part of a massive redevelopment plan by Thor Equities, which has bought property in the Brooklyn amusement mecca.
"In its heyday, Coney Island always had the biggest, best, most futuristic attractions in the world," said Thor Equities spokesman Lee Silberstein.
"As envisioned, the new coaster will be the ride of a lifetime and will propel Coney Island into the next phase of its life," Silberstein said.
Thor's $1.5 billion vision for Coney would add residential, retail, entertainment and other amusement components, including an indoor water park and a glassed-in carousel. The proposal still needs city approval.
Designers at the Switzerland-based amusement firm Intamin AG are devising a plan that would allow the tracks to be extended if it's decided later that the coaster should be bigger.
Folks walking along the Boardwalk yesterday mostly praised the idea for a new coaster, though some said they feared the high-tech ride would ruin the area's honky-tonk feel.
"This will surpass any roller coaster out now," said retiree Tyrone Scott, 67.
"I haven't been on a roller coaster in five years, but I'd try it if it goes slow."
Mike Alvarado, 50, said no to slow: He wants to see a coaster that hangs upside down, swirls and soars high above the Boardwalk.
"They should build it," said Alvarado, 50, a counselor who lives in Marine Park, Brooklyn. "It would bring more business and people. It should be like the kind at Great Adventure."
Denise Romano and Jotham Sederstrom
All contents © 2006 Daily News, L.P.
I've never seen so much "nothing happening" get so much press.